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New York Town Gets Block Grant at ‘Perfect’ Time

January 20, 2010 - 3:23pm


A couple of years ago, the town of Colonie, N.Y., was faced with high energy bills when electric and natural gas prices spiked. The upstate New York town set up a committee to explore ways to save energy. They decided it was time to perform facility upgrades, and an energy audit showed the retrofits would be budget-neutral in the long run — unfortunately, the town couldn’t afford the upfront costs. Until, that is, the Recovery Act passed last year. The town has been awarded an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant for $661,900 in stimulus funds.

“The stimulus dollars will help us make some changes that will save energy and money,” Doug Sippel, the town’s general services director, says. In fact, the town estimates the savings will add up to $447,547 in just 15 years.

The projects for which the money was awarded include the retrofitting of four heating and cooling units atop the town library and of a boiler at the community center. Not only will these retrofits save the town — and therefore taxpayers — some money, but the town estimates that about 11 jobs will be created during the process.

“We were at the point of trying to decide what to do because we couldn’t afford to pay for the upgrades upfront,” Doug says. “When the stimulus came along, these were the most promising projects we could do for our infrastructure, so the timing was perfect.”

The town plans to complete the projects sometime early this summer.