Supervisors from eight Long Island towns joined together Thursday to announce the creation of the Long Island Green Homes & Buildings Consortium, an association dedicated to making homes and buildings across the Island more energy efficient, create jobs, and bring millions in federal funding to Long Island.
“Home energy use is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Neal Lewis of the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College. “Residential retrofitting is a logical and effective means for drastically reducing this energy use and combating climate change.”
The Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $390 million for innovative programs structured to provide whole-neighborhood building energy retrofits and expects to make eight to 20 awards ranging from $5-$75 million.
As part of the consortium, each town has committed 20 percent of its energy block grant funding from the DOE to establish revolving loan funds or Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs.
“In today’s economy many homeowners are skeptical of energy efficiency upgrades because of the high upfront costs,” said Islip Town Supervisor Phil Nolan. “With the help of federal grant money, our townships will be able to set up energy retrofit programs tailored to the needs of our residents and focused on helping owners see immediate cost savings.”
The LI Green Homes and Buildings Consortium brings together eight of the nine eligible towns on Long Island to sign on to the grant application. Hempstead declined to take part in the program and said it will used federal money for other green initiatives.
“The Town of Babylon has implemented a similar retrofit program—and it works,” said Dorian Dale, Babylon’s energy director. “Retrofits reduce housing costs and environmental burdens while improving housing quality and creating local jobs.”
The Town of Babylon created the first operational PACE program in the nation, the Long Island Green Homes program, which was launched in July 2008 and has, to date, retrofitted and/or audited 309 homes, according to Dale.
The eight towns in the consortium have a combined population of 1,882,000 living in 527,000 detached houses. Of the 30,000 houses that would be retrofitted throught the first three years, each homeowner could save more than $1,000 per year and a total of 140,100 tons of C02 would be removed from the air per annum, according to town supervisors. The grant would also bring an estimated 2,600 jobs to Long Island.
“This is an historic opportunity for Long Island, “ said Sen. Charles Schumer. “The Green Homes initiative was born right here on Long Island and there’s no better place for this type of investment.”