Good Work, Sean! (S1:E7 of Good Work New York Vlogcast)
We talked to Sean from Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County about the money saving programs from NYSERDA.ny.gov that can even help the planet!
Charlie: Hi there, Charlie here. Communications Manager for Cornell Cooperative Extension. This is my little pet project 'Good Work, New York!' a podcast where we're talking about all the good work that happens here in Rockland County, the Hudson Valley, and all of New York State. And today I have with me mister Sean. Say hello, mister Sean.
Sean: Hello! Thanks for having me, Charlie.
Charlie: Can you tell me who you are and what you do with Extension?
Sean: Sure, I work at Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County, and I am a Community Energy Adviser, and I work in all seven counties in the Hudson Valley, talking to folks about energy efficiency and different energy opportunities that are out there to save money, save dollars. You know, make the home more comfortable, buildings more comfortable. Things like that and really bring an awareness energy efficiency. You know, things that are happening.
Charlie: That's great, can you tell me -maybe you have a specific audience or program you work with?
Sean: So yeah, we work this a menu of different programs offered by NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research Development Authority) who funds our program. So I worked with Cornell in Dutchess County. And you know the project, it's kind of like a dual project with Sullivan and Dutchess Extension offices, and we are -our emphasis is on low and moderate income communities. So really kind of you know going out and talking to folks about programs are eligible for.
Charlie: Great so for the low-income communities, what programs could they qualify for?
Sean: So one program is Empower New York and Empower New York's been around for a while, it's a program that really focuses on a little bit of - you know- electric reduction program, ways to add insulation, ways to kind of weatherize a little bit, and it's - we get folks help, if they're interested. We try to get them involved, help them with the application process, and we do a dual application with the Weatherization Program which is also offered throughout the Hudson Valley with Community Action Agencies, usually and, so we try to utilize the dual application process to get folks as many services as they're eligible for. And then, if they're eligible for Empower, which is based on 60% of the state median income, they're normally going to be eligible for "Solar for All" which is a new program that focuses on electric utility reduction, and it's it's combined it's a program that's kind of like coupled into the Community Solar model so, a solar project happens and that's like a community solar farm is built somewhere in the neighborhood or in the community locally, and folks that are eligible for Solar for All - if they pay their electricity bill and they apply - you know they could get 10 to 15 dollars off their utility bill a month, their electric utility bill.
Charlie: So that means they have to be the one paying the bill? It can't be part of their rent?
Sean: Yeah, they have to be the payer yeah yeah so and it's a really nice little program, but yeah if they're eligible for like SNAP benefits or TANF or SSI assisting - those types of programs- they're most likely gonna be eligible for the Empower and Solar for All and weatherization.
Charlie: Wonderful, so weatherization that's kind of the process of keeping the air that you heat or cool in the building and not letting it out?
Sean: Correct, yeah it's really looking at you know, ways to shore up the envelope of the building, so the outside of the building, you know.
Sean: I'm sure there are ton of people's father is happy that they're not 'heating the whole neighborhood', right? Yeah, save money put the energy where you want it.
Charlie: Yeah so that's for the lower income bracket. Is there something for other folks?
Sean: Yes so we have other programs called "Assisted Home Performance with Energy Star". In the Home Performance with Energy Star program, they're really focused on the residential program, and therefore moderate income earners, or market rate program so folks that don't -you know- qualify for the moderate income program, they could still utilize the Home Performance with Energy Star program. They both circle around a home energy assessment or home energy audit. That's done by Home Performance professionals. So these home performance contractors are trained by the Building Performance Institute and they are then audited annually by NYSERDA. These guys come out and they, they basically -if you're first of all- if you're. If you should qualify for the assisted home performance program, you will get the home energy assessment or audit for free in most cases.With the Home Performance program for the market rate program you will get it for most likely a reduced costs, some cases not. But they'll come out do the assessment, really kind of apply some some really cool technology, like blower door tests, and CO detectors things that are you know have an eye on health and safety. And really looking at the pressure differentials in the home, and seeing where you're losing you know that warm air in the winter that you're paying the heat. So they come out, they'll do the assessment, and then give you a report on it. And really kind of give you all the different things you could you could do- as far as upgrades to make the home -more efficient. You don't have to pick and choose everything you can just kind of select what you want to do, or you can tackle it all. And NYSERDA provides a couple different financing options for folks. So there's a pay as you save type of loan, and then a more traditional energy smart loan that folks who utilize to tackle the whole list on the on the report or you know prioritize. So it gives folks a way to to get it going.
Charlie: Wonderful, so that's for residential are there any business programs?
Sean: Yes, we have a couple different programs. Well one program really get tackles two different groups, building. So nonprofits and small businesses and NYSERDA defines small businesses as under one hundred employees so it's a big range of buildings, I would think. They can utilize a program called "Green Jobs, Green New York." We can help you with the pathways and the journey to get into the program, but yeah that's that program. Really it's based on a very similar model. A provider comes out and does an energy assessment and then tries to kind of give a report or an audit of what can be done to make the building more efficient. And as well as you know maybe there's other programs too that can help folks too. So we try to be knowledgeable about the different offerings from our utility companies. We have some great utilities in the Hudson Valley and they offer some fantastic programs too. So we try to be knowledgeable without about those and give business owners even residents you know a sense of what's available.
Charlie: Sounds like there are so many different programs that you can qualify for and probably the best thing to do would be to get in touch with you and have a conversation and figure out what your case qualifies for?
Sean: Absolutely we have we have a website MidHudsonEngeryChoices.org And you can go on there you don't even have to give us a call, you can just go on the website and pop in what you're thinking about or what you kind of you know what kind of building you have and and connect with us on there. You can email us through our different extension office's that the Sullivan you know and Dutchess County websites. There you can give me a call, I'm available at the Sullivan County office. (845) 459-2618 extension 127. We'd love to hear from folks, it's really a nice kind of way to have a conversation about energy efficiency and we like to do this work.
Charlie: Great so I'll put all that contact information in the description, but now let's say I have a whole group of people that I think should hear about this because I think everybody should hear about this, but let's say I have a club or an organization or some other kind of group. Would you come into a presentation for us?
Sean: Oh yes! Yes, we love coming out talking to groups. You know we'll go anywhere in the seven counties the Hudson Valley. My colleagues out Duchess kind of handle you know the eastern end of the seven counties and I'm over here on the on the western side of the Hudson River. So yeah we'd love to hear from folks if you have a group or an organization or you know community group, we could come right out.
Charlie: Wonderful. Well, I would like to thank mr. Sean for coming on Good Work New York, and I really enjoyed hearing about all these programs. I'm gonna see what I qualify for when I go home. So that's our episode, and we'll be back next week at 1:00 p.m. on Friday for another episode of Good Work New York and that's some good work, New York! bye thanks
Last updated December 13, 2019