'Realizing Tomorrow's Potential' A Look Back On Our 2017 New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference

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The New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference is where state leaders and local officials from across New Jersey's 565 municipalities and 21 counties gather to discuss the year ahead.

The annual affair, which this year features the theme “Realizing Tomorrow's Potential,” invites guests of the event to “learn as much as they can” with three days of breakout sessions on topics ranging from cyber-security to pension and heath benefit reform.

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Sustainable Jersey

This year's event featured a number of breakout sessions hosted by Sustainable Jersey, a nonprofit organization that plays an important role in fulfilling New Jersey's sustainability goals.

With 89% of New Jersey's population living in a Sustainable Jersey certified municipality, the organization encourages communities to pursue sustainability programs in an effort to reduce waste, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and improve environmental equality.

There's a financial and recognition component woven in, too, as actions taken by a municipality are tracked, tallied, and submitted for points towards bronze, silver or gold certifications and access to grants and financial incentives to support other sustainability projects.

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Who Was There & What Was The Agenda?

The guest list was stacked with elected officials as a mix of Mayors and Council Members came together with employees of cities, states, towns, and boroughs for three days of intensive meetings, workshops and networking events.

On the third day of the event, guests made their way to a corner of the fourth-floor meeting space at the Atlantic City Convention Center where Sustainable Jersey hosted a breakout session focused on ways to conduct effective outreach of energy efficiency programs.

Our Session

Summit Mayor Nora Radest presided over the session and was one of several panelists who underwent a Ciel Home Energy Assessment.  Summit-based Hometowne TV lent its efforts to the Mayor's home energy audit with coverage of the event on the inaugural episode of “See You Around Town.”

Panelists

Beth Lovejoy, Chairperson of the Summit Environmental Commission and Christine Symington, Program Director of Sustainable Princeton joined the group of panelists to discuss the City of Summit's Home Energy Insight Program and Princeton's EnergySmart Homes program.

Michael Thulen from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Tony O'Donnell, an Economist with Sustainable Jersey, and Scott Fischer, Managing Member of Ciel Power LLC rounded out the panel of speakers.

Introduction

The presentation started at 9:00 A.M. with Summit Mayor Nora Radest welcoming attendees and introducing the morning's first speaker Tony O'Donnell, an Economist at Sustainable Jersey.

Performance Statistics

O'Donnell quickly set the tone for the meeting, citing statistics that showed a 6.8 fold average increase in household participation in New Jersey's Home Performance with Energy Star Incentive program for municipalities that engaged the Sustainable Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Municipal Program Action Item.

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To obtain these numbers, Sustainable Jersey compared NJHPwES participation rates for two years leading up to the launch of the municipal outreach program against participation rates that occurring while the municipal energy efficiency outreach campaign was underway.

The specific municipalities included Glen Rock, Highland Park, Millburn, Princeton, Watchung, and Woodbridge, New Jersey, each current or former outreach programs administered by Ciel Power LLC.

Ours & Other NJ Clean Energy Incentive Programs

Michael Thulen, ESIP Coordinator for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities addressed the crowd next offering an overview of the wide assortment of energy efficiency incentive programs available through New Jersey's Clean Energy program including:

Summit

Shortly after Mike's remarks, Beth Lovejoy, Chairperson of Summit's Environmental Commission, and Scott Fischer, Managing Member of Ciel Power LLC recounted their efforts behind the creation of Summit's Home Energy Insight program, a residential energy efficiency outreach program designed to promote awareness and participation in New Jersey's Home Performance with Energy Star program.

Program Benefits:

  • A single, vetted, municipally-endorsed provider
  • A highly-discounted rate for home energy audits
  • Comprehensive safety household safety testing
  • A strong likelihood of improved comfort & energy efficiency upon the completion of the project
  • Cash-back and financing incentives available to help offset the cost of the recommended upgrades.

A Personal Note

Beth Lovejoy interrupted her remarks for a moment saying;

"I'm taking off my Summit Environmental Chairperson hat and putting on my homeowner hat.”

to indicate that the upcoming remarks were not being offered as a representative of Summit, but rather a non-official capacity.  She continued;

“My personal experience with everyone on the Ciel team was very positive. There were three rooms in my home that were always very cold during the winter.” She said, “John, my Ciel Home Energy Auditor, used blower door testing and another device that shows temperature as color [an infra-red camera] to figure out why.”
“We had Ciel install the work they recommended and these rooms have been much more comfortable since. During our project, Ciel's team arrived on-time, was very respectful of our home, and cleaned up after themselves at the end of each work day.”

Princeton

Later that morning, Christine Symington took the microphone to discuss the more than 175 home energy audits performed in Princeton as part of Sustainable Princeton's EnergySmart campaign.

More than 35 Princeton homeowners installed energy efficiency upgrades as part of this campaign.

A follow-up survey indicated the following reasons that residents of Princeton heeded the recommendations and installed upgrades:

  • Improve Home Comfort: 38%
  • Reduce Energy Use: 38%
  • Reduce Energy Bills 19%
  • Other 5%

Symington also indicated that the survey results obtained by Sustainable Princeton revealed that the incentives available through the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star program were an important reason for respondents to request a home energy audit and were an integral part of the program's success.

Madison Sustainability Event Brings Together Friends, Neighbors, Colleagues and Partners

Madison's Fall In Love with Sustainability; Cocktails, Community and Conversation Event Brought Together Sustainability Organizations from Summit, Morristown, Madison, and Chatham.

The Event

The seven original chandeliers in the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts glowed warmly last night as guests gathered to discuss sustainability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy under twenty foot high vaulted ceilings and hand painted brick walls that make up the nearly 120 year former public library.

The home energy audit provider for the Borough of Madison's Home Energy Assessment program, Ciel Power LLC, co-sponsored the event along with Green House Solar, a Madison based solar provider.

Guests of the event entitled; Fall In Love with Sustainability, Cocktails, Community and Conversation enjoyed a selection of artisanal cheeses produced in small batches from Valley Shepherd Creamery, and wines from Montinore Estate, a Demeter Certified Biodynamic and Stellar Certified Organic vineyard located in Willamette Valley, Oregon.

Guests

Homeowners, neighbors, friends and representatives of local environmental groups including Madison, Chatham, Summit and Morristown were in attendance along with members of the media and elected officials who caught up with one another around one of the museum's three cozy fireplaces.

Agenda & Presenters

The evening honored sustainability programs happening in Madison and surrounding communities. Featured speakers included Tobiah 'Toby' Horton, an Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture with Rutgers Cooperative Extension and Rutgers University.

In addition to his role as a teacher, researcher, and landscape designer, Toby discussed his role in the design and construction of rain gardens located at the Summit Municipal Building and the Summit Free Public Library.

Guests of the event gathered around a unique exhibit of plans and designs for the Summit Rain Gardens, the focus of a recent walking tour hosted by Summit Mayor Nora Radest.

Madison resident and customer of Green House Solar, Guillaume Schmittheisler, shared the inspiration for his sustainable pursuits along with an update on the Madison Environmental Commission's three new work streams;

  • Lowering the volume of trash produced by Madison residents
  • Increasing the uptake of solar energy for residential and public spaces in town
  • Planting native plants and pollinator gardens in public and private spaces.

Venue

As guests wandered through the spacious and vibrant venue, they took in antique and unusual lighting devices such as tin-punched lanterns, whale oil lamps, and early carbon filament light bulbs on display as part of the museum's newest exhibit; SPARK! The Explosive and Dirty History of Light.

The exhibit follows the evolution of artificial light from a dangerous, dirty and sometimes explosive past to the safe and instantaneous forms of lighting we know today.

“It's amazing to get an opportunity to do something so ambitious in a space like this.” says Scott Fischer, Managing Member of Ciel Power LLC. “It's entirely coincidental, but very fitting,” says Scott, “the parallels between light's journey from a dirty and dangerous endeavor to the instant, safe, reliable, and comparably efficient system of lighting we know today directly parallels our transition to responsible energy consumption and cleaner, safer and efficient sources of energy.”

“It provokes wonder and awe,” says Scott. “It's a profound transition that overcame competing technologies, special interests, and deep rooted skepticism, much like the challenges we face today in our transition to alternative energy.”

Sponsor Information

Attendees received information during the event about New Jersey Clean Energy's Home Performance with Energy Star program. Administered by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the Home Performance with Energy Star program provides up to $4,000 worth of cash-back incentives and up to $15,000 worth of low-interest financing to install energy efficiency improvements to New Jersey homes.

Those in attendance also received information about installing solar panels from Frank Curran, President of Green House Solar.

Frank's remarks included information about Solar Renewable Energy Credits or SREC's, federal tax credits, environmental benefits, and local code requirements for the installation of residential solar systems.

2017 New Jersey Clean Energy Conference

Ciel Power LLC was proud to be in attendance at the 2017 New Jersey Clean Energy conference held at New Jersey Institute of Technology's Newark Campus.  The strong turnout at this event, a testament to the headway New Jersey has made in the area of energy efficiency.  The conference provided established program participants, stakeholders, and leadership in the field of energy conservation a platform to celebrate their successes.

In keeping with our continued commitment to develop, support and deliver energy conservation projects, we congratulate Princeton University along with the many other program participants, providers, and administrators who received awards for their contributions towards energy conservation. 

Experts discover innovative ways to reduce state's carbon footprint | Video | NJTV News

At 271 years young, Princeton University is New Jersey's oldest college, so it probably doesn't come to mind when you think of cutting-edge infrastructure. But, the campus is actually leading the state with its comprehensive clean energy programs and design. The college upgraded the heating and cooling system, replaced lighting and improved its aging building stock.

Members of the Ciel Power team were on hand for the event:

From left, Kevin Esposito, Ciel Power Program & Administrative Manager, Natalie Tocci, Ciel Power Home Performance Consultant, and Scott Fischer, Ciel Power Managing Member at the 2017 New Jersey Clean Energy Conference 

From left, Kevin Esposito, Ciel Power Program & Administrative Manager, Natalie Tocci, Ciel Power Home Performance Consultant, and Scott Fischer, Ciel Power Managing Member at the 2017 New Jersey Clean Energy Conference 

Consumer Reports Recommends; "Perform An Energy Audit"

In their recent article entitled "6 Ways to Save Money and Energy at Home," the independent nonprofit consumer organization Consumer Reports recommends having a home energy audit performed by a Building Performance Institute certified auditor.  

6 Ways to Save Money and Energy at Home

Whether your live in a 19th Century farmhouse or 1990s colonial, chances are you're leaving real money on the table each year in the form of excessive energy consumption. Here are ways to save money and energy at home.

Summit Residents Encouraged To Schedule Home Energy Audit

Scheduling a home energy audit is the best way to find out how your home is consuming energy and how the comfort and energy efficiency of your home can be improved.  

Residents of Summit, NJ receive discounted home energy audits by participating in Summit's Home Energy Insight program.

Residents of Summit, NJ receive discounted home energy audits by participating in Summit's Home Energy Insight program.

“With cooler weather approaching, now is a perfect time to schedule a home energy audit,” explains Radest. “My audit highlighted ways to reduce energy use in my home, and save money.”
— Summit Mayor Nora Radest

The City of Summit has partnered with Ciel to provide home energy audits to residents of Summit, New Jersey at a discounted rate.  Our team of certified technicians and consultants know how to detect energy wastage and they also know how to perform repairs, replacements, and upgrades that help homes become more comfortable and sustainable.  

Summit residents encouraged to schedule home energy audit

The City of Summit is encouraging Summit residents to sign up for a home energy audit from Ciel Power LLC and discover energy improvements to help save money and energy this fall. The Summit Home Energy Insight Program is offering...

Ciel Power LLC is a New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star participating provider, so the cost of installing many of the recommended upgrades may be substantially offset by up to $19,000 worth of financial incentives available through New Jersey's award-winning home improvement program.

To schedule a home energy audit, please contact us today or schedule online by clicking the button below.  We look forward to hearing from you.

2015/2016 Federal Energy Efficiency Tax Credit

2015/2016 Federal Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit

This previously expired tax credit was renewed retroactively in December of 2015 with the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act.  This recently renewed tax credit provides homeowners with a tax credit of up to $500 for energy efficiency improvements to their homes for installations performed retroactively in 2015 or installed during the 2016 calendar year.

This credit applies to energy efficiency improvements in the building envelope of existing homes and for the purchase of high-efficiency heating, cooling and water-heating equipment. Efficiency improvements or equipment must serve a dwelling in the United States that is owned and used by the taxpayer as a primary residence. The maximum tax credit for all improvements made in 2011 - 2016 is $500. The cap includes tax credits for any improvements made in any previous year. If a taxpayer claimed $500 or more of these tax credits in any previous year, any purchases made in 2011 - 2016 will be ineligible for a tax credit.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the following Building Envelope Improvements are included as part of the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit:


"Owners of existing homes may receive a tax credit worth 10% of the cost of upgrading the efficiency of the building's envelope. Installation (labor) costs are not included and the credit is capped at $500 for all improvements. To be eligible for the credit, the improvement must meet the prescriptive requirements established for it under the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (including supplements). The following improvements are eligible for the tax credit:

Insulation materials and systems designed to reduce a home's heat loss or gain
Exterior doors and windows (including skylights) --- no more than $200 in total credits can be claimed for windows in years 2006 - 2016 Equipment must meet version 6.0 Energy Star program requirements.
Pigmented metal roofs designed to reduce heat gain, and asphalt roofs with appropriate cooling granules, which are Energy Star certified.

Heating, Cooling and Water-Heating Equipment
Taxpayers who purchase qualified residential energy-efficient property may eligible for a tax credit. The credit is equal to the full cost of the equipment up to the following caps:

Advanced main air circulating fan: $50
Natural gas, propane, or oil furnace or hot water boiler with an annual fuel utilization rate of 95 or greater: $150
Electric heat pump water heater with an energy factor of at least 2.0: $300
Electric heat pump which achieves the highest efficiency tier established by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency: $300
Central air conditioner which achieves the highest efficiency tier established by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency: $300
Natural gas, propane, or oil water heater which has either an energy factor of at least 0.82 or a thermal efficiency of at least 90 percent: $300
Biomass stoves that use "plant-derived fuel available on a renewable or recurring basis, including agricultural crops and trees, wood and wood waste and residues (including wood pellets), plants (including aquatic plants), grasses, residues, and fibers". Systems must have a thermal efficiency rating of at least 75 percent to qualify: $300"

For Additional information on the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit please visit the following websites:

http://www.dsireusa.org/

http://energy.gov/savings/residential-energy-efficiency-tax-credit

http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits

 

Glen Rock's Sustainable Jersey Bronze Certification

Glen Rock, New Jersey has a particularly inspiring Environmental Commission comprised of seven volunteer residents, each appointed by the Mayor.  The commission engages in a wide variety of initiatives and has achieved success in most of their endeavors much to the benefit of the broader community they serve.  

At this month's GREC meeting,  Mayor John Van Keuren and Mayor Elect Bruce Packer were both on-hand to celebrate Glen Rock's recent Sustainable Jersey's Bronze Level Certification award.   

We're inspired by the efforts of this group, and we're honored to have played a small role in the borough's sustainability certification with our joint home energy audit partnership.  We'd like to extend a special thank you to Paul Sharer and Andy Curshen who each announced their retirement from the commission.  We congratulate Glen Rock on their award and we wish the outgoing Mayor and retiring GREC Members well in their future endeavors.


National Energy Awareness Month; Home Energy Audit

A home energy audit brings together information about each of your home's systems in one easy-to-understand report.  In just a few hours you'll have a comprehensive overview of each of your home's systems and clear understanding of how deficiencies in each of these systems may impact other systems in your home.  Use what you've learned to make better decisions about your home.  A home energy audit report deciphers the data collected during your home energy audit into actionable insight that can improve the comfort, safety, durability, and energy-efficiency of your home.

Inside Kathy Leventhal's Home Energy Audit: How The Deputy Mayor of Maplewood, New Jersey Utilized the Home Performance with Energy Star Program

Host to one of the state's biggest and most well-attended Earth Day events, Maplewood, New Jersey is a hotbed of sustainability in Northern New Jersey.  The efforts of Maplewood's local Green Team brought Maplewood to the forefront of New Jersey's sustainability initiative after winning the state's most prestigious Sustainability Certification; Sustainable Jersey's Silver Certification. 

Maplewood's sustainability efforts have proven to be infectious, drawing in surrounding communities and leading to ground-breaking communal partnerships with neighboring municipalities.  Banding together with nearby communities brought additional resources, vision, and motivation to the combined groups, leading to the creation of the Essex Community Energy program.  

The Essex Community Energy program, a combined effort of Green Teams from Maplewood, South Orange, Millburn, and Irvington, seeks to maximize awareness of energy efficiency incentive programs, including the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star program, available to residents of their communities by streamlining and simplifying the process for local residents.

"Our mission is to help our neighbors reduce their carbon footprint by learning about energy audits and the programs out there to help them get it done." says Tracey Woods, chair of the Maplewood Green Team.  

Deputy Mayor, Kathy Leventhal, a Maplewood Green Team Member, recently utilized the program's resources on her own home, and took the time to discuss her experience in this Maplewoodian.com blog post:



National Energy Awareness Month; Spotlight on the 2105/2016 New Jersey Energy Efficiency Incentive Program

Finding ways to improve the comfort and energy-efficiency of your home isn't easy, but it helps to have one of the country's best incentive programs available to help pay for the upgrades.  Earlier this year in New Jersey, the New Jersey Clean Energy program and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities announced new incentives available through the 2015/2016 New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star program for the installation of insulation, heating equipment, air-conditioning equipment, and hot-water heating equipment.  

Simple and straightforward, the program covers all of the systems in your home that contribute towards comfort issues and excessive energy bills.  A broad range of eligible measures make it easy to tailor the program to cover the unique needs of your home.  

Why Highland Park's Smart Home Campaign Is a Cold-Weather Win

If residential energy-efficiency campaigns were a sport unto themselves, Highland Park, New Jersey not only set the benchmark for the sport's most successful campaign, but they invented the game that has become widely known as one of the most successful residential energy-efficiency campaign platforms in New Jersey's history.  The model has taken off across the state, but instead of resting on their laurels, Highland Park has relaunched version 2.0 of its home energy audit program in an effort to best its own record, still standing as New Jersey's highest percentage participation in a municipal program.

Highland Park launched version 2.0 of its spirited campaign in the most recent edition of the Highland Park News, with Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler and Borough Council President Susan Welkovits discussing plans for the campaign's fall launch.  In spite of the efforts to best itself, Highland Park retained its core offerings of a reduced-price home energy audit and an introductory letter written by Highland Park's Mayor; Gayle Brill Mittler to kick off the campaign.  With a new look and a new name, version 2.0 of Highland Park's home energy assessment campaign, dubbed "Smart Home Energy Efficiency," promises to arrive just in time for the cold and wintry days ahead.

For additional information on the campaign, visit www.cielpower.com/highlandpark or call 201-632-3463.

 

Highland Park's Smart Home Energy Efficiency home energy audit campaign kick off is featured in the Highland Park News

Woodbridge Is Turning Up It's Fall 2015 Energy Audit Campaign

The Fall 2015 edition of The Woodbridge News saw a featured story highlighting the many benefits of the Greenable Woodbridge Home Energy Assessment program.  The many benefits of this program include reduced pricing on home energy audits, the availability of up to $19,000 worth of incentives being offered through New Jersey Clean Energy's Home Performance with Energy Star incentive program, and a prioritized listing of prescriptive energy-efficiency upgrades that, when installed, will dramatically improve comfort and reduce monthly energy consumption.

The Fall 2015 issue of The Woodbridge News features the Greenable Woodbridge Home Energy Assessment program.

For those familiar with the benefits of the NJ Home Performance with Energy Star program - up to $4,000 cash-back rebates, up to $15,000 worth of zero/low interest financing, and up to a 30 percent reduction in household energy consumption - the joint partnership between Ciel & the Township of Woodbridge seems like a case study on how to install today's energy-efficiency standards in older homes.

The program, available to residents of Avenel, Colonia, Fords, Iselin, Port Reading, Sewaren, Woodbridge Proper, Keasbey, and Menlo Park offers a comprehensive Ciel Home Energy Audit for a reduced rate of $49. 

To schedule a Greenable Woodbridge Home Energy Audit, visit www.cielpower.com/woodbridge or call 201-632-3463

Consumer Reports Magazine Discusses the Energy Star program and Home Energy Audits

"Putting your home through a comprehensive energy assessment is one of the best ways to lower bills. Also known as an energy audit, the process involves a trained professional using infrared cameras, blower doors, and other high-tech equipment to pinpoint every source of energy loss in your home." Consumer Reports Magazine

2015/2016 New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Incentives

The 2015/2016 New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star incentive program continues to provide cash-back and financing incentives for energy efficiency upgrades to New Jersey homeowners.  The program kicks off a new fiscal year effective July 1st 2015 with a suite of new incentive offerings including up to $4,000 in cash-back incentives and up to $15,000 in incentive financing!

Ciel Magazine Summer 2015 Volume 1

We're excited to announce the first issue of Ciel Magazine, a digital magazine that focuses on important topics related to energy efficiency, sustainability, social causes, and news about Ciel Power LLC.  

 Our inaugural issue of Ciel features highlights from a recent home energy efficiency upgrade in Glen Rock, New Jersey. A Millburn, New Jersey homeowner who discusses how their recent participation in Millburn's Home Energy Assessment program and the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star program contributed to their significantly more comfortable home, and we feature highlights of a recently televised home energy audit in Woodbridge, New Jersey.

The Interview: A Conversation With A New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Customer

How does someone go about participating in the Home Performance with Energy Star program?  In this episode of Greenable Woodbridge, host Caroline Ehrlich talks with Denise Fishman, a Woodbridge New Jersey resident who recently completed a New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star project.

Learn how Denise received thousands of dollars worth of cash incentives and a $10,000 zero interest loan to make upgrades to her home.

Listen to Denise's full interview with Caroline Ehrlich here:

New Jersey Clean Energy Program Receives National Recognition

We congratulate New Jersey's Clean Energy Program on their

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2015 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award.

Sustained Excellence Awards are given to a select group of organizations that have exhibited outstanding leadership year after year. These winners have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by setting and achieving aggressive goals, and employing innovative energy efficiency approaches.

We are honored to be a participating provider of the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Program which is part of New Jersey's nationally recognized Clean Energy Program. We extend our congratulations to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and to everyone else who contributed to the success of this fantastic program!

New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program provides financial and other incentives to the state’s residential customers, businesses and local governments that install high-efficiency or renewable energy technologies. These programs are administered by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.  

New Jersey's Clean Energy Program Receives National Recognition - New Jersey Business Magazine

Glen Rock Energy Audit Program Continues

We were thrilled to see today's article in the Glen Rock Gazette newspaper highlighting the success of the "Energy Smart Rock Homes" Home Energy Audit program!  We've worked hard to deliver a comprehensive home energy audit program to Glen Rock residents, and we're really glad to have the support of this wonderful community!

Highlights:

  • More than 125 Glen Rock homeowners have now utilized discounted home energy audits under the borough-approved "Energy Smart Rock Homes" program
  • Of that number, 22 have proceeded with improvements recommended by the audit reports, utilizing up to $5,000 in incentive rebates and up to $10,000 in zero-interest financing available through the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star program.
  • Incentives can be applied to replace outdated furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and insulation with new and more energy-efficient products.
  • Initial audits — which cost residents $49 compared with commercial charges typically as high as $300 — have been underway for about a year

Glen Rock energy audit program continues