By Business First of Buffalo

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded $1.8 million to six contractors, including Buffalo-based Thermal Foams, as part of a retrofit program to explore cheaper, more efficient insulation techniques throughout the state.

Under the Building Envelope Strategies for Advancing Deep-Energy Retrofits program, contractors will work on developing renovation techniques in a variety of homes around the state. This continues work started by NYSERDA last year to introduce the concept of deep-energy retrofitting.

Thermal Foams Inc. is located at 2101 Kenmore Ave., and according to its website, it has offices throughout the state. The company manufactures polystyrene foam and engineered insulated panel systems. The website says it is also one of the areaâ¿¿s largest stocking distributors of insulation and cushioning materials, as well as exterior insulation finishing systems products.

Thermal Foams and other manufacturers will partner with the National Association of Home Builders Research Center to experiment with high-tech materials on homes in the Capital Region and Long Island. That part of the project received $300,000 in funding.

The deep-energy retrofitting process is expected to make a drafty, chilly house more energy efficient. Such work includes adding insulating foam and a moisture barrier to basement walls, adding rigid insulation and moisture barriers to exterior walls and the roof, and replacing existing heating, domestic hot water and space heating equipment with tankless hot-water units and small furnaces. An air-to-air heat exchanger may also be used to reduce heating costs.

The project is expected to improve energy efficiency in 24 houses, with homeowners expected to contribute 20 percent toward the cost of the project.

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