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Frequently Asked Questions about Home Performance® and Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®

Q: What is Home Performance with ENERGY STAR?
A: The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program makes it easier and more affordable for New York State homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. It uses a network of independent contractors recognized by the Building Performance Institute (BPI)Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. as BPI GoldStar Contractors. BPI is a national resource for building science technology that sets standards for assessing and improving the energy performance of homes. Each contractor is trained to use a whole-house approach to test the energy efficiency of homes and identify energy efficiency improvement opportunities. Your contractor will show you where your home is wasting energy, what to expect from the work, and how to obtain additional information about moving forward. The program also offers low-interest loans and a 10% discount on all eligible home energy improvements to make it easier for you to pay for the work.

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Q: What is Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR?
A: Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR provides the same services as Home Performance with ENERGY STAR with additional financial support for income-eligible households. Those who qualify can receive a discount covering 50% of the cost of eligible energy efficiency improvements up to $5,000 per project for single-family homes. Two- to four-unit residential homes with income-eligible residents may qualify for a discount of up to $10,000. Low-interest loans are also available to help cover the remainder of the project cost.

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Q: Who’s eligible to participate?
A: New York State residents who own a single-family or multifamily home with up to 4 units can participate in the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. To participate in Assisted Home Performance, residents must own a single-family home or multifamily home with up to four units and have a household income that is less than 80% of the median county income. Renters should encourage your landlords to participate to take advantage of the program offerings. View the full program eligibility guidelines.

If you own a multifamily home that is 3 stories or less with 8 units or less you may be eligible to participate in the Home Performance / Assisted Home Performance Low-Rise offering.

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Q: I am a renter, and I would like to save on my utility bills. Do I qualify?
A: While renters can’t apply directly for the program, you can enjoy the benefits of reduced energy bills by encouraging your landlord to apply.

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Q: What if I own a building with more than 4 units?
A: One to three story buildings with 5 to 8 individual housing units may qualify for the Home Performance / Assisted Home Performance Low-Rise offering. Examples include row housing, and townhouses. Learn more.

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Q: Can I work with any contractor to participate in the program?
A: You must work with a participating contractor recognized by the Building Performance Institute (BPI) as a GoldStar contractor. Participating contractors are specially trained professionals that use state-of-the art diagnostic equipment and comprehensive analysis to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Participating contractors are insured and subject to quality reviews by NYSERDA.

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Q: How do I find a participating BPI GoldStar contractor?
A: Use the contractor profile pageLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. to find contractors in your geographic area. Here are a few questions [PDF] that you can ask the contractors before you make the decision to have them perform your energy assessment.

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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. It provides you with a top-to-bottom look at where your home is wasting energy. The assessment evaluates your heating and cooling systems, The assessment gets to the root of common household problems such as drafts, inconsistent temperatures, and heating and cooling system. 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 perform air-quality checks, testing for gas leaks or other dangerous situations. After 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 and upgrading to energy-efficient lighting.

  • Watch a video that walks you through a typical assessment.

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Q: How do I know that the work will be done properly?
A: First and foremost, contractors must be recognized by the Building Performance Institute (BPI) as GoldStar contractors 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. 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: How are contractor disputes resolved?
A: NYSERDA encourages customers and contractors to work together to resolve any disputes. To ensure there are no misunderstandings regarding work scope, customers should always make sure any stated work is written into the contract. If the customer and contractor still cannot come to a resolution, NYSERDA will initiate a dispute resolution process. You can reach NYSERDA at hpwes@nyseda.ny.gov or by calling 1-866-NYSERDA.

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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 / Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR programs. 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 CBOLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..

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Q: What if I am ineligible for a free or reduced cost home energy assessment?

A: A home energy assessment is a requirement to take advantage of the discounts offered in the Home Performance and. If you are over the income guidelines or own a multi-family residential home with over 4 units you can still take advantage of the program but will need to work with a participating contractor to complete the home energy assessment at the market rate.

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Last Updated: 07/18/2014