An Easy Way to Stop Throwing Money Away

Let’s face it: it’s expensive to heat our homes and businesses, and I know I won’t run into much opposition when I say that we all hate throwing our money away (it’s also terrible for the environment).

Whether we want to stop hemorrhaging money, do our part to fight climate change, or both, there is a simple way to get the ball rolling: contact NYSERDA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and request their free comprehensive energy assessments (for home and business) and low-cost financing options, also for home and business.

I was inspired by the assessment that was performed at the EA office, and am having an audit on my home in just a couple of weeks. Requesting information is easy and cost-free (see below), and the auditor will give your property a thorough review and make recommendations on how to proceed. Once you have chosen the steps to lower energy bills that are right for you, NYSERDA even offers financing options, so saving money by making your home more energy efficient is within everyone’s reach. Bottom line is that this is a great way to get a free service from the state which will improve your quality of life.

Wasted Energy

Did you know that heating and cooling costs account for approximately 50 percent of homeowner’s energy bills? If your heating and cooling equipment is more than 10 years old, you could save as much as $200 per year by retrofitting with ENERGY STAR certified equipment! Homes and buildings in New York State are responsible for emitting 31 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation comes in at 34 percent, and power plants at 21 percent. And nearly 40 percent of New York homes were built prior to 1940, when energy efficiency wasn’t even a blip on the screen.

An Audit at Work

We here at Environmental Advocates of New York just began the process of becoming more energy efficient at our Albany location. We filled out NYSERDA's application for businesses and non-profits, and met with Mark, an energy auditor from L&S Energy Services, who performed an in-depth, top-to-bottom energy assessment on the entire building. Mark checked our basement, the lights throughout the building, the insulation above the drop ceiling, the thermostats, and our central cooling and heating system on the roof. He measured our windows, the thickness of our roof, and asked how long it took to heat the building. The whole audit process took a couple of hours (our building is larger than your average home). It was akin to putting our building through an “annual physical” with the doctor. 

Mark will now create a detailed report with his findings, after which he will meet with us to discuss which improvements make the most sense. NYSERDA is then there for us should we choose to go the route of low-interest loans for businesses and non-profits to help pay for the improvements. Possible modifications range from adding insulation, replacing the furnace, incorporating Energy Star certified appliances, or installing energy efficient windows and/or light bulbs. 

An Audit at Home

I am going through the energy audit process for my home. Last winter our heating bills were astronomical, in part because drafts throughout our 100-plus year old house would cause our dog Rooster’s water bowl to frost over. This plagued us for the entire season. So with winter right around the corner, I took 5 minutes and filled out NYSERDA’s application and made an appointment with a local certified contractor. The next step will involve picking the right financing option for homeowners.

Request Your Free Audit

Visit NYSERDA’s website at, fill out the application, and choose a local contractor. They’ll get back to you with the details to schedule an appointment that works for you, and you’ll be on your way to saving money and the environment.