Making Energy-Efficient Home Improvements More Affordable

Energy prices can put a strain on household budgets, especially on those with a fixed or moderate income. That is why National Grid and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) are making it more affordable to make energy-efficient home improvements.

Through NYSERDA's Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR(R) Program, upstate New York households are provided the means to make energy-efficiency improvements more obtainable. Normally, the program covers up to 50 percent of the costs associated with energy-efficiency improvements for income eligible families, up to $5,000 per household or $10,000 for a two- to four-family residence. However, now through September 30, 2008, income eligible National Grid gas customers can receive an additional 10 percent subsidy, when the installation of eligible heating equipment is included as part of the energy- efficiency home improvements, resulting in 60 percent of the work being covered. National Grid gas customers can receive up to $6,000 for a single- family home and up to $12,000 for a two- to four-family home.

The Assisted Home Performance Program is designed to make energy-efficiency home improvements easier for residents with moderate incomes. To be eligible, families have to meet income requirements based on the number of people in the household and area of the state in which they live. For example, a family of four in Oneida County would have to have an annual income of less than $57,744 to qualify for the subsidy. A chart to determine income eligibility by county can be found at and clicking on 'Single Family Homes'.

"Making energy efficiency improvements in a home helps lower energy costs, creates a healthier living environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming," said Paul D. Tonko, NYSERDA President and CEO. "Our enhanced incentive will help National Grid Gas customers save thousands of dollars on their initial efficiency investments, while also saving hundreds each year on their energy bills. Saving energy, being good stewards of the environment and investing in a strong societal commitment to future generations have never been a better investment."

"Helping our customers save money by using energy wisely is always the right thing to do," said Susan M. Crossett, National Grid's vice president for Energy Solutions Services for upstate New York. "Our partnership with NYSERDA makes it easy for customers to take the active step of investing in energy efficiency and manage their energy costs."

The first step toward making a home more energy-efficient is to schedule a Comprehensive Home Assessment with a contractor participating in the Assisted Home Performance Program. Accredited by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), these contractors take a comprehensive approach to home energy usage that looks at the whole house, not just one room or single problem area. The contractor will measure a home's overall energy performance - especially its insulation and air infiltration levels and the efficiency of heating equipment, appliances and lighting.

Contractors also test ovens, water heaters and other equipment to make sure dangerous combustion gases like carbon monoxide are not leaking into the home.

When the assessment is complete, the contractor will identify what improvements can be made, the cost of making those improvements, and available financial incentives. The contractor will also estimate monthly savings on energy bills and length of time each improvement will take to pay for itself. You decide which improvements to make on your home.

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