We just found out about a terrific program through SFEnvironment for energy upgrades to single family homes. They have cobbled together grants from a federal stimulus bill, PG&E and other rebate sources to help put contractors to work and help homeowners improve their home’s performance. The catch is that the money has to be spent before June of 2012, and they are behind in getting the word out about the program.
The basic process is as follows: You have your home audited for energy use by one of their approved contractors. They will look at things such as your insulation, furnace, water heater, etc., do a blower door test to measure your air flow changes per hour as is (to see how leaky your house is now) and give you a list of suggested improvements. The fees for this audit are partially paid by the program – you should be out of pocket no more than $100-200. You then decide on the upgrades you want to do based on expected performance improvement as a percentage. The contractor coordinates the paperwork with the city and based on the amount of energy use reduced, you can earn from $5500 for 15% reduction, up to $8000 for 40% reduction (typical in San Francisco is about 35%). If you earn less than 120% of San Francisco’s median income, ($121,900 for a family of 4) then you can qualify for an additional $3000. In the end many families who have participated have only been out of pocket a few hundred dollars. They not only reduce their gas and electric bills, but also greatly improve the comfort of their homes.
Here is the website with more information. www.sfenvironment.org/SFHIP
We will embark on the process for our own home with David and Scott of Building Efficiency performing our audit this Friday and we would be happy to share our experience as the project progresses. Keep an eye on our blog for more information!