Choosing a Contractor
Below are guidelines and tips in choosing an energy efficiency contractor:
Why a BPI-accredited Contractor?
In order to qualify for most financial incentives for home energy efficiency improvements, you must use a BPI-accredited contractor. BPI stands for Building Performance Institute, a national organization that sets accepted standards for energy contractor certification. BPI-accredited contractors are rigorously trained in the "house-as-a-system approach" to assess and improve energy performance, comfort, and air quality of homes.
BPI-accredited contractors must have third-party verification to ensure their work meets quality standards. The process works. Home energy upgrades by BPI-accredited contractors have been proven to reduce energy usage, often by 20% or more.
How It Works
- Schedule an energy assessment. Select a BPI-accredited contractor working in your area and call to schedule an energy assessment. Once you schedule an assessment, the contractor comes to your home and uses a blower door and thermal imaging camera to find where your home is leaking air and lacking insulation. The auditor also analyzes the efficiency of heating and air conditioning systems, appliances, and lighting.
- Get your report. Your contractor will provide you a comprehensive report of your home's energy use, recommendations for improving efficiency, cost of improvements, expected savings, and financial incentives available to you.
- Choose what work to do. Once you receive the report, you can choose what measures you would like the contractor to do, depending on your budget and the financial incentives available.
When You Call Contractors
- When you call a contractor, ask to schedule an energy assessment. Expect the assessment to take 3-4 hours.
- Free or reduced cost energy assessments are now available through NYSERDA's Home Performance with Energy Star®.
- If you choose not to participate in Home Performance with Energy Star®, the price of a comprehensive energy assessment typically costs between $300-$500. This cost is usually credited if you choose to make improvements.
- Ask the contractor what is included in a comprehensive energy assessment. A blower door test, thermal imaging scan, and heating system test are diagnostics typically used by auditors to identify improvements.
- Contractors will need your most recent utility bills. Have these ready at the audit.
Choosing a Contractor
- There are many accredited contractors operating in upstate New York. Visit contractor websites and call multiple contractors to compare rates and services offered.
- Ask if the contractor performs comprehensive home energy upgrades in-house. and what services are sub-contracted to other contractors.
- Ask lots of questions. Ask about credentials and certifications, if the contractor performs comprehensive home energy upgrades in-house, and what incentives the contractor can help you qualify for.
- Ask friends and neighbors for names of contractors they have experience with. Get references from the contractor and speak directly to former customers. Check the contractor's accreditation with the Better Business Bureau by visiting http://welcome.bbb.org.
- For more tips about choosing a contractor go to: www.nyknowyourcontractor.com