NEW YORK CITY-The city will use its share of a $40-million federal stimulus grant awarded to the state Wednesday to fund an energy-efficiency retrofit program. New York State’s award is the largest of 25 that were announced by Vice President Joseph Biden and total $452 million nationwide. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will administer the grant, which will fund Property Assessed Clean Energy loan programs in New York City and a coalition of 14 northern Westchester County municipalities led by Bedford, NY.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant money awarded to New York City will be managed by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. The grant will help property owners here finance energy-saving retrofits in existing buildings, said to be responsible for 75% of the city’s carbon emissions.

In a release, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the grant will “jump-start the energy efficiency retrofit industry so we can meet the ambitious goals we set in PlaNYC,” the sustainability program originally announced on Earth Day 2007. The city had announced a plan last year to use $16 million in stimulus money to create a loan fund that would help offset the upfront costs of retrofits. “With today’s grant, the city will be able to significantly build on and extend this plan,” Bloomberg says.

PACE loan programs, usually financed through municipal bonds, enable municipalities to help commercial and residential property owners cover the upfront costs of energy efficiency improvements or renewable energy projects. The owners can then pay off the projects over a timeframe of up to 20 years through incremental charges on their property taxes. The concept originated through a 2008 pilot program in Berkeley, CA.

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