East / Regional Reports

Energy Star Program Offers Training To N.J. Contractors

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Thanks to a new initiative called "Home Performance with Energy Star®," New Jersey contractors can help their customers' reduce energy bills and seal up drafty rooms, according to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

Home Performance with Energy Star is a new program funded by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities through a Special Projects grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Under this residential energy efficiency program, homes of any size or style can be improved to reduce energy costs by up to 30 percent, the board said.

Contractors who enroll in the program are certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), a national resource for building science technology that sets the standards for assessing and improving the energy performance of homes. BPI-certified Home Performance contractors use advanced technologies to test and treat homes for maximum performance, energy efficiency, and comfort, the board said.

Bud Fahey, president of Optimal Energy Inc., Moorestown, N.J., is the first contractor in the state to become trained and certified under the program.

"We have been using building science technology to make homes more comfortable and energy efficient since 1990, so it only made sense that we would join this program from its inception," said Fahey. "As a BPI-certified Home Performance with Energy Star contractor, we take a comprehensive approach to home energy usage that looks at the whole house, not just one room or a single problem area. It's a great service and value to offer our customers."

Contractors are trained to assess the efficiency of heating-cooling systems, insulation, ventilation, appliances, and lighting fixtures. They also are trained to evaluate how these individual systems work together to affect a home's performance as a whole. In addition, they are trained to test furnaces, water heaters, ovens, and the air throughout a home to make sure carbon monoxide is vented properly.

Once the Home Performance contractor completes a comprehensive home assessment, he/she recommends ways to improve efficiency.

Benefits To Contractors

Several financial and marketing incentives are offered to contractors who enroll in the program. These include:

  • Lower startup costs associated with training, certification/accreditation, and diagnostic equipment.

  • Specialized training and technical assistance in the process of assessing and servicing existing homes.

  • Marketing support, co-op advertising incentives, and opportunities to participate in promotional events.

  • The ability to differentiate the business by being part of a select group of contractors certified by BPI.

    Contractors are responsible for setting the fee of a comprehensive home assessment; it usually costs around $250, the utility board said. The fee is fully deductible from the cost of any work performed on the home. Financing for improvements is available for eligible homeowners through the program.

    For more information and a list of participating BPI-certified Home Performance contractors, call 800-418-9560 or visit www.mynjenergystar.com.

    Publication date: 04/04/2005

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