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Village Considers Energize Ossining Cost Help

OSSINING, N.Y. – With a few months left until winter arrives, Ossining officials said they are taking steps to help residents reduce their energy bills and paying for energy-efficient projects with less than what they would save.

The Village of Ossining Board of Trustees discussed the Energize Ossining program Tuesday night during a work session and discussed ways for residents to reduce their carbon footprint and reduce energy costs. The Energize Ossining program allows residents to receive free energy audits on their homes. But Mayor William Hanauer said that paying for the recommended changes can be difficult and village officials are trying to adopt a local law that allows residents and businesses to save more than they spend to make the changes.

“I think it could make it much easier for people to get really low-cost loans over a longer period of time. It’s about reducing the carbon footprint and also lowering their electric and heat bills significantly,” Hanauer said. “Ultimately, if we do this right, this could pay for itself.”

Village officials spoke with members of the Northern Westchester Energy Action Coalition (NWEAC), the organization behind the Energize Ossining program and several like it around Westchester. The Town of Bedford are working on adopting similar legislation, Hanauer said, and the village and town of Ossining are trying to follow that lead.

“For us, this process will take several weeks to complete but we’re hoping to get something adopted in six weeks,” Hanauer said, adding that an initial law would most likely aim at benefitting businesses with residential measures likely to follow in the coming months.

NWEAC Chairperson Herb Oringel, who lives in Somers, said he is following the process and recently completed the energy audit. Oringel said NWEAC is recommending to towns a program called on-bill paying, which would allow residents to pay back their loans using the savings of their energy bills.

“The most important thing is that the loan itself will be less than the savings as a result of doing the work,” he said. “Your house essentially becomes a money-making machine and it’s really not a bad deal and something everyone should be looking into.”

Ossining Deputy Mayor John Codman also completed the energy audit and recently began work on the weatherization of his home.

“It’s been a great experience and it’s going to make a huge difference in energy savings on my home,” Codman said. “For many years the heat in my home was actually heating the neighborhood. So this not only going to reduce my energy costs now but it’s going to do something positive for the environment too.”

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