DMI Blog

Karin Dryhurst

Berkeley First…New York Last?

This week San Francisco launched its GreenFinanceSF program to help local homeowners invest in solar panels and other energy-efficiency projects:

A new city-run program, GreenFinanceSF, will give San Franciscans the money to pay for such projects up front and let them pay it back through installments on their property tax bills. Berkeley pioneered the idea in 2007, and since then, hundreds of cities, counties and states have adopted their own versions.

Last year, DMI urged New York City to pass a similar program.

Building operations—heating, cooling, and lighting as well as powering appliances—are responsible for 78 percent of the city’s carbon dioxide emissions. This is primarily because New York City’s building stock is so old...By retrofitting older buildings with new, green building technologies, the buildings' energy usage can be considerably reduced.

New York lags behind San Diego, Boulder, and Annapolis--to name a few--in encouraging energy efficiency through municipal financing.

And there are signs the Obama administration and Congress have taken notice of the trend. The stimulus package authorized local governments to use a portion or all of $2.4 billion in Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds to fund municipal financing. And Congress fixed a problem in the tax code that may have prevented homeowners from taking advantage of 30 percent solar energy tax credit.

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Posted at 2:06 PM, Apr 13, 2010 in Cities | Energy & Environment
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