Bronx property owners receive subsidized home inspections

Homeowners in the Bronx are receiving financial assistance from a community program that promotes lower energy bills and energy-efficient homes through subsidized green energy enhancements.

The Green Jobs-Green New York Bronx outreach program is a two-year, $500,000 initiative sponsored by the state of New York to enhance the living environments of Bronx homeowners. Commercial properties and residential properties with fewer than four units are eligible to receive funding, which covers the cost of an inspection. The program is being managed by the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC).

"In the long term, you can save money on heating bills whether you're a homeowner or a small business owner," Bronx Borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. said during a press conference announcing the program. "As an individual, in essence, that's a salary increase. That's money that you put in your pocket."

In addition to a free home inspection, all homeowners will receive a grant of at least 10 percent of the cost of energy upgrades, BOEDC official Kate Shackford told local television station NY1 News. Homeowners who have higher incomes are eligible to receive up to 50 percent in reimbursements.

Professionals who conduct home and commercial inspections can provide property owners with valuable insight into how they can improve upon their green practices. While New York's extensive public transportation program gives it significant clout among green industry observers, a 2008 Popular Science Magazine study of America's 50 greenest cities ranked the Big Apple 20th overall. The metric New York City received the lowest scores in was electricity sources and total usage, suggesting that initiatives like the one in the Bronx could go a long way toward solving the city's energy woes.

Property owners who live in Pennsylvania or Maryland should contact a local Washington, D.C. inspector to advise them as to green energy improvements. In some areas, local governments may even subsidize these inspections.