Eight Long Island Towns Join Together to Fund Innovative Retrofit Programs

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Washington, DC – March 3, 2010

In a historic move, eight Long Island towns joined together to announce the creation of the Long Island Green Homes & Buildings Consortium dedicated to making homes and buildings across Long Island more energy efficient.

As part of the consortium, each town has committed 20% of its energy block grant funding from the Department of Energy to establish revolving loan funds or Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs.

The Supervisors also announced that the consortium would apply for the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Retrofit Ramp-up” competitive grant.

The DOE will award up to $390 million for innovative programs structured to provide whole-neighborhood building energy retrofits and expects to make 8 to 20 awards ranging from $5-75 million. The towns of Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip, North Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Smithtown and Southampton will submit an application seeking $40 million to fund retrofit programs across Long Island. According to the terms of the grant, the $40 million must be leveraged 5 to 1 with private capital, potentially bringing a quarter of a billion dollars to Long Island.

The “Retrofit Ramp-up” grant places great importance on leveraging the support and participation of multiple local municipalities and agencies. The L.I. Green Homes and Buildings Consortium brings together 8 of the 9 eligible towns on Long Island to sign on to the grant application. The consortium also has the strong support of Rep. Steve Israel, who is the leader in Congress on PACE bonds and worked with Gov. Paterson to enact state legislation, Senator Chuck Schumer, a long time advocate of energy efficiency and supporter of the Weatherization Assistance Program and Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. The Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDCLI) will serve as the lead applicant and will administer the grant. The application also leverages the leading edge energy efficiency work of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). The Sustainability Institute of Molloy College will be a key strategic partner and the consortium has the support of the Long Island Regional Planning Council.

The Town of Babylon created the first operational PACE program in the nation, the Long Island Green Homes (LIGH) program, which was launched in July 2008 and has, to date, retrofitted and/or audited 309 homes. The eight towns in the consortium have a combined population of 1,882,000 living in 527,000 detached houses which could each be made 29% less leaky on average. Of the 30,000 houses that would be retrofitted through the first three years, each homeowner could save over $1,000 per year and a total of 140,100 tons of CO2 would be removed from the air per annum. Perhaps, most importantly, this grant, should it be awarded, would bring an estimated 2,600 jobs to Long Island.

“We have created a historic coalition that has the potential to make Long Island a lot greener,” said Supervisor Steve Bellone. “I am a firm believer that retrofit programs are among the best ways to reduce our collective carbon footprint, and I’m proud that Long Island is leading the way once again.”

“Joining the Long Island Green Homes & Buildings Consortium will perfectly complement Brookhaven’s new Green Homes and Go Solar initiatives, which were modeled after Babylon’s innovative Green Homes program. Brookhaven is excited to be part of the Department of Energy’s Retrofit Ramp-up program that will provide a much needed regional approach to reducing our carbon footprint,” said Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko.

“Homeowners will be the big winners as a result of this consortium, both because of the possibility of more funds being available and because establishing uniform standards for program elements such as energy audits, vetting energy efficiency contractors and originating and securing low-cost energy efficiency loans will make it easier for them to participate. We hope this consortium will become a model for cooperation among governments nationwide,” said Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone.

“In today’s economy, many homeowners are skeptical of energy efficiency upgrades because of the high upfront costs. 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,” said Islip Town Supervisor Phil Nolan. “By joining together here today, we are taking a major step towards making home energy upgrades affordable for every household on Long Island.”

“The environment is a priority for all Long Island towns with the retrofit program being a natural progression for all of us,” said North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman. “We are excited to be a member of the consortium of towns and to help spread this movement toward future energy sustainability throughout Long Island and the region.”

Rep. Israel said, “PACE bonds will help Long Island property owners save money while creating new opportunities and new jobs for local clean energy businesses. There’s over $400 million in competitive funds for PACE demonstration projects and it’s important that New York’s towns cooperate rather than compete for this money.”

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer said, “This is an historic opportunity for Long Island. The Green Homes initiative was born right here on Long Island and there’s no better place for this type of investment.”

LIPA CEO Kevin Law said, “LIPA is pleased to be a part of this coordinated strategy for expanding opportunities for residential and commercial energy efficiency retrofits across these 8 townships and throughout our service area., said Long Island Power Authority President and CEO Kevin S. Law. “We have seen that this type of municipal utility partnership can result in significant energy reductions and lower bills for our customers by coordinating LIPA’s Efficiency Long Island Program with the Town of Babylon’s Long Island Green Homes program and leveraging our respective funds. In furthering this regional effort, LIPA will continue to help provide BPI training and certification for contractors who are looking to create or expand their businesses to provide audits and energy efficiency improvements and we will coordinate our efforts with the Consortium’s training efforts, to stimulate jobs in this industry.”

CDCLI Executive Director MaryAnn Garvin said, “CDC of Long Island is delighted to be the applicant for the DOE grant on behalf of the municipalities that are each demonstrating exceptional leadership and creating an amazing opportunity for the residents in their towns to have an energy efficient home.”

Also supporting the application is the Long Island Builders Institute, the Building Performance Contractors Association, the Long Island chapter of the US Green Building Council, the Long Island chapter of the Sierra Club, Long Island Apollo Alliance, the Workforce Development Institute, Renewable Energy Long Island, Local 7 United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Local 25 International Brotherhood of Electric Workers, Local 200 United Association of Plumbers and the Building, Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties and the Green Mechanical Council.
The Green Mechanical Council would like to applaud our members, The Babylon Project, Town of Babylon, who was brave enough to initiate this project last summer. We also recognize our member and good friends at local 200 United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Welders and HVAC Techs, the town of Islip, along with our friends at the Local 25 International Brotherhood of Electric Workers.

This has been a great project for the Green Mechanical Council to be involved with and we look forward to the continued work ahead utilizing not only our educational programs, such as the Green Awareness Certification and the Energy Auditor Training Program, but also hopes of getting our manufacturers of green products involved also.