By: Maria Moore
Following is information on the Litchfield Hills Business Energy Efficiency Progam which we received today. The program makes available rebates for businesses and nonprofits for approved cost-efficiency building improvements The program is being administered by the Litchfield Hills Council of Elected Officials. New Hartford has been allocated $16,000 to be awarded locally.
LITCHFIELD HILLS BUSINESS ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAM
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE - The Litchfield Hills Council of Elected Officials believes that promoting energy efficient commercial buildings is important to the economic health of the Litchfield Hills region. The intent of the Litchfield Hills Business Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) is to strengthen the economic viability of the region’s businesses through a comprehensive energy efficiency improvement program. By providing a financial incentive for improving the energy efficiency of business buildings, we hope to stimulate reinvestment in those buildings and facilitate local economic development.
FINANCING DESCRIPTION – The BEEP will provide incentive financing to stimulate improvements and reinvestment to commercially owned real estate, and eligible non-profit organizations in the following member towns of the Litchfield Hills Council of Elected Officials: Barkhamsted, Colebrook, Goshen, Hartland, Harwinton, Litchfield, Morris, New Hartford, Norfolk, Torrington, and Winchester.
$200,000 from OPM’s (Office of Policy and Management) Supplemental Regional Bonus Pool Block Program will leverage an estimated $190,000 in private resources to achieve an estimated total pool of $390,000 for rehabilitation investment in the eleven participating towns.
The BEEP will rebate 50% of the cost of approved energy efficiency building improvements for the first $5,000 of improvement, with a 20 % rebate for additional project expenses up to a maximum project cost of $30,000. Thus, the maximum rebate that could be provided for a single application is $7,500. The rebates apply to the expense of materials and installation costs for an improvement project and do not pertain to the cost of borrowing. The rebate will apply to projects that secure bank financing and to projects that are self-financed.
The BEEP is patterned after the highly successful Litchfield Hills Facade Improvement Program, administered by the Litchfield Hills Council of Elected Officials. A BEEP rebate will be paid after the project is approved by the local and regional BEEP Committees and implementation is complete.
PROGRAM PRIORITIES – The focus of the BEEP is to improve the energy efficiency of existing commercial buildings. Projects which enhance structures owned or operated by private, non-profit organizations are eligible provided they serve to enhance economic development (e.g. local historical society building which serves to attract tourists). Home-based businesses that are not assessed as commercial property, religious establishments, and municipal buildings are not eligible.
OPERATIONAL MATTERS – The Litchfield Hills BEEP will work as a partnership with the eleven municipalities and their Local BEEP Committees. The Litchfield Hills Council of Elected Officials, in cooperation with Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, will provide coordination and technical assistance.
The funds have been allocated to the participating communities according to a fair-share formula (see Attachment A). Any uncommitted funds remaining in a municipal allocation after one year of program operation will be re-allocated to a regional pool. Funds from this regional pool will be made available to those participating towns thatÂ have fully utilized their initial allocation. A modest percentage of the grant amount (5%) is being retained for program management by the LHCEO.
Each of the eleven participating communities will establish a local BEEP Committee appointed by the municipality’s Board of Selectmen. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the local BEEP Committee to operate the program at the local level. The duties of the local BEEP Committee are to:
- Appoint a committee chairperson
- Designate a committee member as the local BEEP Coordinator
- Select a location/office as the primary contact point for program information (e.g. First Selectman’s office)
- Determine local application scheduling – one initial deadline; first come, first served; quarterly reviews, etc.
- Establish local timetable requirements/performance standards for the BEEP Committee and applicants regarding application processing, length of time which applicant has to secure financing, complete project, etc.
- Promote the program; sponsor informational briefings; contact eligible applicants; distribute brochures, etc.
- Provide on-going technical assistance to applicants throughout the process, including assistance in completing the federal environmental form (EF-1 form)
- Review and act upon funding applications, including forwarding the application to the CT Historical Commission for review
- Maintain communication with applicant and Regional BEEP Committee
- Monitor project implementation to ensure project proceeds as planned
- Upon completion, review project paperwork and recommend final rebate amount to regional BEEP committee
- Maintain all appropriate records and documents
Membership on the Local BEEP Committee may include:
- Local Building Inspector
- Engineer and/or building contractor experienced in renovation projects
- Representative from the local historical society and/or historic preservation organization
- Chief elected official or appointee thereof.
At the regional level, the Litchfield Hills Council of Elected Officials shall appoint and authorize a Litchfield Hills BEEP Committee to provide the necessary administrative oversight to the program and serve as a quality control check in approving projects and issuing funds. The Litchfield Hills BEEP Committee will:
- provide technical assistance to the participating communities in developing their program/operating procedures
- review and act on applications forwarded by the communities
- authorize funding distribution
- assure that all renovation projects are initiated and completed in accordance with program guidelines.
To download a PDF of the BEEP program brochure click on the following link: BEEP Brochure ~ New Hartford (230)
To download a PDF copy of the BEEP application form click on the following link: BEEP Application Form ~ New Hartford (230)
For more information about this BEEP program please call Christine Hayward, Administrative Assistant to the First Selectman at 860-379-3389. Information on the BEEP program is also available in the Notices/Announcements section of the New Hartford town website.
The Litchfield Hills Business Energy Efficiency Program is funded through a grant provided by the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management. The program is a cooperative venture of the Litchfield Hills Council of Elected Officials, Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, and the Towns of Barkhamsted, Colebrook, Goshen, Hartland, Harwinton, Litchfield, Morris, New Hartford, Norfolk, Torrington and Winchester.