Even before last night’s official Energize Ossining Community Launch took place at the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center, word of the program had gotten out and Ossining was setting records for the highest number of residents signing up on an Energize website in a single day. Claims that for $0 out-of-pocket a homeowner can improve their property, reduce their energy costs, and save money were too good miss out on. So last evening a bunch of Ossining homeowners gathered in the multi-purpose room at the Community Center to find out how Energize Ossining can work for them.
Ossining Village Trustee John Codman and Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia spoke early in the evening to share their experiences from Saturday, March 3 when they each had a Building Performance Institute (BPI) accredited contractor perform a comprehensive energy efficiency assessment on their homes. Catherine compared her assessment lead by BPI contractor Franzoso to the walk through that she did a few years ago with her utility company. She was very impressed by the depth of information she gained from Franzoso and stressed the value of learning what unique improvements can be done for each individual home. John Codman hired Tom from Bright Home as his BPI contractor, and spoke about the scientific approach used to measure the airflow of his house, “Basically he [Tom] took [infrared] pictures all around my house, and you can see the gradients of yellow, red, to blue—which is the coldest part. And there was lots of blue in my home.”
To prepare for the assessment, John and Catherine each completed a one-page application, sent it to Albany, and hired a contractor trained in building science and accredited by BPI. The entire assessment takes about 3 hours, and costs $0 for nearly all Ossining homeowners. At the end of the evening every homeowner that attended last night’s meeting stayed to ask more questions; brought home an Energize application; and some folks even hired the contractor from Healthy Home who had attended the presentation along with homeowners.
The special guest speaker was nationally recognized home energy expert Dick Kornbluth. Dick explained the building science that is the foundation of the comprehensive energy efficiency assessments. Your home is a system that can be scientifically measured with knowledge of how air flows through your house, as well as the mechanical appliances operating in your home and the lifestyle of the people and pets living there.
Across Northern Westchester, homes make up 50% of all the energy used. The Energize program was born out of a desire to reduce that impact. It was piloted in Bedford. And when the opportunity arose for Energize to expand to other communities in the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium (NWEAC), of which both the Town and Village of Ossining are charter members, Ossining was ready. Our political, municipal and community leaders jumped at the chance to reduce our carbon footprint one house at a time, making Ossining the first community to launch an Energize program beyond the pilot. Energize Ossining is a collaboration of both the Town and Village, coordinated by volunteers from Green Ossining, the Village Environmental Advisory Council and the Town Environmental Advisory Committee.
The average home in NYS loses 30% of its energy through hidden holes in the house. Some Ossining homeowners signed-up on EnergizeOssining.org because they want to be kinder to the environment; some want to feel more comfortable in their homes; and others just want to save money. Whatever the motivation, the result is a home that functions more efficiently with immediate and long-term energy savings. And that means more money for Ossining residents to spend on something more fun than an outrageous oil bill.