It's Time to Get Serious About Energy Efficiency

Thank you for the article about Home Performance with Energy Star ("Timing Is Hot for Energy Star," Jan. 30, 2006). With rising prices and demand for energy, dependence on foreign fuel, and a growing need to help protect the environment, there is no better time to get serious about energy efficiency in this country. In New York we are taking it very seriously, and have discovered a way to deliver a wide variety of public benefits through market forces.

The Home Performance with Energy Star and New York Energy Star Labeled Homes programs are transforming the home improvement and residential construction markets, right in our backyard. Builders and contractors across the state are changing the way they do business by incorporating energy efficiency into their daily operations.

Both programs have been a huge success in the residential marketplace and consumer demand is constantly increasing. The "Solutions for Success" conference, sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and recently held in Syracuse, is a testament of that success. The most widely attended regional conference of its kind, nearly 500 Home Performance with Energy Star contractors and New York Energy Star Labeled Homes builders participated on their own time and dime to sharpen their whole-house and building performance skills.

Most importantly, it was an opportunity for NYSERDA to recognize the leaders of this new industry for the critical role they play in driving the demand for residential energy efficiency, and fulfilling the promise of healthier, more comfortable, and energy-efficient homes for the New Yorkers they serve.

With over 16,000 households already served, every year New York saves nearly $5 million in energy costs and continues to reduce the amount of harmful emissions generated by household energy consumption. In five short years, we have seen tremendous growth in the number of professionals participating in these market-based initiatives, as well as in the number of consumers who take advantage of them.

We have worked hard to create a successful business model with our contractors and builders to deliver practical energy efficiency options to New Yorkers. This success is changing the way consumers and contractors interact in the marketplace, viewing energy efficiency as both a purchase attribute and a sales strategy. We are proud to be a small part of this exciting market transformation that is spreading across the country.

Rick Gerardi
Director of Residential Energy Affordability

To Match or Not to Match

It was refreshing to see some practical and sensible comments from contractors about the 13 SEER condenser-10 SEER indoor coil issue ("Facing the Mismatch Problem," April 10). No doubt, some operating problems will likely occur with fixed orifice fed indoor coils and 13 SEER (lower head pressure) condensing units. But, I've seen some "matched" 10 and 12 SEER systems that don't work quite right either, so, go figure.

In regard to the efficiency thing, contractors have been mismatching indoor and outdoor units forever. And most likely, on a smaller scale, design efficiencies were never achieved in those cases. But our main concern as contractors is whether or not the system will run 24 hours without frosting a coil or stressing the compressor.

It's a reasonable assumption that most professional contractors know what will and won't work. If in doubt, they ask someone who does know. Also, 13 SEER equipment is probably a step or two down from what they are already quite familiar with, and quite capable of servicing.

Wayne Shirley
Wayne Shirley Service Co. Inc.
Randolph, Ala.

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Publication date: 05/01/2006