CLICK HERE FOR PODCAST
Today, we are discussing a new program for residents of Putnam County. Whether you are a homeowner, business owner, looking to sell or buy a property within Putnam County, and your heating system uses a fuel other than natural gas, this new program, sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA can promise you long-term savings using clean, renewable sources of energy that will have a positive impact on our environment.
During this episode of Diamond Spotlight on Your Community, we interview Bonnie Hagen, who is the CEO of Bright Energy Services and the Director for the Clean Heating and Cooling Campaign in Putnam County.
She will describe how you can add value to your property by an upgrade to your heating and cooling system and save money in the process.
[Frank] Hi everyone! My name is Frank, and I’m here with Bonnie Hagen who’s the head of Bright Energy Services in Westchester County, and she’s going to tell us a little bit about the Clean Heating and Cooling Campaign for Putnam County homeowners and business owners. Welcome Bonnie! How are you?
[Bonnie] I’m doing well! Thank you, Frank!
[Frank] Okay, so tell me a little bit about your role at Bright Energy Services and what this Clean Heating and Cooling Campaign is all about?
[Bonnie] Sure, I am the chief operating officer for Bright Energy Services, and we’re a company that does energy efficiency projects for commercial buildings. At this time, for this particular project, we are focusing only on HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) technologies, and we’re doing this on behalf of NYSERDA — New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
NYSERDA has provided a two-year grant to WestCop, our partner in this program, and we are working with a number of different vendors to bring clean the heating and cooling technology to residents and businesses in Putnam County. Amongst those helping us are Atlanta Westchester, and the Hudson Valley Regional Council, and Internet Presence. So we comprised a team who are doing outreach and marketing to inform people about how much energy they can save and therefore how much money they can save by using this new energy-efficient technology, as well as maintain year-round comfort.
So if you’ve ever seen two people sitting next to each other, and one has a fan going, and the other has, you know, a space heater and a sweater on, we’re trying to eliminate that problem. Because of course, that’s very wasteful, and you have two people in the same room that are uncomfortable. So we’re trying to reduce the expenses, while keeping people comfortable, and that naturally results in environmental enhancement.
Part of what we’re doing is recruiting a team of volunteers to be the boots on the ground and to go within the communities to their friends, to their families, to places at work, to their houses of worship, to the schools to tell people about this, and we are having a number of launches where we’re doing four campaigns over the next two years. In each campaign we’ll have a campaign launch, where we invite the communities in Putnam County to the events, where they can meet the installers who are installing the technology, NYSERDA is providing very generous grants for people to upgrade their heating and cooling systems, and even after the grants, if there’s still an expensive that the homeowner is having trouble swinging, we are providing financing opportunities as well.
[Frank] Okay, if I’m a homeowner or business owner in Putnam County, what are some of the steps that I can take to learn more about this campaign?
[Bonnie] Okay, there are a couple of things: Well, certainly show up to the to the outreach events, the campaign events when we have them, and we’re going to be doing emails and broadcasts and narrowcast, and oh, we have a website, and by the way, the website address is clean heating and cooling dot energy. Once again, clean heating and cooling dot energy. So you can follow us there. We have social media pages, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and follow us in those places as well. So you can keep abreast of this situation and attend the events. if you really want to know what we’re doing from the inside out, sign up to be a volunteer.
[Frank] And what is the main objective of the campaign? What is it that you’re seeking to accomplish?
[Bonnie] We’re seeking to pair interested homeowners with installers who will get the projects done.
[Frank] Okay, and how are these installers found? What’s the process for that?
[Bonnie] Okay, well they can’t just be any installers. They have to be vetted, and either they have to be a certified installer by NYSERDA, or they have to be in the process of getting certification. So the certification involves vetting out, you know, whatever industry certifications, for instance, BPI or ASHRAE certifications that are important in the industry, whatever local licenses are required to do the work, and our team of volunteers are reading the proposals to make sure that the companies selected have these certifications, are financially stable, and work within the communities before we select them.
[Frank] How do I know if the system that I currently have is eligible for an upgrade?
[Bonnie] If you have a free energy audit! You just come to one of our events, or just contact us on our website: clean heating and cooling dot energy, and make an appointment and we’ll send someone for a free energy audit to let you know what you’re eligible for.
[Frank] Okay, and assuming that the audit points out that I should get an upgrade, how do I know what type of upgrade to get? There’s so many different systems out there.
[Bonnie] There are! some of the systems that we’re promoting in this campaign are geothermal, which is also called ground source heat pumps. We’re promoting air source heat pumps. We are promoting solar hot water. We are promoting biomass. These are new and emerging technologies, and the people that come to do your site visit, to do the audits are engineers, and they’re going to see what your home is best suited for and what will save you the most money and make you the most comfortable.
[Frank] Okay, so how will I know how much such a new system would cost me, if I were going to install it?
[Bonnie] Each home and each business is different, and so the contractor will price out the appropriate system size for each property. They will also tell you how much energy you will save by using it, and therefore, how much money. So you’ll know how much it costs, how much you’ll save, how much rebate money is available to help you pay for it, and what the balance is in there for what the loan options are. So you will know the whole thing before you actually decide to move forward.
[Frank] And so what are some of the advantages of some of these new systems compared to some of the existing heating and cooling systems that homeowners have?
[Bonnie] For one thing, I mentioned earlier that people will be more comfortable year-round, so it’ll be even heating and even cooling throughout the property as opposed to spots. It’ll be more comfortable, and it uses less energy and, also, you know, Putnam County is the number one county in the state that heats with something other than natural gas. We have an awful lot of people on oil and propane, and so this is a cleaner, these are cleaner technologies, which will reduce reliance on oil and propane, so that’s a great factor as well.
[Frank] Okay, so finally Bonnie, tell me what you would tell a homeowner or a business owner who wants to learn more about this campaign and perhaps investigate some of the advantages and incentives that can be offered to them?
[Bonnie] I suggest you come to our kickoff meetings. The first one is being held October 10th at the Desmond-Fish library in the evening. So please come see us there. We’ll will teach you all about it!
[Frank] Okay great! Alright, again we’re here with Bonnie Hagen from Bright Energy Services who is the campaign director for the Clean Heating and Cooling Campaign for Putnam County.