Frequently Asked Questions about New York ENERGY STAR® Homes

Q: What are the benefits of the program?
A: The program provides a number of resources, including marketing and technical support, sales tools and training, and financial incentives. In addition, builders and other participants can use the ENERGY STAR® logo on their homes and corporate promotional materials. This logo associates participants with the nationally recognized ENERGY STAR brand, and adds instant credibility to their business.

Q: What is a Home Energy Rating?
A: A Home Energy Rating calculates a score on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index. It is an energy-efficiency evaluation of a home as it compares to a reference house. It provides objective, standardized information on the energy performance of a home. A Home Energy Rating evaluates the performance of the thermal envelope, glazing strategies, orientation, HVAC system and other efficiency criteria. A Home Energy Rating is obtained by an on-site inspection and a computerized simulation using calculations to determine estimates of both annual energy performance and energy costs.

Q: Does every New York ENERGY STAR Certified Home have to be rated?
A: Yes. A Home Energy Rater who is affiliated with a Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) Accredited Provider must inspect and rate every new home before it can be designated as a New York ENERGY STAR Certified or New York Energy $mart Home.

Q: Who are Home Energy Raters?
A: Home Energy Raters provide energy-efficiency strategies and performance testing for new residential construction projects. Home Energy Raters play an integral part in the ENERGY STAR process. They offer two major types of services: technical assistance to builders and conducting Home Energy Ratings.

To ensure homes meet New York ENERGY STAR Certified Homes requirements, builders usually submit a home’s design plans to a Home Energy Rater for review. Raters input information from the plans into a program which estimates the annual energy use. With this information, the Rater determines a projected Home Energy Rating—based on the home’s design. The Home Energy Rater then makes recommendations to the builder on construction practices to ensure the home meets NYSERDA's Low-rise Residential New Construction Program's requirements.

Upon a home’s completion, a Home Energy Rater performs a final rating of the house. The final rating includes a blower-door test that measures the home’s air leakage, and a combustion safety test that ensures combustion appliances draft properly. Based on these results, computer software then estimates the rated home’s annual energy use. The Home Energy Rating process emulates the initial plan review process, except that actual construction and measured performance data are used.