Fourteen building trades contractors participating in theNew York State Energy Research and Development Authority’sHome Performance with Energy Star program received 2012 Century Club Awards from the U.S. Department of Energy for “outstanding contributions to energy efficiency.” The contractors completed 100 or more energy-efficiency projects through the Home Performance program’s “whole house” approach.

Home Performance with the EPA’s Energy Star program uses a “whole-house” comprehensive assessment approach to reduce home energy usage. Homeowners work with a participating contractor trained in building science and accredited by the Building Performance Institute. The contractor measures the home’s overall energy performance, especially its insulation and air infiltration levels, and the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment, and assesses appliances and lighting.

Contractors also test ovens, water heaters and other equipment to make sure dangerous combustion gases, such as carbon monoxide, are not leaking into the home. The homeowner receives a comprehensive home assessment report that includes recommendations for home improvements that will save energy. The contractor can then make the energy improvements for the homeowner.

Through funding from Green Jobs-Green New York, established by New York State to encourage energy efficiency, home energy assessments through the Home Performance program are free for most New Yorkers. NYSERDA also provides help in paying for the energy improvements through cash-back incentives and low-cost financing, including On-Bill Recovery Financing, which enables homeowners, small business and nonprofits to pay for their energy improvement through projected savings on their utility bills.