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March 4, 2013

Workshops to focus on energy efficiency

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — A series of local workshops will help area residents make their homes or offices more energy-efficient, according to a media release from Otsego County. 

The Home Performance with Energy Star program offered through the state Energy and Research Development Authority will pair educational seminars with funding streams to help participants complete upgrades or repairs to their homes or businesses. 

“We can help people make their homes cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, while saving money on their utility bills,” Euphemia Martin, the program’s Regional Outreach Coordinator for the Southern Tier, said in a media release. “And people often find that their health improves after they make energy-saving improvements to their homes, because ventilation problems, gas leaks, mold and mildew are also taken care of in the process.”

The Otsego County Planning Department, in partnership with Otsego County Conservation Association OCCA, Opportunities for Otsego, and Sustainable Otsego, have teamed up to bring the program to the area for a series of workshops.

To help people afford energy-saving improvements to their homes, NYSERDA offers financing that eliminates up-front costs for most homeowners. Grants of up to $5,000 are available for qualified homeowners, and the On-Bill Repayment loan allows people to repay their low-interest loan as a line item on their utility bill.

“If you tighten up your house, less heat will be lost, and you will save money on heating costs,” Martha Clarvoe of OCCA said in the release. “NYSERDA has funding to help do this for many homes in Otsego County.”

The workshop series will kick off Saturday in the Butternut Valley Room at SUNY Oneonta’s Hunt Union. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., outreach coordinators will guide people through the process of applying for NYSERDA incentives, and local BPI-accredited contractors will demonstrate some of the techniques they use to assess a home’s energy efficiency. Homeowners who are interested in applying can do so at the workshop; they just need to bring a copy of their most recent utility bill.

Additional workshops are scheduled as follows: 

Wednesday, March 20, 4 to 7 p.m., Cherry Valley Community Center, 2 Genesee St.

Wednesday, April 10, 4 to 7 p.m., Morris Central School Auditorium, 65 W. Main St.

Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Edmeston Central School Auditorium, 11 North St.

Additional dates are planned through the summer, at locations to be announced. 

For more information about the workshops, or to get an application for a free energy assessment, call 723-0110 or email Those who wish to attend may register at