Thursday, September 10, 2015

Energy Efficiency


Energy Efficiency

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® makes it easy for you to save energy at home! Take control of your energy use and make your home more comfortable year-round. Here’s a great way to do it — with support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in six simple steps.

1. Get assessed - Have a comprehensive home energy assessment performed by a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor. In addition to measuring your home's energy performance, an expert will conduct important health and safety tests to ensure major combustion appliances are operating properly. For most New Yorkers, the home assessment is free. Available on 1-4 unit homes.
  1. Get the assessment application.
  2. Check your income eligibility for free vs. reduced-cost.
  3. Watch a video overview of an assessment in action.
  4. Choose a participating BPI-accredited Home Performance Contractor.

2. Paying for the work - If you don’t have the cash on hand, NYSERDA offers low-interest loans, incentives and assisted subsidies to help you pay for work. Learn about financing, subsidies and incentives.
3. Get approved - Receive loan status notification and return the signed loan documents. For more information, visit
Energy Finance Solutions.
 4. Upgrade - Have a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor implement the upgrades described in your Scope of Work. NYSERDA may inspect the work to verify its quality.







From Affordable Housing Partnership in Albany

5. Test-out and earn incentives - When your energy upgrades are finished, your contractor will repeat the tests conducted during the initial assessment. Upon test-out and acceptance of work you and your contractor will sign a Certificate of Completion, which is submitted to NYSERDA Your lender will then make payment to your contractor. You can also enjoy other incentives like 10 percent cash back on eligible upgrades (PDF).

Troy Charter Review Commission

Troy Charter Review Commission Makes Recommendations

 Voters Decide on Election Day 

September 01, 2015

Contact: John Salka, Deputy Director of Public Information, (518) 279-7131

TROY NY – Mayor Lou Rosamilia announced today that after an eight-month effort the Troy City Charter Commission has completed a set of sweeping recommendations to the city’s governing document that will go before voters in the November general election.

“The final recommendations made by the Charter Review Commission represents significant improvements to our city’s governing document, proposing necessary changes to ensure future effectiveness and efficiency” said Mayor Rosamilia. “I want to thank Commission Chairman Ian Silverman and the rest of the commission members for their service and I urge voters to support these changes during the election this fall.”

“The Charter that the Commission is putting before the voters this November is the product of eight months of hard work from a diverse non-partisan group of citizens.  I am proud to be a part of this group and of the final Charter that we have produced,” said Charter Commission chairman Ian Silverman. “I believe the new Charter provides a more concise and efficient guiding document for our City’s governance. I encourage everyone to go to to read the document and the executive summary for themselves and to vote yes on the new City Charter November 3.”

Among its numerous provisions, the new charter, the first such major overhaul in decades, would:

• Reduce the size of the City Council from 9 to 7

• Provide for the first time the direct election of the Council president

• Merge several departments into a Department of General Services to improve efficiency of services, personnel management and fiscal oversight

• Provide for creation of an independent, bipartisan Redistricting Commission to avoid gerrymandering of election districts

• Add or upgrade minimum qualifications for certain professional positions

• Eliminate large amounts of outdated or redundant material

The Commission is a nine-member, nonpartisan panel of Troy residents working without financial compensation. Five members were selected by Mayor Rosamilia and four members were selected by members of the City Council. All of its working sessions have been open to the public. The commission is chaired by Ian Silverman, the city’s corporation counsel. Other members are vice chairman Kevin Glasheen, William M. Dowd, Jill Nagy, Patrick Morphy, Flora Carr, Pat Madden, Kevin Vandenbergh, and Council member Kenneth Zalewski.

The General Election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 3, 2015.

The full text of the proposed Charter and an accompanying executive summary are available on, the city’s official website.

Proposed Charter for the City of Troy, NY - 2015

Troy City Charter Commission Executive Summary 2015

Savings Tip

money-icon.gifSavings Tips   

As the weather chills, bites will be taken from our pocketbooks with increased energy costs and upcoming holiday expenses.

Put a savings plan together now!  Check your utility bills to see your usage, past and present.  Aim to lower those bills by implementing some of the following tips from National Grid. 

Energy saving tips

Save energy, Save money with the top 10 electricity and gas safety tips.

1  Replace five lights with ENERGY STAR® light bulbs and save 62 kwh for a total savings of $9 per month. 
2 Turn off lights, appliances, TVs, stereos and computers when not in use. You will save 58 kwh and $9 per month.
3 If you have a large television (greater than 32"), turn it off when not watching. You can save 50 kwh and $8 per month.
4 Unplug your electric space heater or hot tub and save $41 (or 270 kwh) per month.
5 Unplug and recycle your old, second refrigerator and you can save $23 (150 kwh) per month.
6 Washing your clothes in cold water can save you 63 kwh—or $9 per month.
7 Repair leaky faucets and save on your electric hot water. You can save 40 kwh or $6 per month.
8 Unplug chargers, laptops, anything with remote control or "instant on" features and save $4 (29 kwh) per month.
9 On your electric dryer: clean the dryer filter, and clean and straighten the exhaust hose/duct and vent outside. You will save 23kwh—or $3 per month.
10 When buying new appliances, always choose ENERGY STAR. This can save you 75 kwh—or $11 per month.


Remember, savings will vary significantly from home to home. Data based on 500 kwh monthly residential usage at 15 cents per kwh per month.

Top Natural Gas Saving Tips
1 Tune up your furnace to save $8.80 a month, or replace an 80% efficient furnace with one 90% efficient or more and save $30.80 a month.
2  Install a programmable thermostat, lowering the setting 6−8° at night and when no one’s home, and save $16.50 a month.
3  Caulk and weather-strip to keep warm air indoors and save $13.20 a month.
4  Dry only full loads of laundry and save $6.60 a month.
5  Lower your water heater setting to 120° F and save $8.80 a month.
6  Choose an energy-efficient hot water tank when replacing an older one and save $6.60 a month.
7  Insulate walls, ceilings and windows where you can and save $16.50 a month.
8  Choose energy-efficient windows when you need to replace them and save $28.60 a month.
9  Always choose ENERGY STAR®-qualified appliances and save $24.20 a month.

Thank You Joe!

A Hearty Thanks to Joe Fama

Joe Fama
Almost synonymous with TAP (Troy Architectural Program) is the name of its founder and long-time executive director, Joe Fama. Joe's passion for historic architecture made Troy the perfect home for him. He moved here to attend RPI in 1966 and never left.  
For almost 50 years Joe has been a stalwart supporter and cheerleader of Troy, both personally and in his leadership role at TAP.
Since creating TAP in 1969, TAP has restored countless buildings and streetscapes throughout the Capital Region, improving the look and feel of many communities. A man of strong opinions and creative ideas, he has provided assistance to hundreds of organizations and residents on issues such as code and zoning regulations, historic preservation, community stabilization and much, much more.    

TAP has partnered with TRIP  on many projects, including the substantial rehabilitation and energy upgrades of the School 10 Apartments, rehab/stabilization and/or architectural drawings of many other buildings, community planning initiatives, the Troy Vacant Properties Workgroup; the list goes on. TRIP was proud to bestow upon Joe its TRIP & RCHR Community Citizenship Award in 2011.  

So what's next for Joe Fama? 

According to Joe, "After 43 years, it is clearly time to step aside. I do not plan to take a new full time job, to move anywhere else, or to do anything wildly different. I hope to continue to work with the same wonderful people on the same social justice issues. I just want fewer responsibilities and a shorter work week. It will be exciting to watch TAP, led by Barbara Nelson (TAP's newest executive director as of October 1st) add new services and skills to its program."  
We are so glad that Troy will continue to benefit from your wisdom, experience, and humor, Joe.  We look forward to seeing - and perhaps working with -- you on important community projects. 

Congratulations to Joe for your decades of commitment to Troy and the area.  And we offer a warm welcome and congratulations to Barb Nelson as she becomes TAP's executive director as of October 1st.  We look forward to working with you in your new position, Barb!

Fall Maintenance

Autumn Maintenance For Your Home

By Staff writer State Farm™

As the leaves change and the days get shorter, take the time this autumn to prepare for the oncoming cold weather. Ready the furnace for the months of work it will have ahead, and clean out the fireplace. Test them both to ensure they’ll be working when you need the heat. Don’t wait until it’s snowing to clear out your gutters. With upkeep in the fall, you’ll have peace of mind in the winter and more time to hibernate.

Inside The House

Heating System Checkup

Be sure to change the air filter in your furnace and check its efficiency before the cold weather begins. Call in an HVAC contractor to test the heating output and give the system a tune-up. This technician can also check for and correct possibly hazardous carbon monoxide levels generated by your heating system. Stock up on several air filters for the winter, and change them every month. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, purchase one for the system to help lower your energy costs.
After your furnace has been tuned up to its maximum efficiency, take a moment to inspect your heating ducts and vents. Dust them off and clear away anything that may have gotten into them over the summer. Then check your windows for any leaks that may compromise your heating efficiency. If you feel cold air coming in, purchase a plastic sealing kit from the hardware store and place the plastic around the window to keep the heat from escaping. Be sure to check your doors as well, and fix their weather-stripping if needed.

Check The Fireplace And Chimney

Most chimney sweeps recommend an annual sweeping, but depending on how often you use the fireplace, you might be able to wait on a full sweep. But if you will be using the fireplace often, call a chimney sweep for an inspection. For further information, read the Chimney and Woodburning Fireplace Safety guide.
Hopefully you will have your older, seasoned firewood now ready for use after sitting for the spring and summer. It’s recommended to keep the firewood at least 30 feet from the house and covered. Seasoned wood is best for fires, as it burns cleaner and longer.

Review Home Fire Safety

The introduction of the heating season brings new potential for fire hazards, so take a moment to review fire safety in your home. Check and replace fire extinguishers if necessary, and change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Also go over the home fire evacuation plan with your family.

Outside The House

The Gutters

It’s best to inspect and clean the gutters a few times during the fall, especially if there are many leafy trees around your house. If gutters remain clogged, water will spill over them and onto the ground next to the foundation, which may cause damage to the foundation. Gutters and downspouts should be kept clean and should direct water away from the foundation, as well as from walkways and driveways, so that they do not become slippery or icy.

Yard Maintenance

The orange, yellow, and brown colors of the autumn leaves don’t look as nice on the ground as they do on the trees. Rake the leaves into piles and scoop them into yard waste bags. Most areas have ordinances about burning leaves, so check with your local area government first. When sweeping the leaves off your patio, don’t forget to clean, pack up, and store any patio furniture for the winter. Disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the section of pipe just inside the house.

In The Garage

It is recommended that you empty out unused fuel from any gas-powered equipment stored in the garage, such as a lawnmower, because sediment can build up and clog the fuel lines. Store gasoline in tanks out of children’s reach and have it ready for use in your snowblower or emergency generator, if need be.

Test Your Emergency Generator

It’s a good idea to have an emergency generator if you live in an area that sees a lot of ice storms, as these are a major cause of blackouts during the winter. So if you have one, haul it out and give it a test run to see if it is in good working order. Make sure you never run the generator in any enclosed space – like your garage – as it will present a carbon monoxide hazard.