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Feds to unveil home-energy loan program in Long Island visit

Robert Delfino with an Energy Testing Services truck.

Robert Delfino with an Energy Testing Services truck. Photo Credit: Energy Testing Services

Not one but two White House Cabinet secretaries will be at a Bohemia energy auditor tomorrow, where they’ll unveil low-cost lending for energy-saving home improvements.

Robert Delfino, whose family owns Energy Testing Services, said he wasn’t really nervous about the visit from Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

But as workers put up the podium and security checked out his warehouse today, the businessman quickly took back his words, saying he had wanted to “sound tough.”

“Last night, we brought the carpet guys and we cleaned the carpet,” Delfino said. “I guess you can say we’re a little nervous.”

The two federal heads and Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills) will announce the PowerSaver program under the Federal Housing Administration. Creditworthy borrowers will be able to get up to $25,000 in low-cost financing to make their homes more energy efficient. That can cover the installation of insulation, duct sealing, replacement doors and windows, heating and cooling systems, water heaters, solar panels, and geothermal systems.

Delfino is all for it: “People want to be able to be efficient, but they don’t have the money. They’re stressed at every corner right now.”

Such loans are especially vital for places like Long Island, where many homes are 50-60 years old, he said. If they’re retrofitted with improvements, he said, they can be at least 30 percent more energy efficient.

His father Michael Delfino Jr. started the family business 55 years ago by installing insulation and now it’s in the growing green technology field. The company of 125 employees conducts home energy audits for the Long Island Power Authority, National Grid, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and others that give energy rebates.

On Friday, Delfino got a call from NYSERDA officials, who interviewed him about the company’s work, checked his background and asked for photos of the Bohemia headquarters. He passed, was chosen to host the PowerSaver press conference and asked to speak also.

He’ll give his guests the warehouse tour and educate them on “duct blasters,” infrared devices and other tools of the trade. Said Delfino, “The biggest thing I like about it is they’re asking the people doing the work what they think about it.”

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