SOUTH PASADENA - Michael Green can remember the days when his house was either too hot or too cold.
"It was unevenly heated and cooled," the 44-year-old South Pasadena resident said. "It just wasn't working, and I wanted to be more comfortable."
When Green learned last year about a program called Energy Upgrade California, he went for it.
Homeowners in Los Angeles County who tap into the program can qualify for rebates and financial incentives of up to $4,500. The program allows them to save money on their monthly utility bills by getting energy-saving upgrades for their homes.
"They came in December and January to do the work," Green said. "They did a big rush while we were visiting relatives over Christmas."
Green, a philosophy professor at Pomona College, had new insulation installed in the exterior walls and attic of his 1,488-square-foot home. He also had a new energy efficient furnace and air conditioning system put in.
"They could tell that the insulation was not up to modern standards," he said. "There was a lot of air coming in through the attic
and walls. They said if you added up all the tiny holes in the house ... it would equal one 10-by-30 inch hole."
The results were not exactly cheap, even with the rebates. But the upgrades were well worth it, according to Green.
"It's a lot more comfortable now and my energy bills have gone down," he said. "My electric bills has gone downabout $17 a month, and the gas bill went down almost $100 a month."Advertisement
In Los Angeles County, Energy Upgrade California expects to retrofit up to 18,000 homes with an average 20 percent reduction in energy use.
The retrofits will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create about 2,000 new green jobs in the county. The program will ultimately eliminate about 20,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions - the air quality improvement equivalent of planting about half a million trees.
Some county residents are living in communities that have their own utilities and are not served by both SCE and the Gas Co. Rebates in those cities may vary, but the county is working to make the rebate system uniform for everyone, said Melinda Barrett, a spokeswoman with the Los County Office of Sustainability.
"What we're trying to offer residents throughout the county is a consistent program that takes the whole-house approach," she said. "We're looking at the entire home and feeling for air leaks instead just installing new windows."
Barrett said about 50 projects are currently under way.
County residents can also participate in a contest to win free energy upgrades.
"The contest is open to anyone," Barrett said. "One grand prize winner will have their home upgraded to using near zero energy."
For more information, visit www.energyupgradeca.org or call 877-785-2237.
626-962-8811, Ext. 2701
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