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Program Aims to Make Pound Ridge a Little Greener

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Homeowners in Pound Ridge now have opportunity to make their houses more energy-efficient and save some money on their utility bills, all while making the town a little greener.

The Town Board heard a presentation this week from Tom Bregman, director of Energize New York – a community-based energy efficiency program funded through grants from the Department of Energy and the New York state Energy Research and Development Agency. It was founded by the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium.

The consortium program was pioneered by the Town of Bedford four years ago and is designed to encourage homeowners to get energy assessments. The program provides that for free, depending on income, and recommends contractors that could do the work. It works without the town's becoming an agent for contractors and provides third-party financing that offers loans paid back through utility bills. The loan stays with the house, so if it gets sold, the loan is transferred to the new owners.

The consortium now consists of 15 municipalities in Westchester County, including Pound Ridge, and the Town Board has passed a resolution endorsing its programs. Consortium members collaborate to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, save money for homeowners and businesses, increase energy efficiency, increase economic activity, and align local efforts with county, state and federal initiatives. Around $3 million in grant money is available to help fund energy programs for the member towns.

Bregman’s presentation to the Pound Ridge Town Board provided a background on Energize New York and its goals.

“Our mission is to help grow the market for residential energy efficiency,” he said.

Bregman said the group initially targets residences instead of commercial buildings because houses constitute 50 percent of all energy use.

“If between one to three Pound Ridge residents upgrade their homes, there can be a savings of around $600,000 per year,” he said. “It’s a simple program for a home tune-up. They do a walk-through and you get a report” on how to make the house more energy-efficient.

The consortium then provides a list of possible contractors who have been specially trained in building science.

Bregman said the inspection addresses boiler and furnace conditions, but primarily targets “simple physics.”

“It looks at things like air physics, insulation and HVAC,” he said.

Bregman noted that residents can sign up for the energy audit and subsequent support at www.EnergizeNY.org .

Supervisor Gary Warshauer said he had already signed a pledge to sign up for an energy audit, and the remaining board members said they would do the same.

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