The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has free energy audits available to qualifying homes, small businesses, nonprofit organizations and reduced-cost audits for local government buildings.
NYSERDA programs are paid for through, and normally limited to, New York state investor-owned electric companies whose customers' higher rates include charges for these types of projects. The Green Jobs-Green New York program , however, is open to many categories of electric customers in the state of New York because GJGNY is funded from the proceeds of selling carbon dioxide allowances under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
FREE RESIDENTIAL AUDITS
For two years, the BPU has offered its own home audit program to homeowners, but its audits require a subsidized fee. While the state offers free audits in Green Jobs-Green New York, BPU customers who make changes as a result of state audits may still take advantage of the rebates offered by the BPU program.
Dan Reynolds, Jamestown Board of Public Utilities energy-efficiency coordinator, said the Green Jobs-Green New York home audits are available free of charge to those who earn less than $102,000 a year. For residents whose yearly income is between $102,000 and $128,000, the audit costs $50. For those earning more than $128,000, the audit fee is $100.
The first steps toward a Green Jobs-Green New York home audit are to download an application at www.getenergysmart.org and contact a Business Performance Institute-certified auditor to schedule the audit. A list of BPI-certified auditors is available from Reynolds. Once the state audit is completed, homeowners select the weatherization measures recommended by the audit the homeowner wants to accomplish.
BPU electric customers who own their homes and who complete a BPI-certified audit should contact Reynolds at the BPU at 661-1646 to inquire if recommended weatherization upgrades may qualify for rebates through the BPU. Qualified weatherization work could be funded at 25 percent of the cost of the project with a $1,000 maximum limit per audit for residential electric customers. For BPU residential electric customers whose primary heat source for the last three years is electric, BPU rebates for the audit-recommended upgrades could pay for 50 percent of the cost of the project with a $2,000 maximum limit per audit.
Reynolds said NYSERDA provides low interest financing of 3.5 to 4 percent, up to a maximum of $13,000. NYSERDA also offers incentives that can rebate up to 10 percent of the work undertaken as a result of the BPI-certified audit, up to $3,000. In addition, the Federal government offers a tax credit benefit of ten percent of the project with a maximum of $500.
FREE SMALL BUSINESS AND
NONPROFIT AUDITS, LOW-COST
Small businesses and non-profit organizations also may apply for free BPI-certified audits through the Green Jobs - Green New York programs by accessing the NYSERDA website, where the application may be downloaded. State and local governments may apply for audits on a cost-shared basis, with a fee determined by their number of employees. For instance, a state or local government with 10 employees or less must pay $100 for the audit. A state or local government with greater than ten employees must pay $400 for the audit. Qualified small businesses and non-profit organizations pay nothing for the audits. Facilities in all three categories of this audit must have an average electric demand of 100 kilowatts or less.
The Jamestown BPU's Lighting and Motor Rebates for Small Commercial and Industrial Customers program offers small commercial and industrial customers financial rebates for energy efficiency projects. Commercial and industrial electric customers whose total electric cost is less than $45,000 annually qualify.
Information on the BPU's Lighting and Motor Rebates Program is available at www.jamestownbpu.com. BPU energy efficiency programs may be accessed by clicking on the white "Energy Efficiency Opportunities" rectangle on the BPU's homepage. The BPU recommends a licensed electrical contractor be contacted to assess the project and develop a proposal for upgrading a facility. Customers must have pre-approval for rebates more than $1,000. The BPU reserves the right to inspect the work before issuing a rebate.
"Any of our customers who are interested in the BPU's Lighting and Motor Rebates for Small Commercial and Industrial Program are welcome to contact me before they arrange an audit," Reynolds said. "Often, I will visit a business and suggest ways in which they could save by upgrading lighting, motors, exit lights and so forth. Replacing inefficient products with energy-efficient versions may make you eligible for rebates through our BPU Lighting and Motor Rebates Program."
CALL FOR ADVICE
Reynolds has been with the BPU for two years, administering energy efficiency programs that help reduce the amount of electricity used in the BPU electric territory. He may be reached at 661-1646 or by emailing email@example.com.