Recipients: NYSERDA, The New York State Legislature, and Private Utilities
We demand a white roofing rebate in New York State. Other states and cities are beginning to offer such rebates, and New York State should be on the cutting edge of energy efficiency by taking this proven step to encourage participation in existing white roofing programs. White roofing can save up to 30% on energy bills and reduces summer energy use and stress on our power grid.
What has been done?
In 2012, the New York City Council found that, "the use of cool roofs as a mitigation strategy for the 'urban heat island effect' [the tendency of urban areas to be hotter than their suburban surroundings because of a proliferation of dark surfaces and a lack of vegetation]" can be very effective. Efforts to combat the Urban Heat Island can result in lower energy use, reduced air pollution, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. As such, the New York City Council updated a portion of the City's building code to strengthen reflectance standards for new and repaired rooftops. What else do we need to do? While building owners in smaller cities and towns can also benefit from white roofing, New York State does not have such as standard. Furthermore, New York State does not incentivize white roofing. New York State offers monetary incentives for many other types energy retrofits. We encourage the state to adopt similar incentives to support white and cool roofing. Incentives are important. They encourage compliance with new building codes. Incentives are also a valuable way to encourage participation in energy efficiency upgrades. New York State has successfully used incentives to promote other energy efficiency measures such as weatherization and older appliance replacement.
NYSERDA currently offers rebates and free energy efficiency upgrades to certain customers. For example, NYSERDA offers certain low and middle income building residents free retrofits as part of the EmPower program. Other NYSERDA programs offer 10% cash back and low interest financing to property owners seeking to complete energy efficiency upgrades. The EmPower program and other NYSERDA programs could be changed to include white roofing.
Utility-based rebates: Companies such as Con Edison already offer rebates for some consumption reduction measures. For example, Con Edison offers a rebate of up to $400 per measure for replacements of older equipment with new high-efficiency technology. Con Edison, along with other New York State energy companies, should consider a flat rebate amount or rebate formula to encourage white roof implementation. Why is this important? A white roof project covers black tar roofs with solar-reflective coating to immediately reduce temperatures inside and out. This low cost solution is a quick and easy way to cut energy use and resultant carbon emissions, reduce our risk of brown outs caused by stress on the power grid, and save millions in energy costs. This method of simple, tangible change has cooled millions of rooftops in New York City and is popular world-wide.