Library: The first three home energy books listed below are highly recommended, and are available in the Albert Wisner Public Library, or through the Ramapo-Catskill Library System.
Cut Your Energy Bills Now, Bruce Harley, The Taunton Press (2008). Easy to read, step-by-step picture guide for reducing homeowner energy use.
The Home Energy Diet, Paul Scheckel, New Society Publishers, (2005). Detailed home guide to energy savings.
Consumers Guide to Home Energy Savings, A. Wilson, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, (2007). Detailed home guide to energy savings with emphasis on efficient home appliance use.
KILL A WATT Power and Energy Meters are available for loan at the Warwick Library. An easy to use, simple way to measure appliance power and energy, and to test for parasitic loads.
Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds, David Gershon, Empowerment Institute, (2006). A guide for a group effort to save energy and reduce carbon emissions. Simple to use and understand.
www.energystar.gov Contains links to all Energy Star programs: products, home improvement and new homes.
www.builditsolar.com A do-it-yourself web site with many examples of homeowner energy projects, both efficiency and solar.
www.bpi.org Building Performance Institute web site with BPI standards for home improvement, and listings of BPI-certified contractors (contractor listing also found on getenergysmart web site listed below)
Consumer Information: There are Federal and state incentives, tax credits, and loans available for home efficiency measures, and renewable energy. In some cases, rebates for Energy Star appliances are available through your utility. There are weatherization programs available to low-income families. These programs and incentives change over time, and it is important to find out what the latest ones are. See NYSERDA site.
www.dsireusa.org lists all the Federal and state laws and incentives relating to energy. Click on your state and on “See Homeowner Incentive Summaries Only”
www.powernaturally.org is the NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) web site for renewable energy information and incentive programs.
www.sustainableorange.org Click on SAVE MONEY for up-to-date summaries of incentives for efficiency improvements, including assistance for low-income households, federal tax credits for efficiency, utility incentives and rebates, and NYS incentives. The focus here is on what’s available to Orange County residents.
For the existing NYSERDA program for the average homeowner, 9 steps are recommended to ensure you get the performance you pay for (and also qualify for NYSERDA loans).
- Choose a BPI-certified (Building Performance Institute) contractor. These contractors have passed courses that take a whole-systems approach to home efficiency (reducing energy use while achieving health, safety and durability for the home and its occupants).
- Have a BPI-certified audit. The BPI contractor will perform your energy audit using blower door equipment, and also check health and combustion safety issues.
- Incentives. The contractor will inform you about incentives that you qualify for.
- Contract. Determine whether it is to be fixed price or an estimate.
- Sign and get copies of the contract and the Home Performance Customer Information Form.
- Determine procedures beforehand for dealing with possible Change Orders.
- Start and complete work.
- Perform final testing (test out procedures)
- Close out the job (sign certificate of completion).