Healthy Environment, Strong Communities, Accountable Government

Residential Energy Efficiency Codes

New York State legislation follows model of Energy Star Homes codes adopted by ten Long Island towns.

A bill to amend the State Energy Conservation Construction Code (S6912- Foley/A10288 Englebright) would set a higher energy efficiency standard for new homes bult in New York State, and would require performance verification of all new homes by an independent Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rater. This will result in homes that are more comfortable, save energy, save money, and reduce our carbon footprint.

The legislation passed this year in the State Senate, unfortunately the bill was not voted on in the Assembly. We are asking our members and supporters to contaict their Assembly Members and urge them to pledge their support for the bill in the next legislative session.

This bill is unique in that it will set a minimum performance-based standard for the energy efficiency of new residential construction, and require performance testing of,all new homes built, to ensure that the standard is met. This will save energy and money, protect the environment, and foster the development of green jobs in New York State.

The proposed law would create a minimum standard of energy efficiency for low-rise residential construction based on performance testing of every new building constructed. Under the proposal new homes built in the state would be required to meet a score of at least 84 on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS). This indicates that the home is at least 20% more efficient than a similar home built to conventional standards. New homes that are 6,000 square feet or larger would be required to meet a higher efficiency standard (HERS score of 87, or 35% more efficient than a similar home), because larger homes use more energy.

The amendment would also require the rating to be performed by an independent, certified HERS rater, to ensure that the standard is being met in all cases. The independent verification, based on actual performance data, is crucial to realizing energy savings. Studies have shown as much as 45% to 54% percent of homes do not perform to energy efficiency code standards when there is no verification.

Read our Action Alert Flier on this important bill.

You can find a memo in support and the full text of the bill on the New York State Assembly web site.

Write your State Senator and Assembly Member in support on this important energy saving bill. To find out who your State Senator and Assembly member are, visit the New York State Board of Elections web site at:

Sample Letter to your Assembly Member

Dear Assembly(man/woman) ___________,

I am very concerned about the effects of local air pollution and global climate change, and national security implications of our dependence on foreign oil.

I am writing to ask you to support the amendment to the State Energy Law to require greater energy efficiency and mandatory energy performance testing of new homes. (A10288-A Englebright) This law would reduce the carbon footprint of all new homes built in New York State, reduce air pollution, save new homeowners on energy costs and keep money in the State’s economy, and create new, green jobs — all at virtually no cost to taxpayers. The “same as” bill (S6912A Foley) was passed by the State Senate. I urge you to work to pass the bill in the Assembly.

Please write back to me, indicating your position on this bill, and what your plans are to advance it as soon as possible.



Energy Star® Homes

The Energy Star program sets out more stringent construction specifications designed to make buildings more energy efficient; generally about 30% savings in energy used for heating, cooling, and water heating can be achieved as compared with homes built to the existing National 1993 Model Energy Code. Currently, LIPA has an excellent program in place to provide financial incentives to encourage builders to follow a purely voluntary Energy Star labeling program for new home construction.

The average Long Island home could spend about $6,200 dollars a year on energy, based on that figure an Energy Star Home on L.I. would save about $1,236 a year on energy costs. The additional construction costs for meeting the higher standards have been estimated at between $2000 and $4000. (Some have pointed out that those costs could be lowered as the techniques and materials used become more standard and the market develops.) The cost of energy saved far outweighs any additional mortgage payments as a result of higher construction costs. As a result, Energy Star Homes are more affordable from the first year of ownership.


Annual Energy Savings: $1236
Annual Increased Mortgage Cost: $56.88*
Annual Net Savings: $1,179.12

*Based on $2000 increased construction cost, $1250 LIPA incentive, and a 30-year, 6.5% mortgage


Home Energy Rater Frazer Dougherty demonstrates the "blower door" test that is part of the performance testing required for all Energy Star Labelled Homes.

In addition to saving money, Energy Star Homes are better for the environment. Because they use less energy, each Energy Star home results in 2.25 fewer tons of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere each year than a home that only meets the basic Model Energy Code requirements. (According to the U.S. EPA)


Click Here to view LI News Tonight Energy Star Press Conference in Oceanside

Click Here to view LI News Tonight Coverage

Click Here to view LI News Tonight- NYIT Solar House



Radio show -- Friday Morning Forums

Debate over effort to get every town on Long Island to adopt a new energy efficiency standard for all new home construction on Long Island called the Energy Star Homes Law.
Also discussed is the new law in Southampton to require that people seeking permits for new pool heaters, must get solar thermal heaters first, and only use the propane heaters as a back-up system.

To listen to the program Click Here

Below is the article from the Independent covering the Southampton Law which is discussed in the debate.

Click on image twice to read.


September 12, 2008 Sag Harbor Express article:

Pool Execs Don’t Take New Law Swimmingly


Click here to download a PDF of our presentation on Energy Star Homes to the Brookhaven Town Board.


Town Energy Conservation Construction Codes

Under New York State law, local municipalities can adopt energy conservation construction codes that are more stringent that the State base-line code. The Neighborhood Network has proposed that all Long Island towns make the Energy Star standards a requirement for all new home construction in their town.

The first New York State town to adopt such a law was the Town of Greenburgh. The Towns of Brookhaven, Babylon, Riverhead, Oyster Bay, and Southampton have all passed local laws requiring Energy Star Homes standards, and the Neighborhood Network is contacting all the Towns on Long Island to encourage them to enact this policy, several more have expressed interest in amending their town codes to require Energy Star standards.

Neighborhood Network Executive Director, Neal Lewis speaking at the press conference announcing the Towns of Babylon and Brookhaven's passage of the Energy Star Homes law. With Neal, from left to right: Brookhaven Council Member Connie Kepert who introduced the law in Brookhaven, Brookhaven Supervisor Brian Foley, Babylon Supervisor Steve Bellone, LIPA Chair Richard Kessel, and Edward Flax of Emmy Builders, builders of the Energy Star Home in the background.

The Newsday editorial board strongly endorsed the proposed code change, calling it a "bold, pioneering step toward energy conservation":


Look for an Energy Star Labelled home.

For more information about Energy Star Homes you can visit the EPA Energy Star web site:
or the New York Energy Smart web site:


Neighborhood Network
7180 Republic Airport, East Farmingdale, NY 11735 Tel: (631) 963-5454
Advocates for Long Island's Environment