Long Island homeowners (1 to 4 family homes) have a number of programs that can help them make their homes more energy efficient and less costly to heat and cool. If you live in the towns of Babylon or Huntington, your town has specific programs available to you; contact them before you do anything else.
The Long Island Green Homes Consortium is working to provide information about the benefits available from State and utility sponsored programs. Your town has staff on hand, with knowledge of the programs offered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), who can guide you step by step through the process.
If you are not a resident of one of these towns, you can still benefit from programs that will help upgrade your home's energy performance. Call NYSERDA for more information at 1-877-NYSMART (697-6278).
There are a number of different programs available to Long Island homeowners. Each offers somewhat different benefits and has different rules for eligibility. Below are a few questions that will help guide you to the program that is the best fit for you.
Choosing which program is right for you is determined in large part by how you heat and cool your home. Take a moment to read all the different options, to find the right program for you. You can call to talk to a real human being to get more information and assistance with all of these options.
Whichever program you choose, all work will be performed by contractors who are accredited by the Building Performance Institute (BPI). Your home will undergo a comprehensive home energy audit which will be free or reduced in cost in many cases.
Start here: NYSERDA Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, or call 1-877-NYSMART (697-6278). (You can also call your town to help you fill out an application and get started.) This program is open to all New Yorkers; it features a free or reduced-cost home energy audit for most residents and cash rebates for many energy-efficiency measures. If your household income is at or below $84,933 for a family of four, you may be eligible for a grant, up to $5,000 or 50%, to to pay for part of the cost.
Start here: PSEGLI, or call 877-ESTARLI (378-2754). LIPA customers with central air conditioning can get free attic air sealing and duct sealing as well as the installation of compact florescent light bulbs.
There are also income-based programs that can pay for all or part of making your home more energy efficient.
(For other family sizes click below.)
Start here: Community Development Corporation of LI for Weatherization Assistance Program or for NYSERDA EmPower Program, or call (631) 471-1215 x155
(For other family sizes click below.)
Start here: Residential Energy Affordability Partnership (REAP)
If you qualify for EmPower, the Weatherization Assistance Program or REAP, all or part of the improvements to your home will be free of cost.
If you have any questions about which program is right for you, call 1-877-NYSMART (697-6278). The operators can help you to find the program that fits you best.
Part of your comprehensive home energy audit will be a review of your energy bills for the past 12 months. You can get the records of your electric usage from LIPA and natural gas usage from National Grid. Both are available online.
To get your billing history online, you will need to have an online account. Having an online account will allow you to see and manage your PSEG bills online, but will not automatically sign you up for electronic billing or automatic payments. If you don't have an online account, register for one here (you'll need a bill).
Once you have registered as new user, sign in with the user name and password you just created and click on the "Add Account" link on the left side of the page.
Enter the Customer ID/Account number from your PSEG bill, and the PIN number from the "important message" section of your bill.
To get your records sign in to your account. Once you are signed in, click on "Usage History" in the center of the page. This will take you to a page that shows your electric usage history.
If you heat your house with natural gas, and don't have an online account with National Grid, go to their page for Long Island natural gas customers and click on the "Register Now" link in the lower right. Again, having an online account will allow you to see and manage your National Grid bills online, but will not automatically sign you up for electronic billing or automatic payments.
Once you have registered as a new user, sign in with the user name and password you just created and click on the "Add Account" link on the upper right of the page.
Enter the Customer ID Number from your National Grid gas bill, and the access code located under the website address on the left side of your bill.
Once you are signed in to your National Grid account and on the Account Home page, click on the "Usage History, Current Bill & Energy Use Analysis" link.
If you have oil or propane heat, it will be helpful (but not absolutely necessary) if you have your bills for the last 12 months.
The pages linked to in Step 1 have instructions on how to get started with each program. Depending on the program you choose, you will start by either filling out an application for the program or by choosing a participating contractor from the list on the program's website. For a list of contractors, visit the NYSERDA website or if you have cenrtral air conditioning visit LIPA.
All the contractors are approved by the program sponsors and accredited by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), the nation's leading organization that develops standards and credentials for residential energy efficiency retrofit work.
During the audit, the contractor will perform a number of diagnostic tests, including:
Based on the results of the audit, the contractor will prepare and provide you with a report that contains a list of recommended improvements along with the cost and the estimated energy and cost savings of each option. You will have an opportunity to work with the contractor to decide which energy efficiency measures to install.
Every improvement, some simple and some complex, can result in significant energy savings. Some of the improvements that are covered under the program include:
After the work is completed, the contractor will run the diagnostic tests conducted during the energy audit again to verify that the measures are functioning correctly and to ensure health and safety of the home. This is sometimes called "testing-out" the job.
Whichever program you work with, up to $25,000 of improvements can be financed through a Green Jobs Green New York (GJGNY) loan from NYSERDA at an interest rate as low as 3.49%. In order to be eligible for a GJGNY loan, the estimated savings from the home improvements must exceed the costs.
If you finance your project through NYSERDA, you have the option to use On-Bill Recovery Financing at a rate of only 3.49%. This program allows you to make payments through your LIPA electric bills. The payments appear as a separate line item on the bill. On-Bill Recovery Financing is transferable, if you sell your home, the loan can stay with the house, and appear on the new homeowner's PSEG bill.
If you are not interested in on-bill financing, and unsecured loan offers affordable interest rates, flexible terms, and simple repayment options. The current interest rate is 3.99%, or 3.49% if your pay with automatic bank withdrawals.
In addition, many of the measures are eligible for rebates or other financial incentives from PSEG, National Grid and NYSERDA.
There are incentives from PSEG, National Grid and NYSERDA for many measures that will make your home more efficient. The contractor you work with will coordinate applications to get the best rebates that are available, no matter what program you originally signed up with.