dreamstime_12066145-2Financial incentives for energy efficiency, solar and wind are a moving target in New York state.  Looking to save money and have a more comfortable home? Energy efficiency is the fisrt step.  Combining incentives, tax breaks and outright free services can save you enough to pay for the kids college.

How to begin?

Be prepared. Get a Free Certified Energy Audit.This will determine where you are really loosing heat and money (It’s some times not the obvious!) and the best Return on Investment for your energy saving dollars.

Start by looking up certified energy auditors on NYSERDA’s page.

Next, and most importantly, do due diligence, the contractor you select to do the free audit should be great. (Like all contractors there are good and bad BPI certified contractors.) The reason your free auditor should be great is that only the company that does your audit will be willing to complete work suggested in the audit. (Work specified in the audit qualifies for incentives and low cost loans.) While contractors may be eligible to do the work, few if any would be willing to risk doing work specified in another person’s audit.

Get 3 Glowing references from satisfied customers that had free audits and completed work with the contractor.

(Check out this script for phoning those references!)

Trust your gut, work with people you trust.

Check with the Better Business Bureau, ask if there are any complaints against the company.

Review the Department of Energy’s  Prepare for Your Auditor page

Ask them to show you a sample of one of their audits. (Check out this sample of a church energy audit)

Set ups a very specific contract, include dates of service, specific products, sealants, brands and methods of installation. Some contractors promise custom wooden windows and install vinyl standard sized windows instead.

Feeling like a babe in the woods? Know that NYSERDA will look over every proposal that they are funding.  They will not fund something that doesn’t make good financial sense and have energy savings.

Double check the math, some auditors lean towards certain products and services.  Review the data in the BPI report before choosing what home renovations you will do.  To keep on top of the changing landscape of incentive offers let DSIRE do the research for you.  Check them frequently for updated offers from government entities and utility companies.

Most importantly start now. Like all investments your return can only start happening when you’ve invested.