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ABAG Energy Upgrades

NEW STATE PROGRAM HELPS BAY AREA HOMEOWNERS SAVE MONEY ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY HOME IMPROVEMENTS

Energy Upgrade California Seeks to Upgrade Thousands of Homes, Reduce Greenhouse Gases and Reenergize Construction Jobs

Oakland, Calif.—Bay Area homeowners can now qualify for rebates and financial incentives of up to $4,000 to implement energy-saving home improvements as part of a new statewide program called Energy Upgrade California. As part of their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Bay Area Counties expect to upgrade 15,000 homes over the next two years.

To achieve the greatest efficiency gains and help homeowners qualify for the largest incentive available, Energy Upgrade California emphasizes a “whole house” approach, rather than piecemeal improvements, as the most efficient and effective way to save money while saving energy. An energy upgrade can increase a home’s efficiency by 10 to 40 percent through “fixed” improvements like insulation, duct sealing and energy-efficient windows.

“For many of us, our home is our biggest investment,” said Jerry Lahr, Energy Programs Manager at the Association of Bay Area Governments, a regional government agency that is leading Energy Upgrade California in eight Bay Area Counties. “Energy Upgrade California is a smart way to save money on one-time home improvements that make your home greener, healthier to live in and more attractive to potential buyers.”

“Another benefit is that many energy upgrades also improve indoor air quality and keep indoor temperatures comfortable during hot and cold weather,” Lahr added.

A variety of energy upgrades are available through the program, allowing homeowners to choose the option that best suits their budget and needs. The Basic Upgrade Package achieves a 10 to 15 percent reduction in energy use through simple, low-cost home improvements that can be completed by a participating contractor in just a few days. The Basic Package qualifies for a $1,000 rebate through PG&E and includes attic sealing, attic insulation, duct sealing, hot water pipe insulation and temperature-controlled shower heads.

The Advanced Upgrade Package, which is tailored based on the results of an individual Home Energy Assessment, can reduce a home’s energy use by as much as 40 percent through measures like installing a high-efficiency furnace, solar-powered water heater and energy-efficient windows. Advanced Upgrades qualify for larger incentives of up to $4,000 from PG&E, based on the level of energy efficiency achieved. In addition, depending upon the improvements installed and where the homeowner lives, other local rebates and tax credits may also apply.

To be eligible for the rebates and incentives, the work must be performed by an Energy Upgrade California trained contractor. For the past six months, Energy Upgrade California has been working to recruit qualified local contractors, educate them about the program and provide workshops and trainings. All contractors participating in the program undergo specialized training before performing home energy upgrades and are part of an ongoing quality assurance program. Homeowners can find a list of participating Bay Area contractors through the Energy Upgrade California website (www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org).

“The incentives offered by the program will drive demand for home energy efficiency upgrades, offering local contractors the opportunity to increase their customer base and bring additional energy upgrade services to current clients,” said Lahr. “This program is an example of how job creation and environmental protection can work hand-in-hand, while providing significant financial benefits to Bay Area homeowners.”

To learn more about available rebates, tax credits and the benefits of a home energy upgrade, or for help finding a qualified local contractor, Bay Area homeowners can visit www.EnergyUpgradeCA.organd select their county from the menu or call the Bay Area Energy Upgrade California Hotline at 1-855-464-8484 for more information.

About Energy Upgrade California

Energy Upgrade California is a new statewide program that offers rebates and incentives to help homeowners save money on energy efficiency upgrades to their homes. Funding for Energy Upgrade California comes from multiple sources, including federal stimulus funds (American Reinvestment and Recovery Act), the U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Program, and the California Energy Commission. In the Bay Area, Energy Upgrade California is led by an alliance of the Association of Bay Area Governments, county and city agencies and PG&E.