Conserving energy is a great way to save our natural resources and at the same time save money on utility bills. There are many ways to conserve energy in your household and there are rebates available for some home improvements. Learn of the many ways you can conserve energy at the links below.
Energy Upgrade California, San Mateo County
Energy Upgrade California is a Countywide and Statewide residential energy efficiency program offering resources, rebates, and information to homeowners for home energy improvements. As part of the program, homeowners have access to a list of approved contractors who are eligible to install energy upgrades and secure rebates for completed work. Learn more at www.energyupgradeca.org.
In addition, PG&E offers a variety of rebates for new energy efficiency appliances, HVAC units and pool pumps for your home. View a current list of available rebates. Other rebate programs are available for replacement of home.
Energy Efficiency Resources for Businesses
Small and medium sized business can take advantage of the San Mateo County Energy Watch - Turn-key Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program which provides free energy assessments and subsidized energy efficiency upgrades of lighting and refrigeration systems, with free project management to help you lower your energy bills and boost cash flow. Learn more about this program here.
Solar Resources for Residents and Businesses
Installing a solar system is a great way to reduce your energy bill and your carbon footprint as well as increase the resale value of your property. Before going forward with a solar installation, here are some important considerations:
Is your property energy efficient?
Before you install a renewable energy source for your property, it is encouraged you do everything you can to improve your current energy efficiency. A few simple measures can save you money by reducing your overall energy or water consumption. You may be able to save thousands of dollars in up-front costs by reducing the size of the system you will need to install for your property. Understanding your energy usage also will also help to prepare you for an informed discussion with your contractor. As a result, it is recommended that property owners complete an energy efficiency audit prior to purchasing a solar system.
How to size the system?
In order to determine the potential cost, it is good to get an initial sense of how large a system your property will require. The Solar Calculator provides a quick estimate of the cost and size of the system you will need to power your property.
How to finance the solar installation?
Solar customers have multiple options when financing their solar energy systems, including several options with no upfront payments. Popular forms of solar financing include:
- Loans (Home Equity, PACE, and/or direct loans from Solar companies)
- Power Purchase Agreements
- Solar Leases
Learn more about these options here
How to Choose a Contractor?
Choosing the best renewable energy system for your home begins by finding a qualified contractor. Your contractor will help select the system and sizing that meets your home’s energy needs, as well as arrange the permitting, installation, and site inspections necessary to connect your system to PG&E. If you qualify for rebates or incentives, your contractor also will also help to fill out the required application forms. The following database can help you identify active solar contractors in your area including their recently completed project statistics.
For more information, download this helpful Guide to Going Solar published jointly by PG&E and the State Go Solar California Initiative.
Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing for Residents and Businesses
The City has authorized three Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs to operate in Millbrae. PACE programs are an innovative financing solution to help reduce the upfront costs of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. By allowing property owners to spread the cost of a project over many years as part of the owner's annual property tax payments, PACE programs make renewable energy and energy efficiency projects more affordable for property owners interested in saving energy and reducing their utility bills.
The various allowable PACE programs offer options for property owners to choose from. All of the City's PACE programs may be used to finance renewable energy, energy and water efficient improvements, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Water efficient landscaping projects range from drip irrigation to artificial turf installation and can also include graywater reuse systems, rotating sprinkler nozzle installation, and other drought tolerant landscaping upgrades. In addition, Figtree allows for seismic retrofit financing on properties.
Visit the program links below for more information on each PACE program authorized to operate in Millbrae:
Saving Energy this Winter
You can save energy, money and help to reduce greenhouse gases and global climate change by following these tips:
- During the winter, set the thermostat to 68ºF when you are home (health permitting) and lower it when you are away from home. For every two degrees you lower your thermostat, you will save approximately 10% on your heating bill costs.
- Add weather stripping around windows and doors to reduce drafts. Use caulking to seal around ducts, bypasses in plumbing openings, and any other gas in walls, floors and ceilings to reduce air leaks.
- Insulating homes is one of the bet ways to control your heating and cooling costs. Appropriate insulation can reduce your heating costs up to 30%.
- Replace existing single-pane windows with new energy-efficient high performance windows and increase comfort while reducing heating and cooling costs.
- Wrap the water heater with an insulated blanket to reduce heat loss. Replace the water heater if it was manufactured before 1994 with a new energy-efficient one; it will take less energy and time to heat water.
- Replace or clean furnace filters regularly and get a furnace tune-up. Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted can help you save on heating costs. A new high efficiency natural gas furnace can run up to 20% more efficiently than a furnace that is over 15 years old.
- Close the damper when not using the fireplace and turn your heater(s) down when using your fireplace.
- Open drapes on sunny days to help warm the rooms.
- Save energy by reducing your water use;
- Cut water use by installing faucet aerators, low-flow showerheads and low-flush toilets. As much as 19% of California electricity is used to pump, transport and treat water. Learn about free water saving devices and rebates at www.ci.millbrae.ca.us/waterconservation.
- Turn your water heater down to 120ºF or use the "Normal" setting when at home, and the lowest setting when away from home. Water heating accounts for about 13% of total home energy costs.
- Wash clothes in cold water. About 90% of the energy use in a clothes washer goes to water heating.
- Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when fully loaded. Fewer loads reduce energy and water use. Use the air-dry option instead of the heat-dry. Check and clean the dishwasher drain.
- Make sure your dryer's outside vent is clear and clean the lint filter after every load.
Learn about PG&E's CARE Program which encompasses reduced monthly energy bills for qualified low or fixed-income households and housing facilities: 1-866-743-2273 or www.pge.com/care.
Energy Conservation Resources
- Energy Star: Energy Efficient Products and Practices - http://www.energystar.gov
- San Mateo County Energy Watch - www.smcenergywatch.com/index.shtml
- PG&E Save Energy & Money - www.pge.com/myhome/saveenergymoney
- U.S. Department of Energy - www.energysavers.gov
- U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Saver Booklet - http://www.energysavers.gov/tips