December 15, 2008
I own a brownstone in Brooklyn and want to have an energy audit and a review of ways to make the building greener in general. Can you offer any recommendations of programs, companies, consultants that do this? Does the city have any incentives or programs to help?
The short answer is yes — there are programs, consultants, etc to help you evaluate green renovations for your brownstone.
Rather than start with the incentives, it would make sense for you to figure out how your building is doing energy-wise, then inventory the improvements you plan to make in the near future (e.g., Are any of your mechanical systems due for an upgrade? Has it been 10 years since you put on a new roof?). Then you can put together a menu of things that can 1) improve your baseline energy performance, 2) use upcoming improvements as an opportunity to include greener measures, and 3) look for energy-efficient and environment-friendly alternatives to any materials/equipment you need for your rehab work.
On the energy side (really the right place to start because energy improvements is where the big opportunities are in existing buildings and maximizing your energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way of addressing building energy) one good place to start is at the website getenergysmart.org. There you can find information about the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Home Performance program. Through the Home Performance program, you can have an energy auditor evaluate the energy efficiency of your building and make recommendations about improvements.
I hope that helps — please feel free to come in person to one of our events and I (or another GreenHomeNYC-er) can talk with you more about your project.