Southampton GreenHomes Program and Green Residential Building Program are offering incentives to help us evaluate and improve energy conservation in our homes. The objective is to get residential buildings to use insulation and seal air leaks to contain their heat, while producing the heat more efficiently. Conservation measures will save money and reduce the cost of living during cold winter months. Money funding these programs comes from Albany through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The program is called Green Jobs - Green New York.
With the extreme cold, it is very easy to feel drafts, which can help to locate places that allow heat loss through external walls, from electrical junction boxes, light switches, door jambs and window frames. It may also be a benefit to replace old windows, doors and an inefficient burner, boiler or furnace.
Now is a great time to identify opportunities for conservation and plan the projects. Implementing solutions can wait for the spring and summer, but be sure to complete upgrades before the next winter. Improvements can easily result in saving a full tank of oil. Many old buildings also have the opportunity to cut annual fuel consumption in half, when the correct conservation measures are implemented. For example, replacing my oil burner and boiler has reduced oil usage by more than 400 gallons per year.
Use your own judgment and supplement your knowledge with Internet guidance from web searches, or you can have it all done by the pros. Using professionals ensures that things are done right and helps to create new jobs.
There are also two programs that offer incentives to help you pay for energy-related services and products.
The Southampton Green Homes program, which is under the direction of the new Office of Energy and Sustainability in Town of Southampton, allocates money for audits on a pro-rated schedule. Households with a cumulative family income less than $207,200 are provided a free energy audit; however, you will pay $100 for the audit if your family income is over $310,800. There are additional rate categories, but note that those fortunate enough to have income more than $414,400 will be on their own to pay the full price of the audit.
The audit process begins by submitting an application to the town. After being accepted for the program, you then can select an audit company that is certified by the Building Performance Institute and authorized by the Conservation Services Group to work in Suffolk County.
The town’s energy audits are similar to energy audits that were arranged by the Long Island Power Authority in the past. A contractor will visit your home to do an evaluation by using computer software to produce a detailed report, which is provided to you. The audit report recommends specific improvements that will have an energy-related benefit to your home.
The program also offers loans up to $13,000 to pay for improvements that are implemented from the list of recommendations. Depending upon the improvements selected there may also be rebates from LIPA plus additional income tax credits.
A separate incentive is available that provides payments starting at $5,125 for a single family home and increases to $13,375 for an 11 unit apartment building. This is a cash incentive paid to property owners who renovate an existing building or build a new one that uses less energy than conventional buildings. The energy usage is determined by performance requirements using rating systems from either National Green Building Standard or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. There are very detailed requirements, including a reduction of at least 500kWh per year of electricity. The building must also achieve green building certification at the Silver level or higher. Contractors must also be appropriately certified and authorized.
To obtain application paperwork for Southampton Green Homes call (631) 207-1787. To obtain more information about the Green Residential Building Program, call Gene Surdi at (631) 495-0289. Local contractors who want to become authorized in the program can call Don Miehling at (631) 590-5711.