IN THE NEWS - Staten Island Advance: Staten Island Sandy victims can repair with eye on energy efficiency

 

    STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - The state has partnered with a not-for-profit group to restore energy efficiency to eligible low-income Staten Island homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

    While some homeowners have started - and in some cases finished - repairing their homes, many others are still living with severely damaged basements, eroded pipes and waterlogged walls.

    Now, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's (NYSERDA) EmPower New York program has enlisted the Community Environmental Center (CEC), a Queens nonprofit that brings energy efficiency to New York City residents, to assist with post-Sandy relief efforts for low-income homeowners in storm-battered areas in the city, including Staten Island.

    "There are enormous needs in these communities, which Governor [Andrew] Cuomo is addressing through a number of efforts," said Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA. "EmPower NY is one way that NYSERDA can help."

    Through the initiative, CEC and EmPower NY will provide certain energy-efficiency services at no cost, including insulation, heating system upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, carbon monoxide testing, the replacement of inefficient refrigerators and freezers with high-efficiency models, and strategic air sealing to keep out the winter cold.

    "This program can help people affected by the storm by providing insulation for their walls and roofs, energy-efficient refrigerators, and heating systems upgrades," said Richard Cherry, CEC president. "We hope to bring additional comfort and energy efficiency, so these New Yorkers can continue to get on with their lives."

    To qualify for the program, homeowners must earn at or below 60 percent of the state median income, which is:

    • $25,656 for households with one person;
    • $33,552 for households with two people;
    • $49,436 for households with four people.

    EmPower doesn't provide funding for repairs paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), insurance or other programs. But in cases where program reimbursements don't cover the full cost of repairs or high-efficiency equipment, EmPower can pay the additional cost, provided the work is performed by a participating EmPower contractor.

    Low-income home owners who wish to apply for EmPower NY assistance can call Community Environmental Center at 718-784-1444 or e-mail Carol Wiggins at cwiggins@cecenter.org.

    For homeowners who don't qualify for EmPower New York, NYSERDA offers services through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program.

    CEC is a participating contractor; for further information, contact Donna Parris at 718-784-1444, ext. 146 or dparris@cecenter.org.

    By Tracey Porpora/Staten Island Advance 

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