Resources for Improving Energy Efficiency, Conservation and Finding Alternative Sources

The co-op's second goal is promoting energy efficiency and conservation, and we would like to help people do that, including by changing to more sustainable energy sources.

Member Carol Reingold has put together some resources and links. You can also check out our Facebook page where fellow members can also post suggestions. If you have a good resource where people in the MidHudson Valley can get more information about moving to a more sustainable energy source, or improving energy efficiency, please email Carol at cflamm@pobox.com. No referrals to commercial suppliers please.

If you are just starting to think about this, Ulster County (which is a Silver level Climate Smart community) has a comprehensive website with links and information for both individuals and businesses https://ulstercountyny.gov/environment/climate-action.

Other websites that give a bird's eye view of what can be and has been done across the region are https://sustainhv.org/ and https://nyforcleanpower.org/.

If you want to see how you as an individual can use less fossil fuels - here are some ways:

  1. Heat pump hot water heaters (incentives through your utility co)
  2. Solar panel and battery installation (incentives through your utility co)
  3. Community Solar - you can sign up direct
  4. CCA (Community Choice Aggregation) - some towns already have set up CCAs, for example in Ulster County, Marbletown, New Paltz and Saugerties. Some, like Gardiner and Kingston are starting the process, some towns you may need to start lobbying them to do it.
  5. Electric vehicles: all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars purchased new in or after 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500, check https://americantaxservice.org/tax-credits-for-electric-vehicle-car/ for details. And may also be eligible for a $2,000 NYS rebate at purchase.
There is advice, support as well as financial incentives available for those looking to use less fossil fuel or no fossil fuel in their homes, but it can be overwhelming, so here is additional help:

For help preparing to go more electric in the future when you need a new car, heat system etc. this is a very helpful resource for all of Ulster and the Hudson Valley https://sustainhv.org/100-renewable-marbletown/learn-10-cost-effective-steps/

Sustainable Hudson Valley offers group incentive purchase programs for insulation, solar and more for all of Ulster and Hudson Valley. https://sustainhv.org/programs/marketplace-empowerment/green-group-purchase-program/

Incentive programs for heat pumps, hot water heaters and more are now provided at your electric utility co. (Central Hudson) https://www.cenhud.com/en/my-energy/save-energy-money/residential-incentives/ Specifically for heat pumps (including groundsource/geothermal) https://cleanheat.ny.gov/find-available-rebates/

NYSERDA (NY State Energy Research and Development Agency) has many incentives for insulating and other ways to save energy, which are particularly helpful to lower income residents. If you get SNAP or help with heat you are automatically eligible. Renters can use these as well, by applying using income figures. The landlord has to sign on, at no cost, and the renter can access the programs. It usually results in money saving for the landlord also. https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/residents-and-homeowners.

While NYSERDA is trying to streamline its application process it can be confusing- Cornell Cooperative has a program to help. Contact Carol Reingold cflamm@pobox.com for an evaluation and she will get you a contact at Cornell if needed.

NYSERDA has free energy audits also, https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Energy-Audit-Programs. You can be eligible every two years. They check the whole house and come back with a list of things that can be done to improve energy efficiency, starting with the highest priority. Note that if you using the audit for one of the NYSERDA programs, these energy audits are more specific, so it is worth looking at the different programs available to you before signing up for an audit.