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Miss this one in the Journal June 19th?...[from "Unemployment Up in May" by Craig Wolf]...
[see: http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20090619/BUSINESS/906190327/1003 ]
"Joblessness jumped back up in May in the mid-Hudson Valley and the state after a brief downturn in the preceding months, offering a sign the impact of the recession is still with us. Unemployment in Dutchess County was 7.4 percent in May, which is 10,900 people, the state Department of Labor said Thursday. It's the highest May level since 1993. That's up from 4.9 percent a year earlier and up from 6.8 percent recorded in April. "The Hudson Valley Region continues to be adversely affected by the current economic downturn, as evidenced by this month's 2.3 percent over-the-year decline in private-sector employment," regional labor analyst Johny Nelson said in his monthly statement.
"Outside of educational and health services, all industry sectors continue to show over-the-year job declines," Nelson said. The coming months will likely show more loss because of layoffs already planned by various employers."
Well-- check out http://www.LIGreenHomes.com -- for a great green-jobs example we need here!...
...and send a letter NOW to all 25 of us at email@example.com to make this happen!...
[all-important monthly Committee Chairs mtg. is tomorrow for Co. Leg.-- your letters needed now on this]
[thanx to Dover Co. Leg. Pete Wassell for agreeing to co-sponsor resolution below; more needed tho!]
The Town of Babylon voted last August to set up a two-million-dollar revolving loan fund to help local homeowners afford free to low-cost energy audits and energy-efficiency retrofits, with savings on electric bills paying off those loans, with a population there of 211,000 people; Dutchess County should step up to the plate and start a three-million-dollar revolving loan fund for this purpose, for our population of 300,000-- as a local Green New Deal job-creating program inspired by Dutchess County's own FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt...(again-- see http://www.LIGreenHomes.com for yourself on this!)...
[also see-- "In Babylon, an Incentive for Energy Efficiency" by Carolyn Nardiello (NYTimes 1/15/09)
Fact: Sustainable Hudson Valley Chair David Dell, a Poughkeepsie resident and cofounder of the Independent Energy Alliance (modeled after http://www.CambridgeEnergyAlliance.org ), has crunched the numbers and determined that literally one billion dollars in savings on electric bills over the next decade could be put back into the pockets of Dutchess County homeowners, businesses, municipalities, and taxpayers if Dutchess County seriously followed the good example of programs like the Long Island Green Homes program and the Cambridge Energy Alliance-- programs that make it much easier than otherwise for homeowners and others to get free to low-cost energy audits and energy-efficiency retrofits.
Fact: Every year our County Legislature votes to consider many millions of bonds for various purposes; a bond for a Dutchess County Green Homes program would be money well-spent that would go right into the pockets of local homeowners to help them save on utility bills.
Fact: Making energy audits and energy-efficiency retrofits much more readily available to homeowners will automatically lessen our county's dependence on fossil fuels like home heating oil and energy from the Danskammer/Roseton coal-burning power plant complex in Newburgh-- and so clean up local air quality and cut local carbon emissions from our county dramatically.
Fact: Globam warming is a very real phenomnenon right here in our region-- "since the 1970's average winter temperatures [here in Northeast] have risen more than four degrees."[see http://www.350.org ]
[ http://www.climatechoices.org/assets/documents/climatechoices/NECIA_climate_report_final.pdf ]
Fact: There are over 39,000 people in Dutchess with asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema; many of them on Medicaid (cleaning local air quality will save Medicaid tax $$$); see http://www.ALANYS.org .
Fact: Back in May the DEC issued an air quality health advisory for two days straight for
Dutchess, Ulster, Columbia, and Greene counties.
[see: http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2009/May09/21/Air_quality-21May09.htm ]
Fact: Just last month Dutchess County's air quality was rated an "F" in a new American Lung Association of New York State "State of the Air" report.
[see: http://www.alany.org/site/c.kmKWJbNTJtF/b.5071049/k.926/State_of_the_Air_2009.htm ]
Fact: Dr. Gary Lovett of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies pointed out publicly two years ago in Millbrook forum that vast majority of local ozone pollution problem is from transportation sources.
Fact: According to Clive Jones and Jillian Gregg of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, ground-level ozone air pollution here in Dutchess County is worse than in NYC.
[see: http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/July03/ozone_trees.hrs.html ;
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/10/nyregion/city-trees-outgrow-rural-cousins-and-study-credits-urban-chemistry.html ; http://www.ecostudies.org/images/newsletter/07-08_2003.pdf ]
Fact: The Long Island Green Homes program amounts to a de facto local version of the statewide Green Jobs/Green Homes NY proposal to create green jos and help homeowners save on electric bills-- proposed by Assembly Energy Chair Kevin Cahill, Center for Working Families, NYS Apollo Alliance, NY League of Conservation Voters, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, NYPIRG, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Advocates of New York, and Audobon NY.
[ http://www.CenterforWorkingFamilies.info ]
Since early this year I've been trying to get a resolution passed in our County Legislature to get a Dutchess County Green Homes program off the ground similar to the Town of Babylon's Long Island Green Homes program-- see http://www.LIGreenHomes.com -- such an initiative could be a wonderful complement to the Independent Dutchess Energy Alliance (two resolutions already spearheaded by yours truly thru our Co. Leg. over the last year to get IDEA going)...
So again-- your letters needed NOW-- to all 25 of us at firstname.lastname@example.org, folks!...
[pass it on]
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From: "Nicholas Zuba"
Here are the basic statistics we have for the Long Island Green Homes program.
Long Island Green Homes Statistics as of May 19, 2009
o Number of Jobs Completed - 58
o Number of Audits Completed - 122
o Number of Jobs in Progress - 49
o Number of Inactive Jobs - 24
o Total Cost of Projects - $398,883.71
o Average Project Cost - $6,997.96
o Average Annual Savings for Homeowner - $995.66
o Average Payback Period (years) - 7.64
o Total Carbon Dioxide Saved (annualized) - 156 tons
o Total Solid Carbon Saved (annualized) - 96,773 pounds
Legislative Aide to the Supervisor
Town of Babylon
200 East Sunrise Highway
Lindenhurst, NY 11757
Phone: (631) 957-3054
Work Cell: (516) 779-4653
Fax: (631) 957-7440
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[note-- thanks much to Co. Leg. Pete Wassell for agreeing months ago to co-sponsor this resolution]
WHEREAS, most homes in Dutchess County have not been constructed to building performance standards that conserve energy; the overwhelming majority of homes here are wasting considerable amounts of energy and contributing unnecessary greenhouse gasses to the environment; leaking energy means that homeowners are wasting a lot of money; with fuel costs at all time highs and in a region where utility rates are among the highest in the nation, homeowners can no longer afford to waste energy, and
WHEREAS, the Long Island Green Homes Program is a self-financing residential retrofit program in Babylon, New York and a good example for Dutchess County to follow to upgrade the energy efficiency of existing homes here; the program can enable residents to make their homes greener and healthier at little or no out-of-pocket cost; often residents will save money immediately from making improvements such as more efficient lighting, weatherstripping, caulking, air and duct sealing, insulation and upgrading of heating units, and
WHEREAS, in the Long Island Green Homes Program, Town of Babylon licensed Green Homes contractors conduct comprehensive energy audits of homes to determine what energy-efficient home improvements may be effective; those contractors then prepare detailed reports demonstrating the savings homeowners can receive after making those improvements; usually those savings cover the cost of the upgrades, and
WHEREAS, there are no up-front costs to the homeowner for the improvements suggested in the Long Island Green Homes Program; even the nominal fee for Home Performance Evaluations are applied to the cost of the improvements; once licensed contractors hired to make improvements to homes have completed the work, the Town of Babylon directly pays those contractors, and
WHEREAS, after that, homeowners then pay the Town of Babylon for the improvements on a monthly basis for an amount and term that is agreed upon in advance; in most cases the savings from reduced energy bills will be greater than the cost of the improvements meaning the home owner will have a positive cash flow; the money that was going to the utility companies now goes to make Dutchess County's homes greener and healthier, and once the improvements are completely paid for all of the savings go directly to the homeowner, and
WHEREAS, in the Long Island Green Homes Program, the Town of Babylon is not making loans directly to residents; the Town is expanding the definition of solid waste to include energy waste, based on its carbon content; by defining energy waste in this way, the Town of Babylon is able to provide energy-efficient improvements to Babylon residents' homes from its solid waste fund; this type of measure is known as a "benefit assessment", and
WHEREAS, a benefit assessment can be established when a municipality provides a specific improvement on a parcel of property for a public purpose, assessing the cost of the benefit against the property; in the case of Long Island Green Homes, the energy-efficient improvements to homes serve a vital purpose, remediating the environmental damage caused by leaky and inefficient homes, and
WHEREAS, the Town of Babylon is now providing for energy saving improvements up to $12,000 per home, and homeowners are paying for the improvements through a monthly benefit assessment fee; the amount of the monthly benefit assessment fee is structured to be less than the monthly savings on a resident's energy bills resulting from the energy-efficient improvements; the Town of Babylon is charging a 3% administrative fee which will be built into the monthly payments residents will make to pay for the improvements, now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature requests that our county's Departments of Planning and Development, Public Works, and Finance evaluate the cost and feasibility of a Dutchess County Green Homes program for here similar to the successful Long Island Green Homes program and report back to the County Legislature in sixty days on this, and, be it further
RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to our county's Departments of Planning and Development, Public Works, and Finance.
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From http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/18/nyregion/long-island/18greenli.html ...
"In Babylon, an Incentive for Energy Efficiency"
By CAROLYN NARDIELLO
New York Times January 15, 2009
LINDENHURST-- Until it was repaired, a faulty spring on a pull-down attic staircase allowed heat to seep through a two-inch gap at the ceiling of Michael and Peggy Chambers¹s split-level home here, resulting in higher heating bills. ³We were heating the attic,² Mr. Chambers said.
Mr. Chambers, 58, senior associate executive director of psychiatry at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn, and Mrs. Chambers, 52, an aide at Harding Avenue Elementary School in Lindenhurst, said that they knew other energy-saving repair work was needed on their modest four-level residence, but that they could not afford the thousands of dollars to pay for it.
But when the couple received a pamphlet last summer from the Town of Babylon about the Long Island Green Homes initiative, a program that would cover energy-efficient home improvements at little or no upfront cost to homeowners, they decided to participate.
A few weeks ago the Chamberses became the first residents in Babylon to have energy-efficient improvements completed.
Any of Babylon¹s 65,000 homeowners who qualify can receive up to $12,000 worth of energy-efficient work done by employees that the town contracts with.
What makes the initiative different from other green home initiatives is the method by which the town has obtained money for the upfront improvement costs.
Homeowners pay off the amount of the improvements from savings on their utility bills.
Dorian Dale, the town¹s energy director, said redefining solid waste to include carbon allowed officials to get access to $2 million from the town¹s solid waste management fund. The Town Board approved the plan in August.
³The program is cost effective, helps our environment and helps our economy,² said Steve Bellone, the Babylon town supervisor.
The Chambers family received $8,000 worth of work eight Energy Star windows, insulation in their bedroom walls, crawl spaces and attic, plus a new pull-down staircase and hatch leading to it. Mr. Chambers said that his home is warmer and that the work, which took four days to complete, has increased the home¹s value.
³We never would have done it ourselves,² he said.
A $250 fee paid by the Chamberses for a three-hour energy assessment will be subtracted from the cost of the improvements and a 3 percent administrative fee will be added to the bill for the home improvements.
Michael Deering, vice president of environmental affairs at the Long Island Power Authority, said the Babylon plan is the only one in the area he knows of that uses public money for energy-efficient home improvements.
Nassau County¹s deputy director of environmental coordination, Bradford Tito, has been working on a Levittown green homes program since last year in which homeowners receive loans for the improvements. Mr. Tito said that the economic downturn had made less cash and credit available to homeowners but that since the program began, residents had increased energy conservation efforts.
Under Babylon¹s plan, the money for renovations comes from the solid waste fund, not in the form of a bank loan. Under terms agreed upon with the town, families repay the money, presumably from savings in energy costs, over a set period of time.
The Chambers family anticipates saving $100 a month on their energy bill and will pay about 80 percent of that monthly to the town for eight years.
If they or other homeowners in the program decide to sell their properties, the repayment plan is passed to the new homeowners.
Sammy Chu, the deputy commissioner of Babylon¹s Department of Public Works, said the town aims for a projected savings amount in energy bills that will cover improvement expenses, but warns that may not always be the case. The town can, however, ease payment terms.
The Chamberses, who have four daughters, ages 17 to 24, said that with the economic downturn, the plan makes sense.
³Right now people don¹t have money and if they do, they¹re going to spend it on something else,² Mrs. Chambers said, adding that she is pleased with the work on her home. ³It¹s almost like a godsend.²
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From http://www.LIGreenHomes.com itself...
Frequently Asked Questions about our unique, money saving program:
What is the Long Island Green Homes Program?
It is a self-financing residential retrofit program for upgrading the energy efficiency of existing homes in the Town of Babylon. The program will enable residents to make their homes greener and healthier at little or no out-of-pocket cost. Often, residents will save money immediately from making these improvements.
Why is the Green Homes Program necessary?
Most homeseven newer oneshave not been constructed to building performance standards that conserve energy. The overwhelming majority of homes on Long Island are wasting considerable amounts of energy and contributing unnecessary greenhouse gasses to the environment. Leaking energy means that homeowners are wasting a lot of money. With fuel costs at all time highs and in a region where utility rates are among the highest in the nation, homeowners can no longer afford to waste energy.
How do I save money with the Green Homes Program?
A Town of Babylon Licensed Green Homes Contractor will conduct a comprehensive energy audit of your home to determine what energy-efficient home improvements may be effective. The contractor will prepare a detailed report that will demonstrate the savings you will receive from making the improvements. The savings will, generally, cover the cost of the upgrades.
Who pays for the energy-efficient home improvements?
The best part of the Long Island Green Homes program is that there are no significant up-front costs to the homeowner for the improvements. The nominal fee for the Home Performance Evaluation (the $250 for the audit) will be applied to the cost of the improvements. Once the licensed contractor has completed the work, the Town will directly pay the contractor. The homeowner will then pay the Town for the improvements on a monthly basis for an amount and term that is agreed upon in advance. With almost every customer, the savings from reduced energy bills will be greater than the cost of the improvements. This means that the homeowner will have a positive cash flow; the money that was going to the utility companies is now going to make your home greener and healthier. Once the improvements are completely paid for all of the savings go directly to the homeowner, saving him/her an average of $984.30 every year.
Is the Town loaning money to homeowners?
The Town is not making loans to residents. The Town is expanding the definition of solid waste to include energy waste, based on its carbon content. By defining energy waste in this way, the Town is able to provide energy-efficient improvements to Babylon residents¹ homes from its solid waste fund. This type of measure is known as a ³benefit assessment.² A benefit assessment can be established when a municipality provides a specific improvement on a parcel of property for a public purpose, assessing the cost of the benefit against the property. In the case of Long Island Green Homes, the energy-efficient improvements to homes serve a vital purpose, remediating the environmental damage caused by leaky and inefficient homes. The Town will provide for energy saving improvements up to $12,000 per home and the homeowner will pay for the improvements through a monthly benefit assessment fee. The amount of the monthly benefit assessment fee is structured to be less than the monthly savings on a resident¹s energy bills resulting from the energy-efficient improvements. The Town will charge a 3% administrative fee which will be built into the monthly payments residents will make to pay for the improvements.
How do I proceed?
Before we can schedule you for a Home Performance Evaluation, we need some information about your home's energy use. Please fill out the Self-Check Home Inventory Form, which includes some basic questions about your home, as well as your energy usage habits. Also, you will need to obtain two (2) years worth of utility usage data from your utility providers. Retrieving this information is easy, just visit your utility provider's website, or give a call to the customer service line. Once we have processed the data from your Self-Check Home Inventory Form, a Town of Babylon Licensed Green Homes Contractor will perform a Home Performance Evaluation on your house. The contractor will provide a detailed report that will recommend certain energy efficient home improvements and estimate the savings that will result. You make the decision to hire the contractor to perform the energy-efficient home improvements. What energy-efficient home improvements are offered through the program? Improvements include efficient lighting, weatherstripping, caulking, air and duct sealing, insulation and upgrading of heating units, etc. We will advise participants which appliances, cooling units, and other eligible measures offer the best return and what LIPA rebates and incentives apply. Please call our office at (631) 422-4411 if you have any further questions or concerns.
What if I make the improvements and sell my home soon after?
When you sell your home the benefits associated with the energy efficient home improvements pass automatically to the new homeowner, so it is only fair that any remaining costs for the improvements will also pass automatically. Once you sell your home your liability for any additional payments is over.
How does the Green Homes Program benefit our environment?
By reducing the amount of energy needed to power our homes we will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global warming. Every time we turn a light on in our homes or turn up the thermostat or turn on an air conditioner, we are using energy from a power plant or burning scarce fossil fuels (oil and natural gas), all of which produce greenhouse gas emissions. By combating global warming and cleaning the air, you are also preventing the need to build more power plants and are reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
Will my house assessment be increased or my taxes increase as a result of making these improvements?
Absolutely not. Any energy-saving improvements made to your home through the Long Island Green Homes program will not increase your home¹s assessment or increase the amount of taxes you pay.
Will the Town be inspecting my house to do these improvements?
Absolutely not. You will be hiring a contractor as you would for any other type of work you would want to do in your house. The only difference here is that the contractors are licensed by the Town to insure they have the credentials and capability to properly do this kind of work. At no time will Town employees be permitted to enter your home without your explicit permission.
Why is it called the Long Island Green Homes Program?
Although the program is starting in Babylon it is our expectation that it will be replicated throughout Long Island and New York State. The potential benefit to homeowners, to our environment and our economy is too substantial for this program to be offered only in Babylon. The name also reflects the fact that this program is in line with regional and statewide objectives under the leadership of New York State Governor David Paterson. Governor Paterson¹s Renewable Energy Taskforce recently proposed a roadmap to pave New York¹s way to energy independence including the need for comprehensive building efficiency. In addition, Kevin Law, President and CEO of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) recently released his Efficiency Long Island Program, which emphasizes making homes more energy-efficient.
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More from http://www.LIGreenHomes.com ...
1. Getting Started
Before we can schedule you for a Home Performance Evaluation, we need some information about your home's energy use. Please fill out the Self-Check Home Inventory Form or by calling the LIGH Hotline: (631) 422-4411). Besides answering simple questions about your home, you will be asked to provide two years of billing and usage data from your utility providers. If you do not have the information available, it is easy to request it from your utility providers¹ website or ask the LIGH Hotline representative for help. All of this information will give us a good indication of whether or not it is worth it for you to have a Home Performance Evaluation.
2. Get a Home Performance Evaluation
Once your Self Check Home Inventory Form is received in the LIGH office, our staff will call to schedule a Home Performance Evaluation which will be conducted by a Town-licensed, BPI Accredited energy auditor. The audit will cost $250, which is to ensure your commitment to the program. If you end up participating in the Green Homes program, the $250 would go towards the cost of the alterations we would perform on your home. We will not recommend a home performance evaluation (audit) unless we think that you could benefit from our program. The energy audit takes place at your house and is a series of tests designed to identify areas of your home that can benefit from energy efficiency improvements.
3. Receive Your Report
Following the Home Performance Evaluation, you will be given a detailed explanation of how your home uses energy, where the most energy is being wasted or lost, and specific improvements that could increase energy efficiency. The report also calculates a fixed cost for each recommended improvement along with the projected dollar amount you will save on your utility bills.
4. Make Energy Efficient Improvements
Your Town-licensed, BPI-accredited private contractor enters into a contract directly with the Town and will make the recommended energy-efficiency improvements to your home that you choose to have completed. The work typically takes only one to three days to complete.
5. Receive a Benefit Assessment to Finance Improvements
The Long Island Green Homes Program pays the contractor the entire cost of the energy-efficiency improvements. Under a separate contract with the homeowner, the Town sets up a monthly payment plan that has the homeowner pay for the improvements over time only from projected utility bill cost savings. For example, if our expert Home Performance Evaluation auditors project that you will save $1,000 per year in utility bills, the Town will establish an annual payment schedule (benefit assessment payment) that amounts to less than the projected savings.
6. Pay Back Over Time, Using the Money You Save on Energy Bills
Because these improvements are permanent fixtures to your home, every homeowner qualifies for the Program to pay for the improvements there is no need to provide any personal credit score or financial history. Instead of paying inflated electric, oil or gas bills, you pay for the energy efficiency improvements from your utility bill savings. If you move and sell your house during the payment term, the remaining payments stay with the house and are taken over by the new owner until paid off in full.