[Watch California utilities PG&E, and San Diego Gas & Electric in the video of the Green Button launch.]
That is certainly good news. We’ve long used a good look an utility bill history and energy usage to help figure out what going on in a home. Something that makes it easier for a homeowner to track down that history is a good thing. And we look forward to a host of third-party aps that can help consumers save energy and money.
But from the hoopla, you’d think our energy woes are over.
Not so fast. Access to household energy use data is really important. And Facebook aps might be fun. But when it’s 105 degrees out and you have a poorly insulated house, with south- and west-facing glass, and an old air-conditioner, are you going to be able to stay comfortable without paying a lot of money to the utilities? No. Good information helps, but it doesn’t change physics. To make your home more comfortable and not break the bank with utility bills, you’ve got to make actual improvements!
And the fundamentals still apply. You need good insulation and air-sealing, tight duct work, efficient heating and cooling equipment, efficient lighting. And you also need to know if your water heater, furnace, or any other combustion appliance in your home is operating safely and efficiently. The green button won’t don’t that for you.
Fortunately, for California residents, the statewide Energy Upgrade California (EUC) program can provide up to $4,000 in rebates to help make smart improvements (some cities and counties are offering even more in matching rebates). And certified contractors can give you access to these incentives. GreenHomes America partners have BPI-certified staff, and can provide access to the EUC incentives.
The best way to find out what you might qualify for is to have a real home energy audit conducted by a participating contractor—and then get the rebate by having the contractor make the improvements. You can contact participating experts in the following areas to learn more:
- Hayward & the East Bay, ABC Cooling
- Campbell & the South Bay, Residential Energy Pros
- Los Banos, Young’s Air-Conditioning
- Greater Fresno, ABC Cooling
- San Diego, ASI Hastings
So bring the green button on. Check it out. Easier access to utility information is great (after all, we’re paying the bills, aren’t we—shouldn’t we be able to get the information?) Kudos to PG&E and SDGE for stepping up to lead the nation with this. The rest of the country? Well, a handful of additional uttilies have said they’re interested, so stay tuned. And if GreenHomes has a location near you, we’ll help you find applicable rebates, incentives, and loans.
But if you want a more comfortable, healthier, and more energy-efficiency home, data alone won’t do it. A good home assessment followed by the right, professionally installed, measures, will.