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NYSERDA hits 50,000 mark for energy-efficient homes program


In the past 12 years, 50,000 homes across the state have gone through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) energy star home performance program.

The 50,000th project was completed in Rochester in western New York, and NYSERDA officials say the number of energy-saving projects in the upstate region are expected to rise as winter approaches.

Founded in 2001, the agency’s home performance program provides free home energy assessments to help homeowners cut energy use and costs.

Under the program, residents are offered some financial incentives to help make necessary changes that will cut their consumption.

Joe Morabito owns the home that ticked over the 50,000 project mark. He says there was a lot of room for improvement in his family’s 60-year-old house.

“We have seen a dramatic improvement, especially on the second floor. The heat actually stays in because they actually went above in both the ceilings too which had no insulation and blew in insulation and it helps to hold the heat in a lot better than it used to.”

Morabito says their house used to have cold pockets in some of the rooms, with noticeable drafts from poorly sealed doorways. It’s now much more comfortable, he says, for his family and the kids who attend family daycare there during the week.

He says they’ve seen only a slight improvement on their energy bills so far, but expect to see better returns during the winter months.

Home performance program manager for NYSERDA, John Ahearn, says winter does showcase the benefits of an energy-efficient home.

“Home performance does come into people’s minds as the weather starts to get cold, so we do expect that the next few months will be busy in the program,” Ahearn says.

“We hope that having reached 50,000 homes that we’re beginning to create a critical mass that will allow the program to grow much more quickly in the coming years.”

Ahearn says most homes that go through the program are saving about 20 percent in energy use.

He says the system also helps contractors who partner with the program to recommend long-term solutions that will make homes more efficient, instead of remaining stuck in a cycle of seasonal repairs and installments.

Ahearn says a whole-house comprehensive approach to reducing home energy use is beneficial to both New York homeowners and the environment.

WXXI/Finger Lakes Reporter for the Innovation Trail
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