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Program Could Make Lewisboro a Little Greener

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – Homeowners in Lewisboro may have the 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 at its work session this week from Tom Bregman, director of Energize New York – a community-based energy efficiency program paid for through grants from the U.S Department of Energy and New York State Energy Research and Development Agency. It was founded by the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium.

The program was pioneered by the Town of Bedford four years ago and is designed to encourage homeowners to get free energy assessments. The program then, depending on income, recommends contractors that could come in and do the work. The program provides third party-financing with the loans being 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. The 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 pay for energy programs for the member communities.

Bregman’s presentation to the town board provided a background on Energize New York and the consortium’s goals.

“We’d like to get 25 homes in Lewisboro to sign up [for an energy audit],” he said. “That’s a reasonable goal.”

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

“If you’re going to make a difference, residential is the place to start,” he said.

Town Board Member Dan Walsh, the town liaison to the consortium, hopes the board will pass a resolution giving the group its support and will pick an official launch date for the program. The program doesn't require the town board’s approval – it uses no tax money for its endeavors – but notes its level of success relies on the town’s support.

“You don’t want Albany telling you this is what you need to do,” Bregman said. “We found that this works best by getting as local as you can.”

Town board members expressed enthusiasm for the program and said that launching and promoting the program would work best in conjunction with some of the community’s most popular events, such as the Fourth of July fireworks, Memorial Day celebration and the Library Fair.

Both Supervisor Peter Parsons and Deputy Supervisor Peter DeLucia said they would be willing to volunteer their homes for an energy audit.

Bergam said residents don’t have to wait for the town to embrace the program. He said anyone can sign up for the energy audit and subsequent support by logging onto www.EnergizeNY.org .

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