Recipe #16: Free Energy Efficiency Upgrades for Renters & Homeowners Happening Now

Sustainability Life Recipe Series

comments

What practical things can we do in our daily lives to protect our living environment, save money, and contribute to good jobs for people in our community?

We’ve done the research and these steps in the areas of local food, building energy, waste reduction and transportation are a great place to start. The Sustainability Life Recipes series will focus on ways to save money, go green, and learn about resources to support your journey. Have an idea? Send us a note at sustainability@cornell.edu

Making your home more energy efficient is a smart investment. Energy efficiency upgrades lead to lower utility costs while reducing harmful emissions and promoting jobs for our community members. The list of benefits continues. Despite our most genuine desires, however, sometimes we simply cannot afford to upgrade our homes. We have all been there, and we are thrilled to share how you can start maximizing energy savings today, at no cost.

Thanks to both local and federal home energy efficiency programs, eligible renters and homeowners may apply for free home energy assessments and upgrades. Explore these programs below.

Free Energy Upgrade Programs

  1. EmPower New York: If your family earns less than 60% of the state’s median income ($53,484 for a family of 4 in 2018), you may qualify for no-cost energy upgrades such as:
    • Installation of high-efficiency lighting
    • Attic and wall insulation
    • Replacement of old, inefficient refrigerators and freezers
    • Water-saving showerheads

Currently, EmPower New York provides free energy upgrades to 135,000 of our neighbors.

  1. Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP): WAP uses the same eligibility criteria as EmPower New York. This program is available for income-qualified homeowners, renters, and landlords. Energy saving services can include:
    • Insulation and air sealing
    • Heating systems repairs or replacements
    • Energy efficient lightbulbs, faucets, and showerheads
    • Installation of Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors and smoke detectors

WAP is administered locally by Tompkins Community Action (TCAction), an organization that helps over 6,000 individuals and families each year reach their full potential without spending a dime. TCAction’s WAP is currently looking for applications! You may contact their office with questions at (607) 273-8816. Note: TCAction’s main office is undergoing construction, so calling is the best contact method.

You can find other counties served by state-level WAP here.

Before completing upgrades, auditors will perform home energy assessments to figure out exactly which energy improvements your home requires. You should accompany the auditor to learn the most about your home’s energy needs. Based on the assessment, auditors will recommend actions to enhance the comfort and safety of your home and reduce your energy bills

How to Apply

  1. Download a combined application for EmPower New York and WAP.
  2. Fill out the application.
  3. Mail the application to Linda Nash, 701 Spencer Road, Ithaca, New York 14850.

Determine Your Savings

Here is one assessment tool from Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) you can use to get a sense of potential savings.

Not Income-Eligible?

Don’t worry – there are still great resources to help you save on energy upgrades. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provides assistance to New York State residents looking for home energy upgrades. Find the program that suits your needs.

Start your energy upgrade process today, and enjoy the lasting benefits of sustainability at home – lower energy bills, a more.

Views expressed in News posts may not be those of Cornell University. No endorsement is implied.