FAQ

Q: What’s in it for me?

Lower utility bills and a safer, more comfortable home are the big benefits of home energy efficiency. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with recommended insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy use for heating and cooling - and reduce environmental emissions - from 20-50%. Energy escapes through hidden holes between walls, and in the basement and attic. You can find out where these holes are and how to close them with a thorough “diagnosis” of your home called a “comprehensive home energy assessment.”

Q: Why do I need a “Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment”?

The Assessment offered by New York State is considered the “gold standard” in home energy evaluations. It’s the only way to get a full and detailed report of ALL your energy efficiency upgrade options. A Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment provides important health and safety checks (carbon monoxide back drafting, mold detection, etc) and qualifies future energy efficiency upgrade work for cash rebates (up to 20%) from New York State. Finally, with a comprehensive home energy assessment you have the option to get a free Quality Assurance visit to make sure all the energy efficiency upgrade work was done correctly

Q: How do I get a FREE “Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment”?

Get started by filling out the one page application. To complete the application program you’ll need a copy of your energy usage for the past year. You can pull down your electrical usage from your provider's website using your account number. It is sufficient to simply attach a recent invoice for your heating oil usage. The application must be scanned and emailed or mailed to the state address listed at the bottom of the application.

Q: Who performs the “Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment”?

New York State requires the assessment to be performed by an approved, specially trained energy efficiency contractor. You can pick from a list of these specially trained professionals here on our website. These energy professionals use special diagnostic tools to assess where your home loses energy and will help you develop options to put an end to wasted energy!

Q: What can I expect during a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment?

Depending on the size and complexity of your home, the assessment will take anywhere from two to four hours to complete. During the assessment, the contractor completes a visual inspection of the living space, attic, basement (or crawl spaces), and performs a number of tests using special diagnostic equipment. This equipment includes a blower door, which helps the contractor measure how much, and where, air is leaking from your home. Just as importantly, your contractor will perform essential health and safety tests to determine whether the major combustion appliances (furnace, boiler, hot water tank and stove) in your home are operating safely, as well as check for mold and the conditions which contribute to its growth. After the assessment, you will receive a report which will provide you valuable information regarding the existing condition of your home, and identify areas where energy efficiency, comfort and safety improvements can be made.

Q: What kind of changes might be recommended?

Typically, here in the Northeast, most homes benefit from improved insulation, air sealing, weather stripping, and caulking. Less frequently, you may need to repair or replace outdated heating or cooling systems.
Your assessment will identify the specific energy efficiency opportunities in your home and give you information that will help you decide what makes sense for you like the how long each measure will take to pay for itself.

Q: How do I pick a qualified contractor?

The energy efficiency professional who performs the NY State home energy assessment must be specially trained and certified to work in the State's “Home Performance” program. These professionals have several levels of oversight and quality control. To learn more, go to the "Tools" tab above and select the tab titled "Select a Home Performance Professional." Energize homeowners enjoy an extra level of assurance in making home improvements because they can request a free follow-up quality assurance visit by Honeywell (who has contracted with New York State). Honeywell will check that work done in your home was completed correctly; should they find any problems the State requires that the contractors remediate them.

Q: How long does the work typically take?

Energy improvement measures usually take between 2 – 4 days to complete and usually are not invasive to family life. Most work takes place between the walls of your home, in the basement and in the attic.

Q: I have questions about my assessment and what it recommends. Whom should I contact?

If you are confused about the process, your post-assessment report, financing, or technical issues, you can get answers by...

Q: What are options for financing energy improvements?

New York State has an innovative way for homeowners to pay for their improvements through energy savings! Through a product called "On-Bill," the homeowner's loan payments will be modeled on the home's newly achieved energy savings and will be repaid on the homeowner's regular electricity bill. The interest rate is only 2.99% , you can finance up to 100%, and should have no "out of pocket" costs to complete the work. The home energy efficiency upgrades you make must have an SIR (Savings to Investment Ratio) of 1 or greater. In other words, the work must be shown to make the home more energy efficient to be eligible for this financing. On-Bill financing is available at 5, 10 or 15 year terms and is transferable with the property.

Q: What are the options for financing energy improvements if I am a Commercial or NFP Property Owner?

Please click here for Energize NY (PACE) Financing for Commercial Buildings

Q: Are there incentives to help pay for energy efficiency improvements?

Homeowners making energy efficiency improvements to their homes through the Home Performance program can receive 10% cash back New York State! Income qualified homeowners can qualify for up to 50% subsidy. See this page on financing, incentives and subsidies.