From energy audits to retrofitting, we’re helping NYC homeowners cut energy costs, consumption.
Aurelia Greene, a long-time Bronx resident and Deputy Bronx Borough President, had to keep her thermostat in her three-family, 100-year-old brick house on 80 degrees all winter to get even a little heat. She was paying nearly $2,000 a month to Con Ed. Still, she felt cold all winter.
Then she heard about Bronx Energy Efficiency (formerly Green Jobs-Green New York). She called SSBx to schedule an appointment, which was followed by an energy audit.
What was the problem with her house? “Everything!” says Greene. “I had no insulation in my ceiling or walls. Four windows that had been broken didn’t fully close, and I didn’t know it. The thermostat was antiquated. I had two windows I didn’t use.”
For the retrofit, the contractor added insulation under the roof and in the walls, replaced the broken windows, installed a computerized thermostat, and removed the windows Greene kept shut, bricking in the space.
“I saw an immediate difference in my Con Ed bill,” says Greene. “One month I got a $62 bill. I couldn’t believe it.”
The average homeowner spends about $2,200 per year on energy bills, and 20 to 50 percent of that is wasted. In an energy audit, a Building Performance Institute (BPI)-certified contractor identifies areas of leakage and waste, and writes a detailed plan for retrofitting for improvement.
In the Bronx, SSBx’s Cynthia Ngombe and Angela Tovar help homeowners apply for low-interest financing and/or subsidies to help pay for the retrofits. Once the homeowner has been approved for financing, the contractor returns to do the work—often with BEST grads who have the opportunity to gain valuable experience while working with a New York State Energy, Research and Development Association (NYSERDA)-approved contractor.
In addition to the work Greene had done, a retrofit could include caulking and weather-stripping leaky windows and doors, repairing or upgrading an old, inefficient heating system, swapping out old lighting for energy efficient fixtures and bulbs, or replacing old appliances with EnergyStar new ones.
Retrofitting saves an average of $700 a year for homeowners. The cost of a retrofit is generally paid for in four years. Many people in the Bronx are eligible for a free or low-cost energy audit, and a subsidy to cover about half the cost of the project, up to $5,000 for a single-family home and up to $10,000 for a two- to four-family building. Low interest financing can help cover the rest of the cost.
In addition to saving money, a retrofit also makes a home more homey. “I can walk around sleeveless,” says Greene about her new, snugger house. “It’s great. It’s a huge difference.”
For more information or to schedule a home visit and energy audit, contact Cynthia Ngombe, Program Manager, Bronx Energy Efficiency, at firstname.lastname@example.org.