Carlucci: NY Power Act to Green Homes & Businesses, Save Money, Create Jobs
Many Orange and Rockland residents are eligible for a free energy audit.
Several heat advisories have been issued and with temperatures still rising across Rockland County, air conditioning is being pumped in many households. However, without efficient energy upgrades in homes, residents’ utility bills will worsen.
Senator David Carlucci teamed up with several organizations to help homeowners and businesses save money on energy costs while protecting the environment and creating local jobs through the Power NY Act of 2011.
“The Power NY Act of 2011 will enhance the Green Jobs program by incentivizing homeowners to upgrade their homes without taking any money out of their pocket,” said Carlucci. “This will save families money, create jobs and protect our environment.”
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) administers the Green Jobs-Green New York (GJGNY) program.
The Legislature passed Power NY this session, which directs NYSERDA to establish an on-bill financing program for energy efficiency upgrades. These upgrades are made possible through the GJGNY program and will make it easier for New Yorkers to finance energy projects. This act is expected to be signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in the upcoming months.
The GJGNY program’s goals are:
- Promote energy efficiency
- Reduce energy consumption and costs
- Provide residents with access to energy audits, installation services and low-cost financing.
"New York residents have some of the highest utility bills in the country," said Carlucci. "We need to put our heads together and figure out a solution to this problem."
Carlucci met with Rudy Scott, president of Energy Management Solutions, Kosi Marrero, an associate at Tomorrow's Workplace and Homeowner Ken Scher in Suffern on Wednesday.
"The money I was going to save on my energy bill went toward the finances to upgrade my home," said Scher. "The difference I've seen is tremendous."
“The New York Green Jobs bill created a win, win, win opportunity for New Yorkers,” said Scott. “The State lowers its carbon footprint, homeowners can save up to 40 percent of their utility cost with no money out of their pocket and New York gets to create over 50,000 sustainable jobs.”
“You don’t have to take any money out of your pocket,” said Carlucci. “That money you save on your energy bill will go directly toward repaying the money put toward the upgrades.”
Scott added that the largest problem was to “make homeowners aware of the program.”
“We do need to educate homeowners,” said Scher. “This is one of the best kept secrets and they don’t know that they can get a free energy audit.” NYSERDA offers free or low cost energy audits through their Home Performance with Energy star Program.
- The audit is free to NY residents with incomes less than 200 percent of the median county income
- A sliding scale is used to determine costs for those between 200-400 percent of the median county income
- Those with income greater than 400 percent pay the full caust of the audit which ranges from $50-100
- Small businesses with 100 employees or less as well as any not-for-profit can take advantage of this program
- GJGNY Small Business and Not-for-Profit Energy Efficiency Financing Program works with lenders statewide to provide eligible companies with access to low-interest financing for energy efficiency projects
A chart from NYSERDA’s website outlines the median incomes in Rockland and Orange counties.
These audits give residents information on where improvements can be made in their home to better energy efficiency, heath and safety.
Scher showed Carlucci the changes in his home and discussed his experience with making energy efficiency upgrades and the savings he saw. Energy Management Solutions audited his home and developed a proposal detailing their recommendations, its costs and energy savings estimates.
“(In the attic) they put foam wall across the entire top along with double insulation,” Scher said. He put his hand on the attic door. “You feel nothing; nothing comes through.
It’s all because of this piece,” Scher opened the attic door revealing six inches of foam attached to the attic side of the door. “They put six inches of foam to stop the cold or hot air from coming in.”
When the attic door opened, a rush of hot air came out, but when closed, not a trace of heat could be felt against the closed door.
“When we first moved in, the first investment we put into the house was that we put all new windows in,” said Schur. “When Energy Solutions came in, they said, ‘It’s great that they put these special windows in, but they never insulated or sealed around them.’ The audit was amazing.”
Carlucci added that many homes are poorly insulated because of their home's age.
"Over 40 percent of houses in Rockland were built prior to 1970," he said.
“Currently, GJGNY financing is available to participants in the Home Performance Energy Star Program to finance the installation of the recommended energy efficiency improvements. Loans for residential properties are capped at $13,000. Repayment periods are available for 5, 10 and 15 years.”