Did our profile of Ed and Rachelle Begley’s green home inspire you to start conserving? Begin by assessing your current energy usage and then look for ways you can save.
The California Public Utilities Commission’s Energy Upgrade California initiative offers a wealth of resources, including an Energy Savings Assistance Program providing free services to lower-income residents and a Home Upgrade Program offering rebates of up to $5,500 to homeowners who make eligible energy-efficient improvements.
Local utilities providers are also a great source for tips and savings. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Save Energy L.A. campaign offers residential customers a wide variety of rebate programs for solar panels, electric vehicle chargers, cool roofs, variable-speed pool pumps, efficient windows and HVAC systems, and much more.
While small changes are a step in the right direction, it can be even more helpful to look at the big picture. “People think they’re just going to do one part of it, but Aristotle once said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” says Steve Anderson, owner of Progressive Insulation and Windows, a third-generation family-run business in Chatsworth and a participating contractor in the Home Upgrade Program. “We look at the house holistically by focusing on what we refer to as the thermal envelope of the home — the windows, doors, walls, ceiling, floor, insulation, heating and air. Making your home more energy efficient is not only about saving the planet and saving money; many people don’t realize that the byproduct is a healthier home because you’re keeping pollutants out of the house. Nowadays, for people who have respiratory medical conditions, instead of prescribing drugs many doctors are recommending home upgrades to improve quality of life.”
To learn how one Toluca Lake family made energy-efficient upgrades to their home, check out “A Local Home Renovation Shows It’s Easy Being Green.”