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Making Energy Efficiency Affordable

Homeowners can start by getting a free energy assessment of their homes

Whether we are motivated by lowering our utility bills or reducing our carbon emissions, we are all interested in making our homes energy efficient, especially during this time of the year as temperatures fall.

Homeowners throughout New York City now have a way to affordably do this work through On-Bill Recovery. What does this mean for you?  It means that you can make your home more energy efficient, reduce your utility bills AND your carbon emissions without breaking the bank.

The first step is to get an energy assessment to learn how your home is wasting the energy that you pay for each month. 

Similar to a car inspection that we get each year to make sure our vehicles are safe and running as they should, through the energy assessment, a certified contractor inspects the home, from the heating and cooling equipment to major appliances, to make sure everything is running safely and efficiently.

The process takes about 2 hours. After the assessment, the contractor produces a report that lists all of the cost-saving measures that the homeowner can implement to make the home more energy efficient, less drafty and more comfortable.

Here's the exciting part: Before, if homeowners wanted to implement work the assessment recommended, their only choice was to pay for it out of pocket or take out a costly loan. 

With On-Bill Recovery, NYSERDA, the state’s energy agency, pays the upfront cost of making a home energy efficient, and then recovers that investment as the homeowner saves on his or her utility bill.

How does it work? NYSERDA has pooled millions of dollars from private lenders and uses that money to makes small loans to homeowners to implement those home repairs that will pay for themselves over time.

Then NYSERDA tells the homeowner’s utility to add a small monthly charge to the homeowner’s utility bill, no bigger than the monthly utility bill savings the project has been shown to create.

If the home is sold, the new owner takes over the payment and reaps the benefits. When the loan is paid off, the homeowner keeps the full savings. If a homeowner ever stops paying, investors and the state fund are partially protected by a reserve fund, and the state recoups its money if and when the utility collects payment. To learn more about On-Bill Recovery, visit NYSERDA's website.

Restoration’s Retrofit Bed Stuy Block by Block program is also a resource that can walk you through the energy efficiency process. 

Whether you are interested in getting a FREE or LOW-COST energy assessment or you have already had an energy assessment and are interested in learning how to use On Bill to finance work, Jedidah Baptiste can help.

Jedidah has already helped nearly 260 homeowners and renters throughout the neighborhood take control of their utility bills and she can help you, too!Jedidah can be reached by calling 718-636-6973 or emailing jbaptiste@restorationplaza.org.

Rachael Dubin is Manager for Environmental Sustainability Initiatives. From Retrofit Bed-Stuy Block by Block, to developing a green-collar workforce, Rachael’s work aims to make Bedford-Stuyvesant a greener, more sustainable place to work and live.  

Nya Jackson March 11, 2012 at 03:33 AM
I tried visting the NYSERDA's website through the hyperlink but it doesn't work

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