Thursday, October 29, 2009

New York State's Green Jobs Bill

News from New York State Department of Labor

The State Department of Labor and the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) today highlighted New York State's plans to create green jobs and stimulate investment in weatherization and energy efficiency improvements for residential and commercial buildings in the Southern Tier, and across the state, through the Green Jobs/Green New York Act.

Governor David A. Paterson recently signed the act into law -- which targets the creation of hundreds of jobs across the Southern Tier -- to help prepare New Yorkers to secure jobs in the 21st century clean energy economy.

State Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith said, "Governor Paterson's Green Energy Bill will stimulate job creation and retention, support workforce development and advance pathways out of poverty. We all want this state to be a place that attracts and retains the best and the brightest talent, and the potential on all fronts with green is limitless."

To help connect job seekers with opportunities the State has launched a new web site to assist those seeking to enter the new green job sector. The site is designed to make it easy for individuals, businesses and workforce professionals to find the State's local training programs and green job opportunities.

The Green Jobs/Green New York Act directs the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to establish revolving loan and green jobs training programs to retrofit homes to conserve energy. Loans will be capped at $13,000 for residential and $26,000 for commercial properties. The program will target middleclass homeowners and small businesses that will pay back the loan out of what they save on their energy bills. The job training component will focus on new entrants to the workforce and displaced workers. The training programs and any education and enrollment efforts will be subjected to a competitive procurement process available to community based-organizations.

To fund the weatherization loan program and establish the statewide green jobs training program, NYSERDA will use a portion of $112 million from the auction of carbon emission credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The Green Jobs bill will allow the State to increase its existing and successful weatherization efforts that are already underway. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) will eventually administer $394 million in funds under American Recover and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). By the end of this month, $190 million in 64 contracts, representing every county in New York, will be executed as part of the WAP program. Under WAP, a minimum of 45,000 residential units will be weatherized in New York State.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Smart Grid Investment Grant

The Obama administration named 100 utility projects that will share $3.4 billion in federal stimulus funding to use technology designed to reduce energy use and make the electric-power grid more robust.

The $3.4 billion in Smart Grid Investment Grant awards are part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and will be matched by industry funding for a total public-private investment worth more than $8 billion.

The U.S. Department of Energy said grants of $400,000 to $200 million will lead to the installation of at least 18 million advanced digital meters, which will bring the nation's total to about 40 million, or enough to cover one-quarter to one-third of U.S. homes.

The new meters, also known as "smart" meters, are funded by the stimulus grants differ from conventional meters because they are electronic and they contain communicating modules and software that enables them to receive signals and communicate to utilities or to utility customers. They are the strength of demand-reduction efforts because they will allow utilities to charge different rates at different times of day and they can notify consumers when grid conditions require special action.

The Department of Energy said that the stimulus funds will improve efficiency all along the grid including electric substations, power lines, transformers and meters.

About 200,000 new generation transformers will alert utilities before they fail. Currently, utilities often use a "run to fail" approach in which they often only replace equipment when it breaks.

Energy Department officials stressed, in a press briefing Monday evening, that consumers will benefit from the investments. New meters and energy monitoring systems will give consumers better information to manage their energy use, and make it easier for power companies to use more renewable energy. Electricity from wind turbines or solar power systems tends to come in uneven bursts -- when the wind is strong or the sun bright. Proponents of the investments say a digital grid would be better able to handle those ups and downs.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

NYSERDA Develops Solar For New York State

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is working with Ascent Solar Technologies on the development of light weight flexible structures that include energy production from solar electric modules produced by Ascent Solar.

"From a New York perspective, the potential for this firm to bring product development and manufacturing to the Empire State is very encouraging and supports Governor Paterson's goal to attract clean energy efficiency manufacturing jobs to our state." said NYSERDA President and CEO Francis J. Murray, Jr.

The development work will be carried out under a $22,500 collaborative agreement between FTL Solar and the Center for Advanced Microelectronic Manufacturing in Endicott, and the Center for Autonomous Solar at Binghamton University.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Recovery Through Retrofit

The Obama administration is endorsing a plan to let homeowners finance the cost of energy-efficiency improvements through property tax assessments.

The proposal is one of several that would help cut U.S. energy consumption while creating jobs in industries that make and install energy-efficient products such as insulation, Vice President Joe Biden said today in an event to unveil the plan.

Retrofitting homes with insulation and weather-proofing doors can save “at a minimum, between 300 and 1,200 bucks a year,” Biden said. “You get pay-back real quick on these investments.”

Biden said the proposal builds on provisions of the $787 billion stimulus package passed by Congress earlier. As part of the stimulus, the Energy Department was given $7.6 billion to dole out to states to weatherproof homes and other energy efficiency efforts. The administration, which has been promoting the legislation’s impact on employment, said the provision meets the twin goals of boosting jobs in so-called green industries and helping the U.S. cut greenhouse-gas emissions.

Each year, Americans spend $1,500 to $3,000 to heat and air condition their homes, Biden said. Paying for improvements on property tax bills would let homeowners spread the cost of the investment over time.

In addition, the new initiative, dubbed Recovery Through Retrofit, would provide wider access to reliable information about increasing the energy efficiency, set national standards for training of workers to perform such jobs and create a certification process identifying energy-efficient homes.

Retrofitting the nation’s 130 million homes for energy efficiency would cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much 20 percent, the equivalent of taking 30 million cars off the road, Biden said. Savings on energy bills would amount to $21 billion annually, he said.

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Proposal Submitted for the Great Appliance Swap Out

Governor David A. Paterson announced that New York submitted a plan for federal approval that would provide consumers with rebates for purchasing certain energy-efficient refrigerators, clothes washers, freezers and dishwashers through a program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

If New York’s plan is approved by federal government, the Great Appliance Swap Out program will allow the State to issue nearly 170,000 rebates totaling $16.8 million.

“New York must continue to build a clean energy economy that will cut our energy costs and reduce our greenhouse gas pollution. This program will provide an important boost to the economy, while encouraging consumers all across New York to buy appliances that reduce energy consumption,” Governor Paterson said. “We thank President Obama and our entire Congressional Delegation for working to make this critical stimulus funding available. Without this federal funding, which will provide much-needed economic stimulus in New York, we would not have pursued this program. We look forward to receiving DOE approval and moving forward in offering these cost- and energy-saving benefits to New Yorkers.”

NYSERDA President and CEO Francis J. Murray, Jr. said: “Consumers can save hundreds of dollars a year by replacing an old appliance with the appliances we’ve included in our rebate program. The program will not only help consumers save money and reduce the environmental impact of older appliances, but will help us meet the Governor’s ambitious goals of improving our environment and decreasing our energy usage in the future.”

James R. Sherin, President and CEO of the Retail Council of New York State, said: “New technologies make new appliances for the home more energy efficient. We applaud Governor Paterson and NYSERDA for mapping out a rebate program that will help put those appliances into the homes of New Yorkers who need and want them and for working with the retail industry to ensure that it’s something we can deliver to the consumer. The rebate makes a great incentive for New Yorkers to make their households greener than ever.”

Under the proposed plan, consumers could receive rebates for purchasing eligible appliances individually or in a bundle. Appliances will qualify only if they have earned the ENERGY STAR® label, meaning that they are up to 30 percent more efficient than standard models on the market.

Consumers must be New York State residents to be eligible for the proposed rebate program. Appliances can be purchased at any retail location and must meet specified ENERGY STAR or CEE standards. The program is open only to individuals purchasing appliances for their own use. Adequate documentation of recycling must be included to receive the maximum rebate amount and the rebate cannot be combined with other appliance rebate programs from utilities or municipalities. The rebate can, however, be combined with other manufacturer rebates or retail promotions.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Westchester Fall Home Show: Part 2

The BrightHome team handed out 178 Compact Fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs to homeowners at the Westchester Fall Home Show at Pace Univeristy last week.

We got to thinking -- What's in a number?

178 CFL bulbs will last 1,602,000 more hours than 178 incandescent bulbs.
178 CFL bulbs will save $15,664 over 178 incandescent bulbs.
178 CFL bulbs will save about 175,864 lbs. of CO2 over 178 incandescent bulbs.

Here's a few tips on how to get the most out of your CFL bulbs:

Do the twist. Screw in your CFL by holding the ballast (the white plastic part), NOT the glass tubing.

Don’t flip too fast. You’ll maximize the lifetime savings and effectiveness of your CFLs by keeping them on for 15 minutes or more at a time.

Choose 3 for 3. Only use bulbs labeled as three-way on three-way sockets.

Don’t dim a non-dimmable. Only use bulbs labeled as dimmable on dimmer switches.

Check your controls. Most photocells, motion sensors and electric timers are not designed to work with CFLs. Always check with the manufacturer of the control for compatibility.

Give them air. CFLs are sensitive to extreme temperatures, so place your CFLs in open fixtures indoors. Using them in enclosed fixtures indoors can create a hot environment that reduces the lifetime of your bulbs. Note that covered reflectors are best used in recessed cans.

Protect them outside. Protect bulbs from the elements by placing them inside enclosed fixtures outdoors. For colder climates, look at the packaging for optimal operating temperatures.

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Westchester Fall Home Show: Part 1

BrightHome Energy Solutions attended the Westchester Fall Home Show at Pace University October 9 & 10.

Our sales team enjoyed meeting with hundreds of Westchester residents, and hearing what their biggest home energy issues were this Fall. Across the board, the #1 problem we heard from home owners was cold and drafty rooms.

The solution? Air-sealing and insulation. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that homeowners can typically save up to 20% of heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% of total energy costs) by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces, and accessible basement rim joists.

We're also proud to have secured 46 solid leads on Comprehensive Energy Assessments. We hope we can make 46 homes more comfortable and more energy efficient before Winter sweeps in.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

N.Y. Governor Announces Establishment Of New York Energy Policy Institute

Gov. David A. Paterson, D-N.Y., has announced the creation of the New York Energy Policy Institute (NYEPI). The group will coordinate the work of New York's leading energy research centers, using established expertise in the field to provide a resource for the state's energy policy-makers. To facilitate this coordination, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has released a request for proposals to establish the policy institute.

"New York already has some of the brightest minds in the world and extensive academic expertise in the clean energy economy," says Paterson. "For the first time, they will work together to provide analysis and strategies to inform state policy-makers, and the beneficiaries will be the everyday New Yorkers who will get cheaper and cleaner energy."

Funding of up to $200,000 per year for up to three years has been allocated to this effort. Initially, NYEPI will concentrate on strategies that will introduce more energy efficiency and further reduce energy-derived pollution, while also providing for economic development and increased employment.

Electric power generation, transmission and heating fuel-use are expected to be core issues, and then, further efforts will work toward new and efficient transportation use within the state.

NYSERDA commissioned a preliminary study to catalog the state's academic resources. It found 18 top research centers with more than 170 faculty members whose knowledge of the state's resources and needs, along with research expertise, could provide a strategic framework for future policy on energy recovery, generation, regulation and use.

source: New York Public Service Commision

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Friday, October 2, 2009

NY To Take Part In Energy-Efficiency Program

Those who took advantage of the cash-for-clunkers program might want to get ready for a similar project pertaining to energy-efficient home appliances.

A $300 million federal program will provide rebates to consumers who purchase Energy Star appliances, but, this time they can leave their old clunkers at home.

Not only does the program seek to help the environment by promoting efficient appliances, but it is also aimed at boosting sales for appliance makers. According to Business Week, Whirlpool has seen sales drop, as has Electrolux and General Electric.

Colleen Ryan, spokesperson for the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority said New York does plan to participate in the federal program and will submit a plan to enable it to do so by Oct. 15. If the plan is accepted by the federal government, the rebate program for appliances will begin in November. New York's energy agency is eligible to receive $18.7 million for the program.

"We encourage people when they are replacing appliances they do look at the Energy Star brand," she said, adding the brand will save energy. "It's important people realize they should recycle old appliances," she said, adding doing so gets inefficient appliances off the market.

- excerpt from The Post-Journal

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