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.eere.energy.gov U.S. DOE overview of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies
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)
www.epa.gov/iaq Information on indoor air quality issues (asthma, mold, lead, radon, etc.)
The two NYSERDA sites listed below provide detailed information on incentives.
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. The current NYSERDA program is called Home Performance with Energy Star, and is briefly described below. It provides loans to homeowners. However, two possible changes are being considered. There may soon be a Federal program called Home Star that will provide rebates of up to $8000 for verified home energy savings (20% savings = $3000, each 5% additional savings = $1000, up to 50% savings or $8000). The law is awaiting passage in the Senate. Possible future legislation (called PACE) may enable homeowner’s to borrow up to $10,000 for weatherization, add the cost to future taxes on the house, which will be paid back over time by the energy savings. This legislation is not as far along as Home Star.
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.getenergysmart.org is the NYSERDA web site for other energy information, especially home energy efficiency.
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.
The existing NYSERDA program for the average homeowner is called the Home Performance with Energy Star Program – see www.getenergysmart.org, click on Owners of Existing Homes, and then on Home Performance with Energy Star. Here is a synopsis of the 9-step process that they recommend in order 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).