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Existing Home Renovations Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®?
A: Home Performance with ENERGY STAR uses a network of independent home improvement contractors, accredited by the Building Performance Institute (BPI)Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.. BPI, a national resource for building science technology, sets standards for assessing and improving the energy performance of homes. Each participating contractor is trained to identify energy efficiency improvement opportunities and to test homes using a "whole-house" approach. From the initial visit to your home, to installation of energy efficiency work through to project completion, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR is a "one-stop shopping" experience. Homeowners learn where their home is wasting energy and know what to expect from their contractors and how to obtain additional information about moving forward.

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Q: Is everyone eligible to participate in the program?
A: Yes, all New York State homeowners can participate in the program, starting with a comprehensive home energy assessment. From there, your eligibility for cashback incentives will depend on your utility provider and the measures you choose. Special loan rates are available if your credit score qualifies you, an additional subsidies are available for income-eligible consumers.

Additional subsidies are available for income-eligible consumers.

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Q: How is this program related to Green Jobs – Green New York?
A: Green Jobs – Green NY is a statewide effort to strengthen our communities through energy efficiency and job creation. It enables New Yorkers to make a significant difference in our homes, businesses and neighborhoods—making them more comfortable, more sustainable, and more economically sound. Green Jobs – Green NY is administered by NYSERDA and made available by the Green Jobs – Green New York Act of 2009.

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR offers free or reduced-cost comprehensive home energy assessments and low-interest financing as part of Green Jobs – Green NY.

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Q: I am a renter, and I would like to save on my utility bills. Do I qualify to participate in the program?
A:By working with their landlords, renters are qualified to participate in Home Performance with ENERGY STAR. This way, your landlord can improve the building for you and future renters. And you can enjoy more comfort and cheaper utility bills while you live there. Renters are not eligible for comprehensive home energy assessments or program financing.

Renters may also be eligible to participate in the EmPower New York program, which offers free energy efficiency improvements to income-eligible New Yorkers. Visit the EmPower page to learn more.

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Q: Can I work with any contractor to participate in the program?
A: To ensure consistent quality in the program, you must work with a participating contractor accredited by the Building Performance Institute, or BPI for short. This way, you are assured that your contractor has qualified for the program, and will look at your home as an integrated system of related components, each one contributing to energy waste or efficiency. Some contractors only handle one element of energy efficiency (for example, insulation or furnaces). Contractors who are accredited by BPI have the expertise and resources to provide customers with a comprehensive, whole-house energy assessment.

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Q: How do I find a participating BPI-accredited contractor?
A: Use the contractor locator map on this website to find contractors in your geographic area.

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Q: What happens at an energy assessment? How long does it take?
A: The contractor will spend approximately two to three hours at your home for the assessment. This comprehensive review takes into account many aspects of your home, from your heating system and hot-water heater to your windows, doors and weatherstripping. It also takes into account the health and safety of your home. Your contractor will set up a blower-door test to measure the air that leaks into and out of your home’s “envelope.” The contractor will also perform air-quality checks, testing for gas leaks or other dangerous situations. At the end of the assessment, your contractor will give you a list of recommended upgrades and pricing estimates for each. These upgrades could range from simple weatherstripping to replacing your appliances or heating equipment.

Watch an assessment in process to see how it works, and how one homeowner gained valuable insights.

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Q: How do I know that the work will be done properly?
A: First and foremost, contractors must be accredited by the Building Performance Institute (BPI) to qualify to work in the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. This means that each contractor meets high standards for quality, ensuring that energy upgrades are done professionally and correctly. In addition, 10-15 percent of the installations that are performed under the program are quality-reviewed by a third party. If this inspection reveals work that was not done correctly, the work will be redone to meet specifications, at no cost to the homeowner.

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Q: My contractor and I have a disagreement. Does NYSERDA offer any kind of assistance for me as a homeowner?
A: All participating contractors are accredited by the Building Performance Institute (BPI) and are held to the standards set by BPI, including a dispute-resolution process. In addition, any participant in the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program can request a quality-assurance inspection up to one year after completion of the project to ensure that the work was done properly.

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Q: What is a Constituency-Based Organization (CBO) and how can they help?

A: CBOs are partners in the program who are dedicated to helping homeowners access and participate in the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. Assisting every step of the way, CBOs are prepared to help homeowners through the process of improving their home's energy efficiency so that they can save money and live more comfortably in their home. If you need help in understanding the program or making your application, you can contact a CBO in your regionLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..

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Last Updated: 04/10/2014