Planning and Paying for Energy Retrofits and Renewables

Interested in doing energy retrofits on a home? I participated in a couple of very useful classes on this topic in the last week. The first was an all day event sponsored by PG&E — “PG&E Incentives and Green Building Programs”. This course did the best job of any I’ve taken through them (and I’ve taken at least a dozen PG&E classes on energy retrofits topics) at specifically describing how to qualify for reimbursements or other incentives and how to meet the requirements of various third party certification programs.

The course provided guidelines for existing home ‘whole house performance’ retrofits, as well as new construction and multi-family property energy upgrades— all with an emphasize on having an overall master plan in place before beginning any actual work.  Also included was information on how to qualify for reimbursement for the cost of this planning process, referred to as a charrette, in which representatives from the various building specialties meet to develop a common vision and strategy.

I predict that energy efficiency, temperature comfort, and air quality will become increasingly more significant in establishing property value in the future.  Fullfilling whole house or building performance measures as specified for third party certification will likely play an important role in this. So whether you’re considering doing such work on a home you already own or on one you have yet to purchase I encourage you to educate yourself on the rating systems and to take advantage of the incentives and funding available for completing work that matches these standards.

I’d gladly send you a pdf copy of the power point presentation, which also includes appliance rebate data and a quite comprehensive list of websites for further information — just give me a call or send me an email.  And if you’d like to know more about what I know in general about energy retrofit work I’d be happy to talk with you.  Since becoming an EcoGreen agent in 2008 I’ve continued educating myself on all things related to greening the built environment, I completed the training to become both a Certified Green Building Professional and an Advanced Certified Green Building Professional, and regularly attend Build It Green’s monthly guild meeting to keep tabs on the latest controversies and techniques while getting to know who are the commited building and design professionals.

The second class I took last week, “Financing Energy Upgrades and Renewables”, was taught by Rick Williams, a mortgage broker who is a founding member of Energy First and a Green Building Professional. This was sponsored by the California Building Performance Contractors Association and consisted of a 1 hour webinar directed specifically at contractors for the purpose of aiding them in helping potential retrofit clients to find funding sources. This course offered an extremely comprehensive overview of all possible funding — except PACE (the Property Assessment Clean Energy program), which has pretty much died off everywhere except here in Sonoma County — where it is called SCEIP (Sonoma County Energy Independence Proram) and has morphed into a slightly altered form — which I can tell you more about that if you are interested.

Rather than attempting to summarize here what he offered, I suggest visiting his site at http://ecoenergyloan.com. The class that I attended is listed under Webinars, dated 12/8/10. I have not used his services, but have worked with many loan brokers over the years and trust my ability to recognize the makings of quality service and good value. From listening to him and reading his bio he strikes me as a very genuine person who is working at practicing right livelihood; if you should contact him and discover this to not be true please let me know.

I can also direct you to local lenders who provide many of the same programs. Unfortunately none I’m aware of has put together anything as comprehensive as this — compiling all of this energy retrofit loan information in readily accessible form and making it available all in one spot.

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