Saving Green at Home

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As a homeowner, you know that the list of to-do's never stops.  But did you know that, if you plan your repairs and renovations to be green and energy efficient, you can save money on your utility bills and improve the comfort of your home?  You'll also have access to financial incentives from Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas, which will help offset your project's upfront costs.

Did you know?

Weatherizing your home is one of the most cost-effective efficiency improvements you can make, helping you save 20% on your energy bills, or more than $200 a year.

Your house operates as a system, and by taking steps to make sure your insulation, windows, heating and cooling system, and air ducts work together, you will save energy, reduce your utility bills, and also improve the comfort of your living space.  Fewer drafts and more consistent temperatures from energy-efficiency upgrades help keep you home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.  And by using less energy, you're also helping to protect the environment.

 

Assess Your Home

The City of Simi Valley is encouraging residents to get started by assessing your home energy usage with the help of online tools or through an in-home survey.  This first step can help you determine if you can save money and energy by having energy efficiency upgrades made to your home.

  • Southern California Edison Home Energy Advisor - Complete the online survey about your home's energy use and get custom recommendations for efficiency improvements, savings projections, and information about other SCE programs and rebates.
  • In-Home Energy Survey - Through Energy Upgrade California, SCE offers free, in-home energy surveys with an energy expert.  Call (800) 278-8585 for more information.
  • ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick - Using your last 12 months of utility bills, the Home Energy Yardstick will compare your energy use to similar homes across the country and see how yours measures up.

Use Local Utility Incentives

Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas offer a wide variety of rebates and incentives that can help reduce the initial cost of energy-efficiency upgrades for homeowners - from discounted lighting prices in stores to rebates on appliances or insulation.

  • Energy Upgrade California - Get incentives of up to $4,000 when you complete qualifying energy-saving home upgrade projects with a certified contractor.  You can start with a free home energy survey, evaluate which projects are eligible for the incentives, and get in touch with a contractor.
  • Southern California Edison - Find information about individual product rebates from SCE, including appliances, lighting, heating and cooling, pool equipment, and more.

Understand Typical Home Improvements and Potential Savings

In order to maximize the efficinecy of your home, contractors and home energy specialists focus on several key areas for home improvements.  The problems in each house will vary, but common recommendations include:

  • Sealing air leaks and adding insulation - Sealing air leaks (or weatherizing) will reduce drafts and improve the performance of insulation.  If needed, additional insulation will help provide for more even temperatures throughout the house as well as some noise reduction.  See common air leaks in the home.
    • Proper insulation can cut your heating and cooling costs by 30-50% ($80-140) per year.
  • Sealing ductwork - About 20% of the air that moves through a typical duct system is lost due to leaks and poor connections.  Using duct sealant to seal these leaks will help keep your home at the set temperature and save energy.
  • Improving heating and cooling systems - If your furnace or air conditioner is more than 10 years old, then consider installing a new, high-efficiency system, such as an ENERGY STAR qualified model.
    • An efficient cooling system can save up to 35% on cooling costs each year.
  • Upgrading lighting and appliances - The average homeowner spends about 25% of their utility bill on lighting and appliances.  Choose energy-efficient models to improve your savings.
    • Replacing five of your incandescent lights with CFL or LED bulbs can save $500 over the life of the bulbs.

See the full list of home improvements, as well as no-cost and low-cost tips for more information about energy-efficient changes you can make at home to save money and energy.

If you are considering including energy-efficient products as part of your upgrades, ENERGY STAR offers a variety of product calculators so you can estimate how much energy you'll save and the return on your investment.

Contact a Trained Contractor

While many home improvement projects are good do-it-yourself projects, working with a contractor to plan and implement your efficiency upgrades can help ensure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.  Trained contractors and home energy experts understand that a house operates as a system, and will make recommendations to address your specific problems.  Local contractors are also familiar with Simi Valley's building codes and should be able to provide information about local incentive programs.

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