Leaving its longtime home to fulfill a broader mission, the Energy Improvement Corp. is moving this week from Mount Kisco to office space in Yorktown Heights.
Almost three years ago, Bedford officials gave birth to the energy-efficiency program, meant to save homeowners money and finite natural resources. Today, like some precocious offspring, the program is moving far beyond its Bedford backyard, bringing the message of energy efficiency to a host of Northern Westchester neighbors.
And, like many a young man or woman leaving the nest and setting down roots elsewhere, program officials made a trip home to borrow the folks’ plastic so they could buy some furniture.
Thus stood Mark Thielking, Bedford’s director of energy resources, Tuesday night, alone at a lectern, asking to borrow the town’s credit card for a quick trip to the New Haven Ikea. Although the ready-to-assemble furniture giant had the best value, Thielking said, it does not accept cash or checks. “We’re at the point now,” Thielking told the board, “where we’re moving in tomorrow (Wednesday) and still haven’t been able to obtain a credit card.”
Operations are shifting from offices at 666 Lexington Ave. in Mount Kisco to space in the shuttered French Hill Elementary School, 2727 Crompond Road.
To be sure, the burgeoning energy initiative—which is finding acceptance far beyond Bedford to now include Mount Kisco, Somers, New Castle and both the town and village of Ossining—has more than enough cash to pay for its own desks, filing cabinets and swivel chairs. Indeed, with more than $2.5 million in state and federal grant money, it could likely finance a few paper clips for the cash-strapped town.
Instead, through the Energy Improvement Corp., it’s helping homeowners first to obtain free energy-efficiency evaluations. Later, if a homeowner wants to fix some or all of the shortcomings turned up in the energy audit, the corporation will process applications for state-subsidized financing.
“The duties of the Energy Improvement Corp., as outlined in the agreement,” Thielking said, “are to review the application and to qualify properties, to execute . . . agreements between the property owner and the EIC.”
In the end, Energize New York—the program’s overarching umbrella—is expected to cover 14 communities that allied two years ago, under the banner of the Northern Westchester Energy Action Coalition (NWEAC), to seek energy-conservation and other green solutions.
In addition to borrowing the town’s credit card, Thielking presented for the board’s approval a proposed municipal agreement spelling out the obligations of, in this case, Bedford and the corporation in financing the homeowner’s energy retrofit. The pact, however, is expected to become a template for subsequent municipal accords throughout the growing NWEAC region.
“The agreement was vetted and reviewed by multiple stakeholders over a period of six months,” Thielking said.
The board unanimously approved the agreement as well as Thielking’s credit card request in a town hall bereft of its own energy. Swirling weather had led to widespread power outages Tuesday, plunging thousands into darkness and forcing town hall to operate on a generator. While the building functioned smoothly, the disruption did knock out the town’s videotaping system, used for later webcasting of the board meeting. Voices at the meeting were recorded on an audio tape and preserved.