Get more information
You can also learn about the process in the What to Expect from Home Performance with ENERGY STAR brochure.
Everything you need to know to make the most of Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®
You’ll need to follow a series of steps to take advantage of every opportunity and incentive available to you through this rewarding program. Read about the full process.
Steps 1-3: The comprehensive home energy assessment
Steps 4-6: Planning your upgrades
Steps 7-9: Completing the work
The comprehensive home energy assessment
Step 1: Find a Home Performance contractor to assess your home
Find a contractor
See a list of Home Performance contractors in your area.
The comprehensive home energy assessment is a top-to-bottom analysis of your home’s energy use. Energy assessments are performed by participating Home Performance contractors.
These expert energy efficiency companies are accredited by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), a nationally recognized authority on building performance and weatherization. They have the skills and technology to find out how your home is wasting energy and money, and will help you develop a plan to make energy-saving improvements.
If you need help in understanding the program or making your application, you can contact a constituency-based-organization (CBO) in your region. CBOs are partners in the program who are dedicated to helping homeowners access and participate in 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.
Find a CBO
Step 2: Apply for your free or reduced-cost comprehensive home energy assessment
For most New Yorkers, the home energy assessment is free. Some homeowners may be asked to pay for some or all of the cost of the assessment, based on household income. Use the chart on pages 2 and 3 of the home assessment application to see what you qualify for.
Apply online or download the comprehensive home assessment application.
Download and complete your assessment application, making sure to include all additional information. You may submit the completed application by email, postal mail or fax. NYSERDA will send a response to your application in the mail. Approved applicants will be given a confirmation number—be sure to keep it handy.
Watch an assessment in process to see how it works, and how one homeowner gained valuable insights.
Step 3: Your home energy assessment
Once you’ve received your approval letter and confirmation number, contact your contractor to schedule your home energy assessment.
Home energy assessments usually last two to three hours, but can take longer or shorter to complete. Your home assessment will consist of a visual inspection, health and safety tests and energy efficiency tests.
Take a closer look
For in-depth details about the home assessment process, visit our comprehensive home energy assessment page.
After the inspection and testing, your contractor will use software to analyze his or her findings, then present you with a detailed report about the performance of your home. The report will tell you how much energy your home is wasting, recommend the best improvements to stop the waste and provide quotes to do the work described.
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Planning your upgrades
Step 4: Agree on a Scope of Work
After reviewing the home assessment report, choose the work you’d like to do. You can pick from your contractor’s recommended energy efficiency upgrades and move forward with improvements that suit your budget and goals. Although many homeowners choose to make all of their contractor’s recommended upgrades, you don’t have to.
Before starting work, you and your contractor will agree on a Scope of Work, which details all the energy efficiency upgrades you plan to make to your home. Your contractor will help you understand which of your planned upgrades qualify for 10% cash back on eligible measures, and can help you apply for low-interest financing to make your project more affordable.
For a full list of energy efficiency improvements that qualify for 10% cash back and low-interest financing, download the eligible measures [PDF].
Step 5: Paying for the work
Low-interest loans are available
You can take advantage of two optional low-interest financing programs offered by NYSERDA. Both options offer loans of as much as $13,000 per household, or $25,000 if energy upgrades will pay for themselves in savings in 15 years or less.
For more details, including eligibility requirements and instructions on how to apply for either loan, visit the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Incentives & Financing page or call 1-866-NYSERDA.
Option 1: On-Bill Recovery Loans
An On-Bill Recovery Loan allows you to have your loan payments built into your utility bill. You’ll have no extra bills each month and nothing new to keep track of. Even better: your monthly payments will be calculated based on the expected amount your energy upgrades will save you on energy costs. You can repay your loan without a major increase in your monthly expenses.
- The current interest rate is 3.49%. Interest rates are subject to change.
Option 2: Smart Energy Loans
A Smart Energy Loan offers affordable interest rates, flexible terms and simple repayment options. Paying for a Smart Energy Loan is similar to any other conventional loan. You make monthly payments to NYSERDA’s loan servicer by check or automatic bank withdrawals.
- The current interest rate is 3.49% if you pay via automatic bank withdrawals. Interest rates are subject to change.
The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program offers a 10% cashback incentive on qualifying energy efficiency upgrades.
See if you’re eligible
Your household income can qualify you for a $5,000 grant.
A grant opportunity for homeowners
Depending on household income, homeowners can also qualify for a grant of up to $5,000 to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of energy efficiency upgrades, through the Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. The maximum grant increases to $10,000 in two- to four-unit residential buildings with additional income-qualified households.
Step 6: The contract
When you have decided on the energy efficiency improvements you want, your Home Performance contractor will give you a written contract to review and sign. Check this contract carefully.
- Make sure that all the work you want done is detailed and everything you want installed is in the contract. There should be nothing in the contract that you don’t want or don’t understand.
- In general, the price offered should be a fixed price that cannot be changed without your written permission (see section on “Change Orders” in Step 7). Make sure the contract clearly states if the named price is fixed or an estimate.
- The contract should cover payment terms (such as a down payment), installment payments and when the final payment is due.
- Along with the contract, you should receive a Home Performance Customer Information Form, which you will need to fill out.
- Home Performance with ENERGY STAR only recognizes contracts between a customer and a participating BPI accredited Home Performance contractor. If other contractors are called in to complete a part of the comprehensive work scope, they must be subcontractors to your Home Performance contractor (unless they are also Home Performance contractors). Home Performance contractors typically carry their credentials with them. You can also verify your contractor’s current status by calling NYSERDA at 1-866-NYSERDA or using the contractor locator map.
When NOT to sign a contract
Do not sign a contract before having a comprehensive home energy assessment completed on your home. Never sign a contract that does not include a detailed work scope and the cost of the proposed work. Prior to signing a contract, be sure to discuss the expected project start and completion dates with your contractor.
After signing the contract
Once you have signed the contract and the Home Performance Customer Information Form, be sure your contractor provides you with a copy of both documents. Your participating contractor will be responsible for submitting copies of the contract, Scope of Work and Customer Information Form to the Program. No work can begin until both you and the participating contractor have signed these documents.
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Completing your energy upgrades
Step 7: Getting the work done
At this point, everything should be in place for your Home Performance contractor to complete your energy efficiency improvements. Each day that work is done on your home, we recommend that you meet with your Home Performance contractor in the morning and again at the end of the day to review progress. Be aware that as the work is being performed, the normal routine of your household may be disrupted.
The Scope of Work may change during the course of the job. These changes might happen because:
- You decide to add or remove something from the work scope
- Your Home Performance contractor discovers a problem
- An opportunity for additional improvements presents itself during construction or installation
If there are changes in the scope of work, known as “Change Orders,” the contractor will give you a signed copy of the change order. Be sure you fully understand the impacts—such as increased costs or a longer project time—before you agree to the change. Home Performance with ENERGY STAR requires that you sign, date, and have your contractor submit all Change Orders before installation of the new measures—and before you receive any financing or incentives.
In the instance of unique circumstances such as health and safety problems or lack of heat during winter, exceptions to this policy may be granted.
Step 8: Final tests
Improving the energy efficiency of your home will often make it more airtight, which can lead to health and safety hazards. To make sure you stay safe, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR requires your contractor to repeat some of the tests performed during your comprehensive home energy assessment after your project is complete. We recommend that you be present during the final tests. On rare occasions, the tests reveal conditions that do not meet Home Performance with ENERGY STAR’s health, safety, and technical requirements. If that should happen, your contractor will recommend and perform modifications to bring your home into compliance with standards before a Certificate of Completion can be signed.
Step 9: Certificate of Completion
When all of the work in your original Scope of Work (and any Change Orders) is done and the final tests are completed, your contractor will prepare a Certificate of Completion for your review and signature. By signing the certificate, you are agreeing that the work on your project has been substantially completed.
DO NOT sign the Certificate of Completion until the energy efficiency improvements (detailed in your Scope of Work and any Change Orders) are substantially completed. On the “notes” section of the Certificate of Completion, write down any remaining minor items that need completion. Once you sign the Certificate of Completion, your final payment becomes due. Financing and incentives will be processed once your contractor submits the signed Certificate of Completion to NYSERDA.