Tenney: Knowing Your Energy Use Can Help Cut Costs

A Legislative Column from Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R,C,I-New Hartford)
July 14, 2011
New York State has the highest energy costs in the nation. While I continue working to address this issue in the State Legislature, there are many steps residents and employers can take at home or at work to help reduce their energy costs.

We all know to turn off the lights when you leave the room and many residents and businesses have taken advantage of the state’s incentive programs to purchase ENERGY STAR® appliances, but many home and building owners do not know their energy use – the efficiency of the building itself. Unlike the engineering inspection undertaken during the purchase of a new home or business, most residents and employers don’t know to ask for a whole-house comprehensive energy assessment; however, there is a program to help make this assessment more affordable.

The Green Jobs-Green New York Act, which was updated during this year’s legislative session, makes it possible for the majority of New Yorkers to obtain a free or reduced-cost assessment with a BPI-accredited Home Performance contractor in your area. To participate in this program or learn more, please visit the New York State Energy Research Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) website at www.getenergysmart.org/Resources/FindPartner.

Additionally, there are steps one can take at home or at work to identify ways to make your building more energy-efficient, including ensuring an even level of insulation in your attic, tightening leaking faucets in the bathrooms and kitchen, replacing dirty furnace filters and having your furnace inspected and cleaned regularly, reducing drafts with weather-stripping around windows and doors, and unplugging unused appliances (even though appliances may be in "sleep" mode or turned off they will still use energy if plugged in).

I hope these simple tips help everyone in Oneida and Oswego counties stay cool this summer. For any assistance in obtaining your energy-efficiency assessment, please contact NYSERDA or my office in Westmoreland by calling (315) 853-2383 or e-mailing tenneyc@assembly.state.ny.us. I also encourage residents and business owners to share their energy efficient tips with me and their neighbors on my Facebook page.