The “Prevailing Wage” Bill; Assembly bill A.1261 (Bronson) Same as Senate bill: S.1947 (Ramos)

This proposed legislation changes the definition of public work to which certain labor provision, including the use of prevailing wage, apply. The bills broaden the definition of public work and of public funds to cover construction projects (broadly defined) receiving even partial financing from a state program. The legislation as proposed contains several exemptions (see below for exact text of exemptions), including one for single family homes. The exemptions are appropriate but should be improved upon to ensure consistency and coordination of state policies, specifically energy efficiency and affordability.

New York has a new and aggressive energy efficiency goal needed to ensure the State meets its critically important climate goals. Energy efficiency is an especially cost effective and important clean energy opportunity for low and moderate income households as it combines reducing emissions with lower utility bills and healthier, more comfortable homes. The effects of the current bill language on the energy efficiency industry and the New York residents they serve would adversely impact the state’s many smaller firms that constitute the residential energy efficiency market. These locally owned companies are unlikely to become unionized given their small employee bases. Rather than add obstacles to job growth in this sector, we should be encouraging it. Building retrofits (heating and cooling systems, air sealing and insulation projects, etc.) in the State’s affordable housing, especially, could be affected given the makeup of the companies that serve them. The concern is that the bill will end up adding costs to programs that serve lower and middle income households, often renters in multifamily buildings, thus harming their energy affordability, safety and comfort, in particular.

The exemptions should be amended and improved to clarify that energy efficiency upgrade work in existing residential buildings (as opposed to gut rehab/new construction) should be categorized as repair or retrofit work, not construction, and therefore when such energy efficiency retrofits are financed in whole or part by public funds this work should be exempt from the provisions of this bill in smaller residential buildings (under 50 units) and residential properties that are affordable housing.

I urge you to reach out to the bill’s sponsors to let them know of our concerns!

Joseph P. Addabbo Jr
(D) 15th Senate District

Jamaal T. Bailey
(D) 36th Senate District

Alessandra Biaggi
(D, WF) 34th Senate District

Neil D. Breslin
(D, IP, WF) 44th Senate District

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BPCA Recommendations in response to the Governor’s 2018 Energy Efficiency Targets

BPCA has been submitting official comments regarding energy efficiency within NY REV.  Another round of comments is due by October 8th.  BPCA / EFNY members are encouraged to reach out to me (conrad@home-performance.org). Here is the letter as currently written: BPCA Recommendations in response to the Governors 2018 EE Targets .

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The future looks better than it has in the past

solar and wind

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Transitioning from State-sponsored Home Performance to a Free-Market Economic Paradigm for Energy Efficiency

BPCA Market Transformation White Paper FINAL Dec 2015 and then feel free to email your comments to conrad@home-performance.org

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Energy is a form of currency; manage it like money and reap the business benefits.

“Recognizing the Value of Energy Efficiency’s Multiple Benefits” is a new white paper written by Christopher Russell, Brendon Baatz, Rachel Cluett, and Jennifer AmannChris Russell

Description:

The benefits of energy efficiency extend beyond energy savings. Homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities gain comfort, health, and safety benefits from energy efficiency programs. Additional benefits for businesses include savings on maintenance, materials, and the costs of regulatory compliance. On the supply side, electric utilities enjoy reduced system costs. Focusing on the residential, business, and utility sectors, this report examines each of these multiple benefits, their role in program marketing, and current best practices for including them in cost-effectiveness testing.

Click here to download it for free from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (you must register)

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Zebras escape Phily Zoo wearing old-timey prisoner garb…

Two zebras broke free in Philadelphia on Sunday, bringing traffic to a crawl as they Zebrasroamed city streets for about an hour, and strolled around inside a fitness center.

Video shown on local media shows police vehicles following in slow pursuit as the animals jockeyed through traffic just before being captured. Sorry – I lived in this neighborhood for a couple years – couldn’t help myself!

Full (truncated) story here

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Street art in Ithaca New York

tesla vs edison

Tesla vs Edison depicted on an electrical box downtown…

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