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Saving an average of 10% to 15% in energy costs sounds enticing. As does getting an energy savings system installed with 70% of costs and labor covered. 10,000 small businesses in NYC have received that through Con Edison’s Small Business Energy Efficiency Program, which was launched in ’09—and is now on track to save more than $106M over the lifetime of equipment upgrades.
Con Edison's Esteban Vasquez, REVOLTAGEN prez Evan Goldsmith, and Central Parking System general manager Will Rhodin)
Manager Esteban Vasquez (with Revoltagen prez Evan Goldsmith, and Central Parking System general manager Will Rhodin, who all want you to guess which hand) tells us the program begins with a complimentary survey of energy costs and how Con Edison can help (most tenants have seen a six-month to one-year payback, mostly through lighting retrofits, he says). Some upgrades are even free, like the swap of incandescent to CFL bulbs. Depending on the energy needs, Con Edison covers 70% of the installation. (Green is totally in this summer, along with tail hems and wide leg pants.) The program is set to expire at year end but expected to be renewed for 2012. It's there for more than 280,000 small businesses within Con Edison’s territory of NYC and Westchester. All Con Edison customers are levied a “system benefits charge” that's invested back into programs like these, Esteban tells us.

REVOLTAGEN prez Evan Goldsmith, Central Parking System general manager Will Rhodin, and Con Edison's Esteban Vazquez
Here's the group talking retrofits at Central Parking Systems’ 135 E 47th St garage. Central Parking Systems is using the program in 14 of its 200 Manhattan locations so far. After doing the survey and analysis, subcontractor Revoltagen replaced lighting throughout the garages and put in an energy efficient lighting system with motion sensors. Will tells us his company has saved 20% to 30% in energy costs at each garage, and reduced wattage by 60% to 70%. Another garage—Bronx’s Riverdale Diner—is saving over $11k in annual energy costs. Con Edison provided $227 worth of free upgrades and paid 70% of recommended improvements, totaling $2,333. Riverdale Diner paid only $1,000, and the investment paid for itself in less than three months. (Who needs a rainy day fund when you can just turn off the lights?)