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March 22, 2011 > California energy rebates and incentives

California energy rebates and incentives

Submitted By Sharlene Carlson

Efforts to increase energy efficiency and create green jobs received an important boost at the beginning of March with the formal launch of California's new statewide energy efficiency program, Energy Upgrade California. The program offers up to $4,000 cash back when homeowners implement energy-saving upgrades to their homes.

"Energy Upgrade California is the result of an unprecedented alliance among federal, state and local agencies," said Dave Cortese, President, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. "The rebates offered by the program help homeowners make an investment that will save them money on utility bills in the long run and make their homes healthier and more comfortable."

Currently, homeowners who are PG&E customers 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 $1,000. These elements include air sealing, attic insulation, duct sealing, hot water pipe insulation, low-flow showerhead with thermostatic control, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and combusting safety testing.

The Advanced Package is 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. Rebates range from $1,500 to $4,000 for energy savings from 15 to 40 percent. To qualify for the Advanced Package, home owners must complete the measures included in the Basic Upgrade Package and add additional measures including high-efficiency furnaces, energy-efficient cooling systems, energy-efficient water heaters, wall insulation, energy-efficient pool pumps, dual pane energy-efficient windows and cool roofs.

In addition to the two packages, homeowners can add separate Enhanced Options, including recycled building materials, water-efficient landscaping, water-efficient fixtures, Energy Star appliances and solar panels. These options are not eligible for utility incentives but may qualify for rebates and incentives from other sources.

For more information about the program and a list of participating contractors, visit The program also provides training to contractors who are interested in participating.

Low-income families may qualify for a free Basic Upgrade Package. For details, contact Low Income Home Weatherization Program operated by Sacred Heart Community Service at 1-877-278-6455, or visit

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