ALBANY, N.Y. - For New Yorkers bracing against high home energy costs this heating season, relief is available through the Home Performance with Energy Star® Program. The program is implemented by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and aims to improve the energy efficiency, comfort, and safety of existing homes.

With Home Performance with Energy Star, homes of any style or size can be improved to reduce overall energy use and lower heating costs by up to 40 percent, said NYSERDA. The program has increased the energy efficiency of 21,599 homes since 2001, reducing electricity usage by more than 17.4 million kWh and heating fuel use by 927 billion Btu. Average household savings are more than $749 per year.

“Home Performance with Energy Star gives New Yorkers the opportunity to make their homes more comfortable, affordable, healthier, and safer to operate,” said NYSERDA President and CEO Francis J. Murray Jr. “We offer low-interest financing and other incentives to help New Yorkers pay for the work and start saving on energy bills immediately. It’s worth making the investment in energy efficiency improvements today in order to get ahead of the hefty costs expected for this heating season.”

The first step is to schedule a comprehensive home assessment with a contractor participating in Home Performance with Energy Star. To participate, contractors must first be accredited by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), a national organization that sets the standard for building performance. BPI-accredited contractors are certified in building performance technology, a systematic approach to improving the whole house, not just a part of it. Whole-house building performance incorporates energy efficiency, comfort, durability, and health and safety into one comprehensive package. In addition to assessing a home’s energy efficiency, BPI-accredited contractors are trained and certified to install the recommended improvements.

During the assessment, the participating contractor will test the home for air leakage using a blower door and look for opportunities to improve the home’s insulation and overall tightness. The windows, appliances, and lighting will also be inspected. The contractor also tests combustion appliances such as heating equipment, ovens, and water heaters to make sure dangerous combustion gases like carbon monoxide are not leaking into the home.

After the assessment, the contractor will provide a report with recommended energy-efficiency improvements and the cost of making the improvements. The contractor will also identify what kinds of financial incentives are available. For a limited time, customers in Con Edison and National Grid service territories may be eligible for additional incentives on certain energy-efficiency measures. Income-qualified customers may receive up to 75 percent of the cost of the energy improvements through the Assisted Home Performance with Energy Star Program.

To learn more about Home Performance with Energy Star, visit

Publication date:02/02/2009