Energy Upgrade California is a statewide energy efficiency program that delivers tools and resources to improve energy and water efficiency, save consumers money, help the environment, create green jobs and revitalize California's economy. The program is an unprecedented collaboration among California counties, cities, non-profit organizations, government agencies, local utility companies (Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company and San Diego Gas & Electric) and many publicly owned utilities. Funding for Energy Upgrade California is provided by the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA); investor-owned utility Whole House Retrofit programs; California Energy Commission-administered Energy Efficiency and Conservation block grants; the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Program; the Employment Development Department Workforce Investment Act; and local governments. For more information, visit www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org.
Energy Upgrade California is available in all 58 counties in the state. Using the program's web portal, www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org, property owners can enter their zip code or county name to learn about available upgrade programs, rebates, financing options and Participating Contractors. Initially, the program will be available for single-family detached homes. Later in 2011, the program will expand to include multi-family and commercial properties.
Homeowners can choose from one of two packages that qualify for rebates and incentives: the Basic Upgrade Package and the Advanced Upgrade Package. The Basic Package consists of seven required elements designed to improve energy efficiency by approximately 10 percent, and includes a rebate of up to $1,000. The Advanced Package is a customized solution, with incentives and rebates of up to $4,000, based on the energy savings achieved.
Whole House Approach
Energy Upgrade California emphasizes a “whole house" approach, in which a home is viewed as a complete system. All of the elements and systems — heating, air conditioning, water, and structural features like windows, ducts and insulation — should work together effectively to minimize energy use. By completing basic measures first, such as sealing air leaks and installing insulation, property owners can significantly improve energy efficiency and get the most value out of additional improvements, such as installing a new furnace or replacing windows. Benefits from a whole house approach may include increased energy and water efficiency, lower utility bills, a more comfortable home, improved indoor air quality, increased home value and reduced impact on the environment.
All contractors participating in Energy Upgrade California have a valid California contractor's license, appropriate bonding and specified certifications and/or training for the work being performed. In addition, Participating Contractors are experts in energy efficiency and are certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI). BPI is an independent, non-profit organization that works with the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop standards for home performance and weatherization improvements. As part of the Energy Upgrade program, BPI trains Participating Contractors in the “whole house" concept and the comprehensive “whole house" diagnostic assessments. Property owners can find a complete list of Participating Contractors on the website at www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org.