ALBANY, N.Y. - New Yorkers who want to keep energy costs down without sacrificing comfort this winter can take advantage of Home Performance with Energy Star®. Sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the program can help households save up to 40 percent on energy bills.

Under the program, a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Accredited Home Performance contractor will measure a home's energy efficiency, insulation and air infiltration levels, heating/cooling equipment efficiency, appliances, and lighting. Contractors also test ovens, water heaters, and other equipment to make sure dangerous combustion gases like carbon monoxide are not leaking into the home.

When the assessment is complete, the contractor will identify what improvements can be made, the cost of making those improvements, and what kinds of financial incentives, such as low-interest financing, are available to homeowners who decide to have the improvements made. Income-qualified applicants may be eligible to receive additional incentives through the Assisted Home Performance with Energy Star program.

"There's no better time than now to change the way we use energy in our homes," said Peter R. Smith, president of NYSERDA. "Energy costs continue to rise and conserving energy is essential. For some New Yorkers, that may mean building an energy-efficient home, making an existing home more efficient, or following simple energy savings tips. No matter what the measure, every bit counts."

NYSERDA offers the following tips that contractors can pass along to homeowners to reduce wasted energy and improve comfort at home this winter:

  • Make sure storm windows are down and secure, and lock double-hung windows to be sure they are sealed.

  • Add weather-stripping to drafty doors.

  • Use tight-fitting glass doors on fireplaces and close doors and damper when the fireplace is not in use.

  • Move carpet, furniture, or other objects away from heating vents and radiators. Blocked vents can affect air circulation and cause an imbalance in a home's heating system.

  • Install a programmable Energy Star thermostat that will automatically adjust temperatures throughout the day.

  • Set the thermostat to 50-55 degrees overnight or while away from home. Maintain a comfortable 60-65 degrees while at home and awake.

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with Energy Star qualified models that use up to 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer. Turn off lights when not in use.

  • Use money-saving Energy Star qualified appliances in the kitchen and laundry

  • Set the refrigerator temperature at 37-40 degrees and the freezer at 5 degrees. Clean the coils and seal the fridge gaskets regularly.

  • Install efficient showerheads and faucet aerators to save water and reduce water heating costs.

    For more information about Home Performance with Energy Star, visit

    Publication date: 11/06/2006