by Thomas Grant
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This guide was developed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to help builders construct homes that use less energy. Rising energy costs is a growing concern to homeowners and communities. Energy efficient buildings can significantly reduce energy bills and create quieter, more comfortable homes with improved indoor air quality. Reducing energy use also decreases the amount of energy needed from power plants, lowers greenhouse gas emissions, improves air quality and helps New York State’s economy by saving millions of dollars in energy costs.

This guide is one small component of NYSERDA’s mission to advance innovative energy solutions in order to improve New York State’s environment and economy. It is intended to be an informative tool used often by builders at the construction site and homeowners who are actively engaged in projects with energy components.


NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and support to help New Yorker’s increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York Statersince 1975. To learn more about NYSERDAs programs and funding opportunities visit nyserda. ny. gov, on son follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.

This guide was an effort of NYSERDA’s Codes and Standards Program. This program promotes best practices for compliance with the State’s Energy Code within the design, construction and enforcement communities in order to provide more energy efficient and durable structures for the citizens of New York State.

How to Use This Guide

This guide is, first and foremost, meant to assist New York State builders, contractors, subcontractors and designers improve the energy efficiency of smallscale residential construction. The guide is also useful for existing and prospective homeowners interested in developing an understanding of the importance and value of energy efficient construction techniques. For both audiences, the guide presents construction concepts for buildings that promote energy efficiency, safety, durability, comfort and economy.

This guide is designed as an easy-to-use reference that can be kept in tool boxes used on the construction site. While it incorporates information and illustrations consistent with good building science and construction practice, it is not intended to be a complete construction resource. Accordingly, the guide addresses neither specific code requirements, which are subject to change, nor many other facets of residential construction beyond those associated with energy efficiency. Despite a wealth of building science research over the past decade, there are many concepts for which no definitive recommendations are provided. This reflects the continuing evolution of energy efficient construction techniques, the advent of new materials and construction methods and ongoing debate on topics such as vented versus unvented attics or the presence and location of a vapor retarder. This guide leaves the final decision on such matters to the architect, engineer and/or contractor, based on the