O&R's Energy Efficiency Programs
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For Homes and Residential Properties:

Start with an Home Energy Assessment if you've not had one recently.

Adding insulation and air sealing should be your next step, unless it was recently done.

Switch out any incandescent lights with energy efficient options.

Replace inefficient heating and air conditioning units with higher efficiency ENERGY STAR rated units.

Seal leaks around windows, doors and skylights, replace single pane windows and skylights with ENERGY STAR qualified units.

You have done all the energy efficiency upgrades - consider buying renewable energy or install a solar, wind or geothermal system.

For Business, Non-Profit and Municipal Properties:

Start with an Comprehensive Energy Assessment unless one has been completed recently.

Upgrade old style Incandescent, Metal-Halide and "T12" (1½ inch diameter tubes) Fluorescent lights with energy efficient options.

Replace inefficient HVAC equipment with higher efficiency units.

Seal leaks around windows, doors and skylights, replace single pane windows and skylights with ENERGY STAR qualified units.

Consider buying renewable energy or install a solar, wind or geothermal system,

Comprehensive Energy Assessment

A comprehensive energy assessment, also known as an energy audit, is the first step to assess how much energy your property consumes and to evaluate what steps you can take to make your property more energy efficient, more comfortable and provide a heathy environment to live and work in. An assessment will show problems that may, when corrected, save you significant amounts of money over time and enhanced the value of the property.

Home Energy Assessment
Energy StarA home energy assessment pinpoint where your house is losing energy. Energy assessments also determine the efficiency of your home's heating and cooling systems, and show you ways to conserve hot water and electricity. You can perform a simple energy assessment yourself, or have a energy professional carry out a more thorough assessment.

A quick way to start is to collect last 12 months of utility bills for your home and use the Home Energy Yardstick to compare the home's energy use to similar homes across the country and see how your home measures up. The whole process takes about 5 minutes. Click here to get started. Afterward be sure to use the Home Energy Advisor to get recommendations for energy-saving home improvements for typical homes in your area.

Consider hiring a home energy professional who can use a variety of techniques and equipment to determine the energy efficiency of a structure - such as blower door, which measure the extent of leaks in the house envelope, and infrared cameras, which reveal hard-to-detect areas of air leaks and missing insulation.

Here is a video showing some of the ways that a professional home energy auditor may test a home during an assessment, and helps you understand how an assessment can help identify energy savings.

Green Jobs Green New YorkMost Rockland County households are eligible for a free or reduced cost residential energy audit, through the GREEN JOBS GREEN NEW YORK program.

A free energy audit is available for Rockland County residents with annual household income less than $203,400 and not already received a free/reduced cost audit. A reduced cost energy audit is available for annual household income greater than $203,400 but less than $406,800.
Download Application and Learn More!

Comprehensive Commercial Energy Study
Energy StarA commercial building energy assessment is a study of a facilities energy consumption and energy using equipment. It is performed by a a professional specialized in energy assessments. The study analyzes utility bills over multiple years to identify patterns, interviews facility personnel, inspects lighting, air conditioning, heating and ventilation equipment, building controls, air compressors, steam systems, and anything else that uses a lot of energy. A comprehensive energy assessment will also recommend economically justified energy projects.

The scope of an energy assessment can vary dramatically depending on the facility and the intended purpose of the study. ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers) has set standards for energy studies. It is common to refer to the details covered by an energy assessment by level of assessment - from Level 1 to Level 3.

Level 1 assessment performs a walk-through of the facility and inspect the condition of the building and equipment to identify deficiencies and equipment issues. Benchmarking using utility bills is often included to compare the facility to national stock of facilities with similar purpose and occupancy schedule.

Level 2 assessment adds to the scope of Level 1 economic analysis and may include installing meters and other measurement devices to further identify energy consumption and losses by the different parts of the facility.

Level 3 assessment adds to the scope of Level 1 and Level 2 computer modeling to simulate the energy consumption patterns of the various facility systems over four seasons. The computer model allows for "What If" comparisons of different operating scenarios for the facility.

As the complexity and magnitude of capital investment increases, higher level of assessment is needed to support decision making.

NYSERDA has a program offering subsidized Level 1 energy assessments to businesses and organizations.

Learn more NYSERDA's Subsidized Energy Assessment

For levels 2 and 3 assessments, NYSERDA's FlexTech Program offers to co-pay upto 50% of a customized energy study performed by Specialized Consultants.

Learn More NYSERDA's FlexTech Program

The Lighten Up program, sponsored by Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc. helps small business owners save energy and money by providing modern, high-efficiency electrical fixtures at a fraction of their normal cost.

"Lighten Up" Big Savings for Small Businesses

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Save Money and Improve Comfort with Air Sealing and Insulation

Sealing leaks and adding insulation are some of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more comfortable and energy efficient.

Air leaks is most noticeable in the winter. Most people call these air leaks “drafts.” Although you may feel drafts mostly around windows and doors and think these leaks are your major source of wasted energy, in most homes, however, the most significant air leaks are hidden in the attic and basement. These are the leaks that will significantly raise energy bill and make the house uncomfortable.

In cold weather, warm air rises just like it does in a chimney. You are paying to heat the air that is wasted as it rises up into your attic and sucks cold air in all around your home—around windows, doors, and through holes into the basement.

The illustrations on the right show warm air leaving (red arrows) the house through the attic and cold air being pulled into the house (blue arrows). Locating these leaks can be difficult because they are often hidden under your insulation.

Click this link to download a ENERGY STAR DIY Guide that will help you find these leaks and seal them with appropriate materials.

A skilled Home Performance Contractor will evaluate your home from top to bottom and use sophesticated instruments to find all the leaks. Click here to find a qualified home performance contractor near you.

Air Leaks

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Energy Saving Windows, Doors and Skylights

Exterior windows, doors and skylights are openings in the envelop of the house. Its perimeters are often locations with poor insulation and air leaks. Adding insulation and sealing with weather stripping and caulking can go a long way to improve energy efficiency. If you have already done all the insulation and air sealing work, then replacing exterior windows, doors and skylights can further improve comfort and reduce energy usage.

Number of glass panes, insulation material, construction and installation quality will all impact the energy efficiency of the windows, doors and skylights. For example, older single pane glass (one piece of glass) windows has poor insulation value and are often 'drafty', requring a warmer thermostat setting to be comfortable. New energy efficient windows has two or more panes of glass with insulation gas between the panes and are constructed to minimize air infiltration.

Buy Replacement Windows, Doors and Skylights
Energy StarChoosing an ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors and skylights is an easy way to insure you are buying an energy efficient product.

In the winter the interior glass of ENERGY STAR qualified windows with two or more panes of glass will stays warmer, compared to inefficient windows with cold, inside surface pulling heat away from your body.

In the summer most ENERGY STAR qualified windows reduce the “heat gain” into your home more than typical windows do, without reducing the visible light. Compare to standard windows that allows approximately 75 percent of the sun’s heat into your home, ENERGY STAR windows keep the house cooler which lowers cost of air conditoning your home.

As of January 4, 2010, ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors, and skylights meet new performance levels. But it's still easy to find high-efficiency products: just look for the ENERGY STAR label.

Learn more about the benefits of ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors and skylights

Find ENERGY STAR products

ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors and skylights are also eligible for Federal and State tax credits:

Federal Tax Credit

New York State Tax Incentives

Commercial Building Federal Tax Deduction

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Efficient Space Heating and Cooling

Many New York State homes and commercial buildings can spent over 44% of their utility bill on space heating and air conditioning. If the furnace, boiler and air conditioner is over 20 years old or is in need of repair, making smart decisions about replacing heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) appliances can have a big effect on utility bills and comfort.

Before rushing into a replacement decision, compare energy efficiency of the different options!

Energy efficiency of HVAC equipment has improved dramatically in the recent years. For knowledgeable customers, comparing equipment's energy ratings, such as AFUE, COP, EER, SEER, kW/ton provides a direct way of determining improvements over the existing equipment.

Improve the Energy Efficiency of Residential HVAC Appliances
Energy StarChoosing an ENERGY STAR qualified appliance is an easy way to insure you buy an energy efficient product for your home.

Find ENERGY STAR products

Take advantage of Utility incentives to upgrade your appliances:

Appliance Rebate & Recycling

Gas Heating & Water Heating Equipment Rebates

Convert Oil or Propane Heating to Natural Gas Rebate

Solar-Electric Systems

"The Power of Green" Tips

Multi-Family (5-50 units)

Rebates for High-Efficiency Natural Gas Equipment and Duct Sealing

Improve the Energy Efficiency of Commercial HVAC Equipment
Prior to replacing HVAC equipment in commercial buildings, the facility should perform an energy assessment if no study has been done in several years.

Take advantage of the utility incentives to upgrade your equipment:
Orange & Rockland
"Lighten Up" Big Savings for Small Businesses
Appliance Rebate & Recycling
Commercial and Industrial Existing Buildings Program

Did you know that a programmable thermostat could be a very low cost way of trimming energy costs?

Energy efficienct heating and cooling appliances and equipment are also be eligible for Federal and State tax credits:

Learn more by watching a Programmable Thermostat Video Podcast

Energy efficienct heating and cooling appliances and equipment are also be eligible for Federal and State tax credits:

Federal Tax Credit

New York State Tax Incentives

Commercial Building Federal Tax Deduction

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Save Money with Energy Efficient Lighting

An average New York State home spent about $200 of their annual utility bill on lighting. For commercial buildings, more electricity is often consumed by lighting than any other individual electric end use. In some cases lights are responsible for over 1/3 of the location's electric energy consumption.

Switch to Fluorescent Lights Saves Money
Upgrading lights is often one of the very best and relatively easy energy upgrade item that can pay itself back within a short period of time.

When possible you should replace old style Incandescent, Metal-Halide and "T12" (1½ inch diameter tubes) Fluorescent lights with energy efficient T8 (1-inch diameter tubes) and T5 (5/8-inch diameter tubes) lights and ballasts. There are many luminaire styles available to fit the decor of any home or building. By paying attention to the color "temperature" and "color rendering index" of the replacement lights, you are sure to find attractive and healthy lights well matched to your needs.
Energy Star For example, a single CFL will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in less than 6 months at New York State's average electricity rate of 16.57 cents/kWh. Source: U.S Energy Information Administration

A CFL bulb will also use 75 percent less electricity and last much longer than an incandescent bulb. Learn more:

CFL Savings Calculator

Learn About CFL Recycling

Learn How CFLs Work

Take advantage of the utility incentives to upgrade business lighting:

"Lighten Up" Big Savings for Small Businesses

Should You Consider "LED" Lights?
Energy StarOn the horizon and constantly improving are solid-state lights made of "Light Emitting Diodes" or LEDs. LED lights are already widely used in low-power flat screen TVs, holiday and decorative lights, and emergency lights in commercial buildings, for exmples. LEDs are also begining to be used in street lights, traffic lights and in certain interior lighting applications.
Energy StarYou can buy LED replacement for incandescent bulbs today in many different configurations. However, they are comparatively expensive and some may not perform very well. Source: U.S Energy Information Administration

You should look for LED products registered with the "Lighting Facts" program of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and has a "Lighting Facts Label" on the package before purchase.

Find registered LED lights

Learn more about where LED lights should be considered:

Promising LED applications

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Renewable Energy

Renewable energy are electricity, thermal energy or fuel created by resources that are clean and renewable. Examples are electricity generated by using Solar and Wind energy, and Geothermal systems using constant temperature of the Earth to heat and cool homes and businesses.

You can choose to buy and install a renewable energy system at your home or businesses to satisfy some or all of your electricity consumption, or choose to buy electricity generated by renewable resources from your utility company.

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) refers to generating electricity from sunlight. Sunlights are converted to electricity using solar panels typically installed on the roof. Solar panels are wired to an "Inverter", which connects to the home or building's main electric service. In New York State, if you are not using all of electricity generated by the solar panel, the excess will go to the grid and your account will be credited. During the time when the solar panel is generating excess electricity your meter will run 'backwards.' In reality, a new electric meter will be installed with your system that can separate the electricity coming from the grid from the utility generated by the solar panels.

Wind turbines converts wind energy to electricity by spinning propeller-like blades around a rotor. The rotor spins a generator to create electricity. Wind turbines are mounted on a tower to capture the most energy. At a height of 100 feet (30 meters) or more above ground, the turbine can take advantage of faster and less turbulent wind. In residential or commercial areas the hight of the turbine may be restricted by code or by nearby structures, limiting the wind speed and the production of electricity. In New York State, you will be credited by the utility for any excess electricity generated but not used, which is recorded by a new electric meter separating the electricity supplied by the utility from the electricity generated by the wind turbine.

Geothermal refers to the use of the stable temperature of the ground to heat or cool a home or a building. A piece of equipment called the "Heat Pump" provides air conditioning in the summer by disspating the heat from a house or building below ground where the earth temperature is much cooler. In the winter the heat pump provides heating by using the warmth from underground where the earth temperature is much warmer compared to the ambient air. Geothermal systems are effcient because it theoretically eliminates a separate heating source like a furnace or a condensing coil of an air conditioner. Boreholes typically hundreds of feet deep or horizontal trenches are needed to provide enough geothermal energy for heating or cooling. In some cases, a small furnace or air conditoner is still needed for those extremely cold or hot days.

Buy Renewble Energy for Homes or Businesses
Anyone can sign-up under Sterling Planet’s Sterling Wind™ program to buy nationally sourced 100% wind energy.

Sterling Wind™ Options

Should You Consider Installing a Solar PV System?
Solar PV is a very environmental friendly way of generating electricity. Once you have done all the energy efficiency upgrades, an onsite solar PV system will further lower your utility cost and continue your effort to be 'green.' Solar panels are commonly installed on the roof to avoid shadows. Today's solar panels could last 20+ years so be sure the roof itself will not need to be replaced or repaired soon.

Most of the residential PV systems do not have batteries to store electricity so it is not a backup power source during a power outage. Also utility requires that all PV systems connected to the power grid be disconnected or deactivated in the event of a power outage to protect their service personnel working on the power lines.

If you are interested, contact a qualified Solar Installer in your area to perform an analysis of the building or home to determine whether the location is suitable. The Solar Installer will also check how much sun is available on your roof and if there are structures or trees nearby that could cast a shadow on the solar panels. You will learn from the analysis how much solar electricity is poosible at your location, how much will a system cost and how much will it offset your electricity usage from the grid.

Currently in New York State, installing a solar PV system at a residential and commercial building is eligible for $1.75 per watt ($1,750 per kW) of incentive from NYSERDA. There are also Federal Tax credit available up to 30% of the system cost. Additionally, a PV system is 100% exempted from New York State sales tax and qualifies for State personal tax credit for 25% of the PV system cost.

Check out the links here for more incentive information:

Orange & Rockland Solar Electric Program

Estimate solar system costs & savings

NYSERDA incentive guideline

Federal Tax Credit

New York State Tax Incentives

Should You Consider Installing a Wind Turbine System?
Installing a small wind turbine to generate electricity can help to lower electric cost. In rural locations buying and installing a wind electric system may avoid running power lines and reduce the cost of high electric usages, such as water pumping, irrigation, etc.

Check whether your property has good wind resource by contacting a qualified Wind Installer to perform a study. Also check if your local zoning codes or covenants will allow wind turbines. Outside of urban areas, NYSERDA has a Wind Resource Explorer for New York State that estimates show much wind generated electricity is possible for your location. For building-mounted turbines or for turbines to be installed in an urban environment, please engage a qualified Wind Installer to perform a study.

NYSERDA offers incentives for installing a wind turbine electric system at a residential location or a commercial building. The incentive level will be based on the expected annual energy output (AEO) of the proposed wind energy system. Also the wind turbine must be one from NYSERDA's list of Eligible Wind Turbines.

NYSERDA's incentive level is summarized here:

If the AEO is 10,000 kWh or less, than the NYSERDA incentive is $3.50 per kWh.

If the AEO is greater than 10,000 kWh, but not greater than 125,000 kWh, than the NYSERDA incentive is $35,000 plus $1.00 per kWh for every kWh greater than 10,000 kWh.

If the AEO is greater than 125,000 kWh, than the NYSERDA incentive is $150,000 plus $.30 per kWh for every kWh greater than 125,000 kWh.

The maximum NYSERDA incentive available is $400,000 per turbine.

Check out NYSERDA website for complete incentive information.

Small wind turbine system is also eligible for Federal and State tax credits:

Federal Tax Credit

New York State Tax Incentives

Should You Consider Installing a Solar Hot Water Heater?
Solar thermal system heats hot water using sun’s energy to heat air or fluid. The air or fluid then use the solar energy to heat water for your home or business. The solar water heaters may be a good investment, particularly if you heat hot water with electricity. Although solar water heaters cost more initially than conventional water heaters, they have no fuel cost and can payback the higher initial cost over the life of the system. Solar thermal system can be used in any climate.

To consider solar thermal system you will need an unshaded areas that faces south for the solar collectors. A professional installer can evaluate your roof as a location for collectors. If your roof doesn’t have enough space, you can also install the system on the ground.

An average New York State household spends 14%** of it's annual utility bills on heating water, or about $354 a year. The cost would likely be higher for homes that heats water with electricity.

** Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration 2005 Residential Energy Consumption Survey

You can lower the utility costs for heating water by first doing following simple steps:
• Turn down water temperature
• Wash cloth in cold water (water heating accounts for 90% of energy used by washers!)
• Wrap an old Water Heater in insulation jacket and insulate hot water pipes

A solar hot water system can further reduce energy needed to heat water. Although it has a higher upfront cost compared to conventional natural gas or electric system, today's solar hot water systems are cost competitive when you consider total energy cost over the entire life of the system**.

** U.S. Department of Energy

NYSERDA is providing incentives for the installation of new solar hot water systems in homes or businesses that is using electricity to heat water. The incentive is calculated at the rate of $1.50 per kWh of electricity saved, upto $4,000 per home and $25,000 per commercial facility with an electric utility meter. The incentives are paid directly to "Eligible Installers" that has applied on behalf of the residential or business customers. There are addition eligibility criteria and program rules. Contact a "Eligible Installers" that is offering this program in your area.

To learn more about the NYSERDA incentives for solar hot water systems, download the Customer Step-by-Step Guide and the Program Manual:

NYSERDA Solar Thermal Program

To learn more about solar hot water systems, download U.S. Department of Energy's Consumer's Guide:

Heat Your Water with the Sun

Should You Consider Installing a Geothermal Heat Pump?
Geothermal heat pumps (sometimes referred to as earth-coupled ground-source heat pumps) have been in use for decades to provide very high efficiency summer cooling and winter heating. The efficiency is the highest when the difference between the air temperature and the earth temperature is the greatest. For example, according to the U.S. DOE, using Geothermal Heat Pump for winter heat can reach 300%-600% efficiency on the coldest of winter nights, compared to 175%-250% on cool days.

The installation price of a Geothermal system can be several times that of a conventional air heating and cooling system of the same capacity. However, the additional costs are returned to you in energy savings. System life is estimated at 25 years for the inside components and 50+ years for the ground loop.

Contact a qualified Geothermal Installer in your area to survey your location and your existing heating and cooling system to determine whether a Geothermal system can benefit you.

Geothermal systems are eligible for Federal and State tax incentives:

Federal Tax Credit

New York State Tax Incentives

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