Center for Working Families

GJGNY, how ya doin’?

Issue #7: August 9, 2012

So watt is new with Green Jobs/Green NY? The Center for Working Families’ view is that things are going well, despite a warm winter and lower gas prices. Here are our top observations six months after on-bill financing began on January 30th.

GJGNY’s free and low-cost energy assessments are paying off **Nearly 40% conversion**
Nearly 40 percent of New Yorkers who get a home energy assessment sign up for a retrofit. That’s the “conversion rate,” and it’s a key measure of an energy efficiency program’s effectiveness.

The good news: GJGNY’s conversion rate meets or exceeds the standards set by reputable programs across the country. That’s even more remarkable considering that GJGNY customers are working and middle-income homeowners who lack cash to pay upfront.

The next step? NYSERDA should follow up with homeowners who had an energy assessment but didn’t go forward with a retrofit to pin down why. Community based organizations can help NYSERDA understand why some homeowners are hesitating.

New Yorkers are getting more and better retrofits **7 of 10 use GJGNY**
In 2011, about four in 10 homeowners doing retrofits benefited from GJGNY’s free or low-cost home energy assessments or financing, but now nearly seven in 10 do.Those GJGNY customers aren’t just changing light bulbs. Largely because of the program’s affordable financing options, they’re signing up for big-ticket items like heating system upgrades. The result: more energy savings for homeowners and more work for energy efficiency businesses.

The next step? Boost state grant funding for homeowners who must do work before a retrofit, such as roof repairs or lead and asbestos removal. That would allow more New Yorkers to take advantage of GJGNY upgrades.

Community-business partnerships support decent jobs  **$24 an hour**
In three regions, energy-efficiency businesses committed to hire locally, pay higher wages and provide real career opportunities. In return, local community groups assist with customer outreach. It’s working. In Syracuse, for example, the average GJGNY hourly wage is $17/hour including benefits. In Long Island, it’s $24/hour.

The next step? Adopt state-wide job standards to ensure that every GJGNY worker gets decent wages and benefits. Hire locally and give employees a career path for advancement.

More New Yorkers want to use on-bill recovery to pay for retrofits **983 applications**
Demand for GJGNY’s innovative financing mechanism, on-bill recovery, is increasing. May and June were the top two months in applications received — 223 and 193 respectively. Altogether, homeowners have submitted 983 on-bill applications since January 30th.

The next step? NYSERDA is looking hard at ways to promote on-bill and other financing so more homeowners can benefit from a GJGNY upgrade. It must make sure that lower-income customers can take advantage of these options.

New Yorkers are making their homes safer, saving money and helping the environment  **48,169 barrels**
GJGNY home energy assessments uncover hazards like gas leaks and mold. The retrofits also reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, retrofits done through March 31, 2012 will reduce emissions by more than 19,000 tons per year. That’s like taking 4,061 passenger vehicles off the road or saving 48,169 barrels of oil.

This issue of Watt’s New? was prepared by Anthony Ng, Stephan Edel, Chloe Tribich and Joseph Rappaport of the Center for Working Families.

Creating Jobs ● Saving Money ● Conserving Energy
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The Center for Working Families creates and implements innovative policy ideas to improve the lives of working and low income New Yorkers.

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