Going green suddenly got much easier.

It’s the work of the Green Homes Consortium—a project developed jointly by seven Long Island towns. The project, new this summer, helps homeowners make their homes more energy efficient, by showing them the ropes and connecting them with free services, incentive programs, and reliable suppliers.

If ever there was a no-brainer, energy efficiency is it. Energy improvements quickly pay for themselves, then keep paying year after year. It’s a great deal for homeowners—and a big boost for Long Island. Energy improvements reduce pollution and global warming. Plus they bolster the economy: our money goes into local, green jobs instead of foreign oil.

Already, 75% of Long Islanders have added insulation; 74% have switched to more efficient lighting. Now it’s time to take bigger steps. Such as upgrading heating, cooling, and hot water systems. Or replacing doors, windows, or skylights. Such steps would reduce energy usage 20%.

Homeowners are willing, but many need support. The Green Homes project works by giving them the practical information and guidance they need to move ahead.

The project is a joint effort of Babylon, North Hempstead, Brookhaven, Smithtown, Huntington, Southampton, and Islip. These towns came together to design the project, and apply for funding to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. NYSERDA is a public corporation created under the state Public Authorities Law to promote use of renewable energy sources, reduce energy consumption, and protect the environment.

The town consortium won a $5 million grant from NYSERDA, with funds going to support:

  • Home energy audits--free for most families, reduced-price for most others.
  • Low-cost loans up to $13,000.
  • A list of contractors accredited by the Building Performance Institute (BPI).
  • Trained staff available by phone to provide assistance. Plus a user-friendly website www.longislandgreenhomes.org.

By making things easy, the consortium expects to help thousands of homeowners go greener. A benefit for all Long Island.

The project is a prime example of the good things that come when Long Islanders work together. One town alone would not have qualified for the NYSERDA grant. It was the breadth of local government support that made the project viable.

Energy efficiency has always been a great idea. The Green Homes Consortium helps makes it happen.