Frequently Asked Questions
What is weatherization and who provides these services?
Weatherization provides energy improvements and savings for income eligible families and individuals who own and rent within a specific geographic area.
Weatherizing a home is about installing measures that cut energy costs. This would include air-sealing through weather stripping and caulking windows and doors, installing attic and sidewall insulation, and other measures designed to cut energy consumption in a home.
Weatherization services reduce the amount of energy required to heat and cool homes and provide hot water, thus reducing energy consumption, while minimizing the impact of higher fuel costs. Weatherization Assistance Providers assist income eligible families and individuals, with priority given to those with elderly or handicapped members, and to families with young children.
How can I connect with my local weatherization provider?
For those residents in Monroe County and outside the City of Rochester city limits, PathStone is the weatherization provider. For residents inside the City of Rochester, your weatherization provider is Action for a Better Community. If you do not live in Monroe County, you can find your local service provider through the NYSHCR website.
What is involved in the application process?
The program consists of a six step process: intake, waiting list, application, audit, weatherization and then a follow up inspection. Once we have completed the audit of your home, we may begin a range of free services depending on our findings:
In order to speed up the application process once you are on our waitlist, and after we send you the application, we suggest that you have: a proof of address and ownership of
property, a copy of a recent utility and heating bill, a print out of the previous 12 months of energy usage from your energy supplier, proof of income, and a proof of identity ready to submit.
Will the Pathstone Weatherization Assistance Program replace my old windows?
Unless they are diagnosed as beyond repair and an energy efficient issue, the PathStone WAP will not likely replace your windows.
Windows are not considered energy efficient improvements and do not save money in the long run. A full replacement is more costly than the savings you think you will realize. They will not save enough money to pay for the cost of the replacement. Old windows insulate the house just as effectively as ones with the proper maintenance.
What is the difference between the Weatherization Assistance Program, the Assisted Home Performance
Program, and the Home Performance Program?
New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal and The Department of Energy are the funding sources for the Weatherization Assistance Program. This program provides full grants to provide energy improvements at no cost for income eligible persons so they have a chance at saving money that would be spent on energy bills in order to build personal assets.
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is the funding source for the Assisted Home Performance Program. This program helps income-eligible families and individuals by reducing their heating/cooling costs and improving the safety of their homes through energy efficiency measures. The program provides a 50% grant up to $5,000 for single family homes and $10,000 for 2-4 unit buildings. The building owner will be responsible for the other 50% of the cost.
The Home Performance with Energy Star program provides educational information. Cost-effective energy efficient upgrades are available for your home regardless of your income. Home Energy Solutions provides this service for PathStone and offers a 10% discount to qualified customers.
How does the Weatherization Assistance Program work?
Individuals apply for weatherization through their local community action agency or weatherization operator. For example in Monroe, if you live in the City of Rochester, the weatherization provider you need to contact is Action for a Better Community and can be reached at 585-442-4160. If you live outside of the city yet inside Monroe County your weatherization provider is PathStone Corporation.
PathStone will review the household income to determine if the household is eligible to receive weatherization. This is done through an energy services intake form. After completing the intake form, eligible applicants will be sent an application when the time is appropriate on the waiting list. If the eligible applicant is approved, an audit will be completed on their home to determine which weatherization measures will be most energy efficient as well as cost-effective. The weatherization crew or contractor will visit the home and perform the work; the agency staff and contractors will then provide all of the education and improvements at no cost. Once the project is complete, a final inspection will be completed at a later date.
Is there a waiting list for the Weatherization Assistance Program?
PathStone does not set a time limit on the waiting list. Based on the current demand of the program there is a waiting list and is a priority of ours to work our way through the list as efficiently as possible. *** Those on the waiting list who are eligible for the WAP are also eligible for EmPower and will be sent an application to help move ahead with work. ***
There is a waiting list because the money we use to weatherize homes comes from federal and state funding sources which are contracted out every year. The program receives annual funding to service a limited number of homes per year.
Our waiting list is based off of a first come first served basis with priority given to the elderly or handicapped members, and families with young children. We thank you in advance for your patience if you decide to fill out our intake form to become part of our waiting list. Since the waiting list and application are both dependent on current income, we suggest that you contact us if any situations change in your life once you are on the waiting list so we can move through the waiting list faster.
Does the Weatherization Assistance Program perform no cost audits?
If you are eligible for the WAP your audit will be free. A full audit can take several hours. After the audit, you will receive a comprehensive report that provides health and safety, insulation, air sealing, mechanical, electrical, and consumer tips to help you save energy. If you do not qualify, you can hire our auditors to come out and provide an audit for a modest fee. Most homeowners qualify for a free audit.
If I had weatherization in the past, will I be eligible for a new year?
If your home has received weatherization assistance program services you will not be eligible for the program. The WAP allows a one time full weatherization per house or rented property. If you have received weatherization services in the past but you have moved, your new home could qualify for service if the household is income eligible.
Am I categorically eligible?
If you are receiving SSI, HEAP, NPA or food stamps you may be categorically pre-approved for our program. Please contact SSI, DSS, OFA, or your HEAP for a priority referral.
What can I do to make my home operate energy efficiently?
Before you think about buying energy efficient appliances like dishwashers, washer and dryer for laundry, furnaces, etc. start with reviewing your energy bills, then we suggest some basic do-it-yourself improvements and lifestyle changes such as caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows, using door draft guards on exterior doors, opening your blinds during the day to let the sun in and closing them at night to keep the cold air out, using energy efficient light bulbs, lowering your thermostat for at least 8 hours per day, using plastic film to cover your windows during the winter season, and turning off lights.
If you do not see drastic improvements in your energy bills consider a home energy audit with a company that has BPI certified auditors. Be cautious about free home energy assessments from contractors and other for-profit companies because these sometimes do not give the best advice for your individual needs. Remember, a sales person’s job is to make a sale and what they recommend could not always be in your best interest. For example, windows are not an energy efficient improvement; it’s recommended that you address energy saving improvements before aesthetics.
Small changes like door draft protectors, insulation, window caulking, outlet insulators, turning off lights, compact fluorescent light bulb replacements are all cheap and easy ways to see an improvement in your bills. Only after making these changes should you consider large purchases like dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, water heaters, and furnaces to see a return on investment.
What are some Do's and Don'ts to make my home energy efficient?
First, understand that every home is different than another. Suggestions from family members, friends, and contractors should be a part of the decision, however your energy efficient needs should be based off of your home.
Do: Be aware of what needs to be worked on in your house before it happens, keep track of your energy bills before making improvements, keep up with your home maintenance, begin with the basic energy improvements, swap all light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs, turn off the lights when not using, unplug electronics not in use, close unused registers, use weather stripping and caulking to prevent drafts, and seek advice from professionals.
Do Not: Purchase impulsively, listen to one sales person, leave your basement door open, and put off home maintenance until a problem occurs.
Does it really cost you money to adjust the thermostat?
It is a popular misconception that it is better to keep your home at a constant temperature because the boiler or furnace will "work harder" to bring the inside temperature back up from a 10 degree set-back.
Your heating system always runs at the same rate when it is on. The main variables are how long it remains on and off. Studies have proven that turning the thermostat back 10 degrees for an eight-hour period will save you 30% on your heating bill, on average. If you can't turn your thermostat down 10 degrees, try 5 degrees for at least 8 hours - every degree for 8 hours is roughly 3% of your heating bill saved. The longer your home remains at the lower temperature, the more it will provide savings. For example set your thermostat to a lower temperature after you fall asleep and while you're at work and then set it to a comfortable temperature for when you get home from work. Never lower your thermostat below 55 degrees or shut it off during the winter season otherwise you will run the risk of bursting your pipes.
As the season change and you decide to open your windows to let the Spring air in, remember to turn off your heat if the outside temperature is cooler than the inside temperature of your home or rental property. For example if your thermostat is set at 65 degrees and it is 58 degrees outside, your furnace will work harder to offset the temperature difference coming from the outside.
What if I need additional help with my heating costs?
The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps to fund the State Emergency Relief program that is operated through local DSS offices. HEAP helps with the cost of your heating bill. If you are a HEAP priority referral to the PathStone Corporation Weatherization Assistance Program, you will be given priority on the waitlist.
Please contact HEAP for more information at (585) 753-6477.
Where can I fax confidential information?
When we send you an application, you can fax your proof of income to 585-442-2039. Only your proof of income is fax acceptable since we require all original documents to be mailed to the attention to Christine Marshall at 400 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607.
For many, the home is the greatest investment and most important asset. We want to get the most out of our homes with the best value possible. For those who are looking into home performance upgrades or weatherization assistance, navigating through the information can be difficult. Different websites, programs, guidelines, and forms can leave you scratching your head and frustrated with the whole process. Part of our job is to clear the fog of information and direct you the program that best fits your needs. This FAQ page acts as a program information center. Please navigate through terms and links below that will help with interpretation of the process for each program.
This program offers homeowners a comprehensive, whole-house approach to improving energy efficiency and home comfort while saving money. Energy assessments and upgrades are conducted by a participating Home Performance contractor accredited by the Building Performance Institute (BPI). Income-qualified homeowners are eligible for additional incentives to make energy improvements. If you own a single-family home or a two- to four- unit building, you can take advantage of free or reduced-cost comprehensive home energy assessments, as well as a 10 percent cash-back incentive and low-interest financing for up to $25,000 in energy efficiency improvements.
This program offers all the benefits of Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, plus grants of up to $5,000 to cover as much as 50 percent of the cost of improvements. If you have a moderate to low income (60 to 80 percent of the AMI), you may qualify.
This is a program that allows families and individuals to make their home or apartment more energy efficient - for free. Income-eligible New Yorkers can get FREE upgrades that reduce energy bills. Now you don't have to choose between utilities and other necessities. You may now also be eligible for a coordinated Assisted Home Performance project to help complete your energy efficient installations.
Provides FREE assistance to income-eligible families and individuals by reducing their heating/cooling costs and improving the safety of their homes through energy efficiency measures. Energy efficiency measures performed through the program include air sealing (weatherstripping, caulking), wall and ceiling insulation, heating system improvements or replacement, efficiency improvements in lighting, hot water tank and pipe insulation, and refrigerator replacements with highly efficient ENERGY STAR rated units. Both single-family and multi-family buildings are assisted. Household energy use reductions and resultant energy cost savings are significant, with an average savings in excess of 20%. Individual households apply by contacting the provider that serves their area. For Monroe County outside the City of Rochester, your provider is PathStone.
NYSERDA offers a portfolio of programs and incentives for owners, facility managers, developers and condo/co-op boards of multifamily buildings with five or more units. Our initiatives make it easier to assess, fund, implement and measure energy efficiency upgrades that improve building performance and your bottom line.
What programs are available and which one(s) should I apply for?
The residential programs serviced through PathStone and its affiliates are available across New York State as a means to help individuals and families minimize energy costs and improve living conditions and home comfort. All New York State residents are eligible for one or more of these programs. The determining factor for each program's eligibility guidelines falls mainly upon your annual household income as it relates to your county's Area Median Income (AMI):
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) is for residents with a household income of 80 percent of the AMI or higher with no upper limit.
Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (AHP) is for residents with a household income of 60 to 80 percent of the AMI.
EmPower New York and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) are FREE programs for residents with a household income of 60 percent of the AMI or lower (HEAP eligible). Residents on the Weatherization waiting list will be sent an EmPower Application to get their work started started sooner.
NYSERDA's FlexTech Program connects businesses, organizations and institutions in New York with qualified professional consultants who conduct cost-shared comprehensive energy assessments so customers can make informed energy decisions. Eligible applicants include commercial and industrial facilities, state and local governments, not-for-profit and private institutions, public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities, health care facilities, and others.
PathStone offers local assistance to businesses in the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes Regions by facilitating NYSERDA programs and giving educational and financial assistance. To find out more about energy services available to commercial and industrial sectors, including non-profits and other institutions, visit our page.
Contractor Program Participation Information
Acronyms and Explanations
Resources for Job Seekers
NYSERDA supports programs that help New Yorkers build the skills they need to succeed in the clean energy workforce. At centers throughout New York, workers and job seekers can get the training they need to develop life-long careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.
There are great opportunities for New York contracting companies to expand their businesses by participating in the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program and other NYSERDA programs. Contractors can qualify for cash incentives and other financial support as they access new and growing markets for their services. To learn more about partnering with NYSERDA programs, see the general Become a Contractor page.
The nation’s premier standards development organization for residential energy efficiency retrofit work. We bring together leading building science experts from across North America to develop our standards using a consensus-based methodology.
A public benefit corporation, offering objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency , save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.
Created to provide funding for energy assessments, low-cost financing for energy upgrades, and technical and financial support to develop a clean energy workforce. GJGNY is a statewide effort to strengthen our communities through energy efficiency.
PathStone Corportation is the Finger Lakes Region's not-for-profit CBO, making it easier for community members to participate in NYSERDA’s energy efficiency programs. CBOs are local, accessible organizations ready to help you make the most of what NYSERDA has to offer.
An income figure for each county that is generated from the most recent income data. This figure varies from county to county.
This is a whole-house comprehensive energy assessment performed by a BPI accredited contractor. The goal of this is to find where energy is being wasted in maintaining your home, and to then suggest improvements that offer a superior Savings-to-Investment Ratio (SIR). Based on your annual household income, this audit is provided at a reduced cost or free of charge.
Contractor Program Participation Information
Resources for Job Seekers
Acronyms and Explanations
400 East Avenue Rochester, NY 14607
Phone Number: (585) 442-2030