Rochester ENergy Efficiency and Weatherization

In 2015, the New York State Attorney General’s office allotted $1 million to help City of Rochester homeowners live in safer, healthier, and more energy-efficient homes. That was the beginning of the Rochester Safe and Efficient Homes Initiative. In July 2019, a grant from the ESL Charitable Foundation ensured that this work would continue under the new name of RENEW (Rochester ENergy Efficiency and Weatherization).

How You Can Support Renew

The RENEW Climate Fund offsets your individual carbon footprint with a charitable donation and makes the Rochester area healthier, safer, and more energy efficient. Carbon offsets allow people to “cancel out” individual carbon emissions associated with everyday life.

It’s easy: Energy used in homes, gasoline engines in cars, and pollution from air travel generate greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Calculate your carbon footprint using your preferred online calculator. Any online carbon footprint calculator will tell you the amount to donate to “offset” your carbon emissions. By making a tax-deductible donation to the RENEW Climate Fund, or “purchasing a carbon offset,” these investments directly benefit low-income homeowners in our community and reduce carbon emissions. Your donation will stay local, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and clean the air we ALL breathe.

How RENEW Works

Grants are made to community partners working with income-qualified homeowners to make improvements that include insulation, furnaces, hot water heaters, removal of lead paint hazards, or emergency repairs. RENEW grants typically fund necessary work that is not covered by other sources. This collective impact effort, which involves many agencies, has resulted in reduced energy costs, better physical and mental health outcomes, health- and wealth-building, reduced healthcare costs, foreclosure prevention, and neighborhood stabilization.

So far, we have helped make the homes of 200-plus low-income homeowners in the City of Rochester healthier, safer, and more energy efficient; participated in the first deep energy retrofit rehab project in Rochester; and are currently working with Sustainable Homes Rochester to make clean heating and cooling technologies accessible to low-income homeowners.

On average, clients who have received this assistance are seeing a 20 percent reduction in energy costs. These energy efficiency updates have helped an estimated 3,400-plus tons of carbon (greenhouse gas emissions) from entering the atmosphere. Follow-up conversations with RENEW clients also find that 100 percent of those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma and COPD, report significantly reduced symptoms

RENEW collaborates with community partners to accomplish this collective impact work. These partners include: Action for a Better Community, City of Rochester, Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning, Common Ground Health, Ibero-American Development Corp., Monroe County Department of Public Health, Monroe County Office on Aging, Neighborworks Community Partners, PathStone Corp., Rochester Housing Authority, Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, Town of Irondequoit, and University of Rochester.

Am I Eligible?

Homeowners can check to see if they qualify by scheduling a free energy audit with one of RENEW’s program partners and learning more about saving money on heating and cooling bills. Contact one of the following to schedule the energy audit:

How You Can Help

Anyone can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by calculating your carbon footprint using any of the carbon offset calculators available on-line. Once you have figured out the amount of money you need to “offset” or donate, you can make a tax-deductible donation to the RENEW Climate Fund. Your donation will help eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in our community and assist low-income homeowners to live in safe and energy-efficient housing.


For more information, contact RENEW Program Coordinator Elizabeth McDade. Email Elizabeth or call her at 585.341.4362.