The federal government has designated a grant worth millions for people in Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties, to get a home energy audit for free. The test helps you pinpoint problems, so you can invest wisely.
America is an energy wasting nation, and the Central Valley, more specifically Fresno, is no exception. Each year, $860 million is spent throughout the city on electricity and natural gas. That's 30% higher than the state average, and nearly half of all that energy is used by homes.
Joseph Oldham with the City of Fresno said, “For homeowners looking to survive today in these tough economic times, you don't want to waste money on energy.”
To save, residents of Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern Counties are eligible to register for the Home Energy Tune-up program, which carries a $500 value, and it’s free.
You set an appointment and a test team comes to your home with bags full of gadgets.
Nathan Zayas with Zayas Energy Solutions said, “It's one of my passions in terms of helping people.”
Each day, Zayas and his partner take measurements, inspect attics, count light bulbs, and seal all vents on the ceiling and on the ground. The purpose of this test is to pressurize the home and reveal possible air leaks. Thermal imaging technology allows them to pinpoint hot and cold spots. “We're not there to sell them anything, we're just there to educate them of the process with things they can either do themselves or contact a local certified contractor to make some improvements,” said Zayas.
Elena Stavropoulos is just moving into her house, which is over 50 years old. Her windows are single pane and the air conditioning unit has a severe leak. “There's a lot of work to be done,” said Elena.
Even so, Elena is happy she's learning exactly where her home is inefficient, to save money and the environment.
All of the information gathered goes into a report that gets mailed to you. In it is your home energy rating score, which is based on a scale from 0 to 250. A 100 means your home is performing at a normal level. “The goal would be to get the number as low as possible,” said Oldham with the City of Fresno.
That score is also becoming a powerful tool in today's real estate market, as homebuyers use it to compare properties and make smart purchases. “The energy costs on a home are the second highest costs a homeowner will have after their mortgage,” said Oldham.
The report also serves as your personal energy efficiency blueprint. “Our recommendations tell you what's going to be the most cost effective measures you should invest in for your specific house,” said Oldham.
There are incentives too… up to $4,000 cash back. “There's federal tax credits, there's rebates for insulation directly from PG&E.
The home tune up program is doing more than just educate property owners; it's stirring up extra business for local contractors like Donald P Dick Air Conditioning and Heating. “Capture rate on the job is increasing, we're training other raters, so as the programs goes around we're able to do ratings as well. Overall it's very good for us, keeping people busy,” said Victor Barbato with Donald P. Dick.
As the program gains momentum, it protects jobs all over the Valley. “We're looking at the house as a whole so you're dragging in electricians, plumbers, HVAC, insulation contractors, the full spectrum, which is outstanding,” said Barbato.
Donald P Dick installed a new heater at Gary Bolinger's home. During that time, they recommended he get a home energy audit, so he signed up. I'm always into saving cash in these times and days.
After the test, Bolinger learned his attic needed more insulation and that sealing his electrical outlets with foam gaskets could cut down on air and dust entering his home. “It would be a good deal for anybody that can get it done for free. They can find the small things they can do to make a big difference,” said Bolinger.
Oldham says some homeowners make improvements that save them up to 30% on their utility bills. Imagine if everyone did that. “That could be hundreds of millions of dollars that would be circulating in our economy in a different way instead of paying it out on energy costs,” said Oldham.
The home tune up program can help us get there but understand this offer won't last forever. “At the end of June, most of this money runs out. We're on track to spend it all, so home owners should take advantage of it now while we have the opportunity to get access to the service,” said Oldham.
Call (855) 621-3733 or click the related link for the information you need to enroll in the home energy tune up program.