Posts Tagged ‘walden’

A Locally Grown Energy Upgrade

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

By Shawn Dell Joyce
Elizabeth and John Capello signed up for the Ten Percent Challenge last summer, and decided to retrofit their historic Walden home with energy efficiency upgrades. The Capellos started off by having a home energy audit performed by the Regional Economic Community Action Program (RECAP), based in Middletown. The RECAP auditor made several suggestions that would reduce the Capellos’ energy use and utility bills by 10 percent or more this year.

The main suggestion was to reinsulate their attic, insulate the basement and floors, and upgrade the lighting. The Capellos decided to follow through with all the auditor’s suggestions and have RECAP perform the upgrades. A modest investment, and a few months later, the work was done and the savings began to show.

Elizabeth says that her home “feels warmer and more comfortable” with the thicker insulation. John agrees, adding that it’s safer as well since many of the upgrades improved the electrical usage and reduced the heat output of lighting and home heating. Additionally, the Capellos increased the value of their home, and lowered their monthly utility bills.

According to their recent bill from New York State Electric & Gas Co., the Capellos used four fewer kilowatt hours of electricity and three fewer therms of natural gas, much more than the initial 10 percent goal they set for their home by signing up for the Ten Percent Challenge. If you would like to save money and improve your home’s efficiency, you can sign up today, March 8, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Walden Village Hall, 3rd Floor, 1 Municipal Square, Walden.

Bring your past utility bills, or a 12-month summary of electric and heating use for a Home Energy Makeover, and become part of a county-wide effort to reduce energy use (and costs) by 10 percent or more this year.

If you are looking towards renewable energy systems to reduce operating costs, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers significant incentives for solar panels (photovoltaic), small wind and solar thermal systems, and a new program that allows you to finance the efficiency upgrades and renewable energy systems through your utility bill. That means the cost of owning a solar hot water system is financed at a very low rate and deducted from the energy savings on your bill. You don’t notice the added expense because it’s financed to be less than the energy savings. Your bill doesn’t increase but your energy efficiency does.

These programs and incentives don’t last long, so come to the Home Energy Makeover to learn how to take advantage of them now. If you have questions, contact Meridith Nierenberg, at Mid-Hudson Energy $mart Communities, or 845-331-2238, or the Ten Percent Challenge at or on facebook/MontgomeryTenPercent.

Shawn Dell Joyce is the director of the Wallkill River School in Montgomery.

Walden’s Library Takes 10% Challenge

Friday, November 4th, 2011

By Shawn Dell Joyce
Josephine-Louise Public Library in Walden signed on for the Ten Percent Challenge and is taking measures to reduce its energy usage by 10 percent. Director Ginny Neidermier describes the library’s motivation as mainly to replace many of the old windows in the building. “For a very long time we knew the windows on the first and second floors, and the balcony doors of the second floor had to be addressed. Due to the deterioration of the wood, many of these windows and doors either failed to open or close securely, rendering them essentially useless, and causing significant energy loss.”

Neidermier notes that “as the windows began to deteriorate, it became difficult to keep them open, and they certainly were not air tight. Storm windows were old, with some storms missing. During winter months or cases of extreme wind, the windows and doors would offer their seasonal rattle!  Every year we would get out our duck tape and try and seal the spaces! Needless to say, there was significant heat loss. A NYSERDA audit was completed around 2008 with recommendations and proposals for the Municipal Building. As with everything else, it would cost the Village money that simply was not there.”

Many municipalities face the same budget crisis that the library has: They would like to replace old windows and be more efficient, but efficiency costs more upfront and pays for itself over time. Right now, NYSERDA is offering free and reduced-rate audits for municipalities but will be doing away with this program within the month. Municipalities have to move quickly to take advantage of the free audit incentive before it expires this year. Sustainable Montgomery has a link to the audit application on their website at

Neidermier is very resourceful and community-minded. She and her staff were able to find a way to replace the windows in the public library without having to raise community taxes. The library filed for a matching grant through the Division of Library Development. The library shares the Municipal Building with the Police Department and the village offices. The grant funds were only available for the library portion of the building. The municipality is already looking for ways to fund changing windows, fluorescent fixtures and other energy leaks in the rest of the building.

The project for window replacement and restoration is almost complete, and Neidermier is tabulating the results of their efforts using this season’s upcoming heating bills, and reducing the use of air conditioning in milder weather. Neidermier says, “We are hopeful the reduction will be more than 10 percent. However, we have already experienced a difference. The drafts from the windows and doors from past years are non-existent, as well as the “street noise.” The windows are also treated with a “uv ray” coating, protecting some of the book collection from long-term sun damage.”

For Josephine-Louise Public Library the Ten Percent Challenge has been a win/win situation. Neidermier says, “It seemed a natural fit to sign on. This year we have applied for the same matching grant from the Division of Library Development and are currently waiting on the final outcome of funding. The goal of this project is to upgrade some of the electric and plumbing on the first floor library, making energy improvements where possible and allowing more efficient use of water and conservation.”

Shawn Dell Joyce is the director of the Wallkill River School in Montgomery, a benchmark business in the Ten Percent Challenge.