ALBANY, N.Y. - New Yorkers facing high home energy costs can get relief 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.

Through the program, homes of any style or size can be improved to reduce overall energy use and lower heating costs up to 40 percent. 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, according to NYSERDA. Household savings average 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.”

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). BPI-accredited contractors are certified in building performance technology, a systematic approach to improving the whole house that incorporates energy efficiency, comfort, durability, and health and safety. BPI-accredited contractors also 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, looking for opportunities to improve the home’s insulation and overall tightness. Windows, appliances, and lighting also are inspected. The contractor also tests combustion appliances to make sure dangerous gases like carbon monoxide are not leaking into the home.

After the assessment, the contractor provides a report with recommended energy-efficiency improvements and the cost of making the improvements. The contractor also identifies what kinds of financial incentives are available.

For more information, visit or call 877-NY-SMART.

Publication date:02/23/2009