ALBANY, N.Y. — A total of $1 million is available for home energy contractors and home inspectors as part of a New York pilot program to make homes more energy efficient. Tompkins County was one of six locations selected in New York to take part and evaluate the impact of the energy ratings.

On Wednesday, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority announced that $1 million is available as part of a four-phase, multi-year Home Energy Rating Pilot. Contractors and home inspectors interested in taking part will have to be approved through a competitive selection process, NYSERDA said. But once approved, the contractors and inspectors can provide homeowners of one- to four-family homes with home energy performance ratings including opportunities to improve their energy performance.

The pilot is intended to improve the energy efficiency of homes across New York.

“Reducing energy use in homes is a key component to achieving Governor Cuomo’s ambitious energy efficiency target and lays the foundation for greater energy savings across the state,” Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA, said in a statement. “By piloting these home energy ratings, New Yorkers will have access to a beneficial tool to identify potential high-performing energy features for their homes and prioritize areas that can be upgraded to make it more energy efficient, comfortable and lower costs.”

NYSERDA likened the Home Energy Ratings to the miles per gallon rating for a car. The ratings will give homeowners easy-to-understand reports that give insight into how their home performs in areas like insulation, air sealing, heating and cooling efficiency, and hot water heating. “Each rating comes with a list of recommendations or an improvement plan that helps the homeowner plan upgrades to increase the efficiency, comfort, and value of their home.”

Tompkins County is being included in one of the two energy rating systems being piloted: the Pearl Home Certification. Pearl is a private residential energy efficiency certification firm. The pilot is being offered in four phases over the new two to three years, NYSERDA said. The phases include:

  • Phase 1: Seeks applications from participating contractors in NYSERDA’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program to use home energy ratings as a sales tool by delivering ratings to eligible homeowners.
  • Phase 2: Seeks applications from licensed home inspectors to deliver ratings to home buyers as part of a pre-purchase inspection.
  • Phase 3: Seeks applications from home energy contractors as a sales tool by delivering ratings to eligible homeowners.
  • Phase 4: Seeks applications from additional licensed home inspectors to deliver ratings to home buyers as part of a pre-purchase inspection.

Contractors and home inspectors interested in applying for qualification to offer these services can visit NYSERDA’s websiteNYSERDA will conduct an informational webinar for phase 1 at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 28. NYSERDA will review the requirements of the solicitation and answer questions. Applicants who want to participate must register here and future rounds of the pilot are expected to launch later in 2019.

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Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.