The Long Island Power Authority announced Tuesday it is joining with EnergyStar to offer rebates for homeowners who remodel their houses to be more energy efficient.
Officials said the Remodel with Energy Star pilot program is designed for customers with home electric heat or central air conditioning. Homeowners could receive up to $5,000 in rebates and a Home Energy Score that would add to the value of the home. The towns of Babylon and Southampton are offering additional rebates through their Green Homes programs.
“These remodelings not only enhance the beauty of the homes, the value of the homes, but they all save the customers money and energy once they’re completed,” said Michael Hervey, chief operating officer of LIPA, while outside the Babylon home of Mark Donnelly and Amy Dragani—the first couple to participate in the pilot program.
Remodeling will also add more green jobs, Hervey said, and contractors will get rebates of $500 as an incentive from LIPA to make sure they completed the remodeling to a “zero-standard.”
A remodeled basement will save homeowners $336 to $900 a year on their electric bill, he added. The Pine street home’s score grew from 3 to 7 after construction was finished on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most energy efficient.
The total cost of the remodeling was $4,800 but LIPA gave a rebate of $1,200 and the Town of Babylon financed the remainder of the project.
“The obvious reasons,” for joining the program, Donnelly said was, “to be more green and reduce our carbon footprint as far as energy output is concerned. The cost benefits of reducing our electric bills, and especially our heating bills have gone down significantly.”
Donnelly, 26, a Realtor in Babylon village, said the main reason he joined the program was to explain the benefits to clients who are in the neighborhood, or moving in.
The remodeling, which was done in one day, included blown insulation, a new attic hatch, insulated duct work, weather stripped all doors and new insulation in the basement—a key factor for Donnelly.
“It was a pretty easy process,” said his fiance, Dragani. “It wasn’t like they came in and took over, and it was several days or anything like that…It really is worth it.”
“We will be waving all building permit fees for green building permits,” Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone said of the town’s permit fees for remodeling with Energy Star. He said they will also create a “green desk” in the building department to “expedite permits for those who are voluntarily taking on green projects in their home.”
Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said the joint venture in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and LIPA is an example of how government can work “grass roots for our constituents to bring some relief to their wallets, to move them into the next century, and to bring our communities into an era where we really focus on the future.”
Chandler Von Schrader, the National Program Manager for the EPA/Home performance with Energy Star, said LIPA is being awarded EnergyStar recognition two years in a row for motivating homeowners to make changes in their houses.
“It starts right here, it starts today, it starts with LIPA, the Town of Babylon and the Town of Southampton…We have got to go big,” Von Schrader said.