Sunday, September 3, 2017

Energy Upgrade California

There are a number of financial assistance options available to you from local energy providers and the State of California. Options range from rebates on efficient appliances to incentives for participating in events, or more holistic approaches to energy efficiency, like the Home Upgrade program. Contact your energy provider to see what's best for your home.
There are two Home Upgrade Program options to choose from: Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade or Advanced Home Upgrade.
Work with a specially trained participating contractor (or rater) or a home upgrade advisor to review possible energy efficiency improvements that meet your energy and comfort needs. You must choose a minimum of three measures to qualify to receive up to $3000 in rebates.
For the Advanced Home Upgrade option, rebates are calculated based on the energy saved by your upgrade. Rebates start at $550 and may exceed $5,500*.

Base Measures:
  • Duct sealing
  • Duct replacement
  • Whole building air sealing
  • Attic insulation and air sealing
Flex Measures:
  • Wall insulation
  • Floor insulation
  • Duct insulation
  • Furnace
  • Air conditioner
  • Gas storage water heater
  • Gas on-demand water heater
  • Electric storage water heater
  • Energy-efficient windows
Also take the "My Energy Survey" from SDG&E to set goals and a loading order for improvements.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Renovate America - HVAC primer:

When you're looking for a new energy-efficient HVAC system, you'll spot a variety of energy efficiency ratings on the units. To ensure you're getting the best system for your needs, it's worth knowing which systems are ranking better—that's key for getting the most out of your investment.
  • AHRI: The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute is an independent lab that provides objective, accurate SEER ratings for HVAC equipment. They're tasked with certifying that a manufacturer's efficiency claims are true.

  • AFUE: This stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, which measures the efficiency of a gas furnace used to convert fuel to energy.

  • EER: This stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio, which measures how efficiently your cooling system operates when the outdoor temperature reaches a specific level. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system.

  • SEER: This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which measures the efficiency of air conditioning and heat pump cooling. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system. The federally regulated minimum SEER ratingis 13 or 14, but the ranking can go up to as high as 25.

  • HSPF: This stands for Heat Seasonal Performance Factor, which measures the heating efficiency of heat pumps. The higher the HSPF rating, the more efficient the heat pump.

  • MERV Rating: This stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting value, which is a standard used to rate the overall efficiency of air filters. The higher the MERV rating, the finer the filtration system. Better filtration is important, as it clears the air of contaminants that your family would otherwise be breathing in.

  • NATE Certification: The NATE certification becomes important when you look to hire an HVAC technician. IT stands for North American Technician Excellence, which is a nonprofit certification program for HVAC professionals. Making sure your contractor has this certification helps ensure you're getting a qualified, skilled person for the job.
With these easy tips, you can learn how HVAC works for your family, leaving you better prepared to pick the right system for your home.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Richard Louv at launch of 'Vitamin N' book

If you expect your children to be healthy, then need Vitamin-N.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Solar Financing Options

Recap of Solar Financing:

There are many different financing options available for PV systems. You may purchase a PV system or enter into a lease or power purchase agreement (PPA). Below you will find information about owning vs. leasing/PPA and the advantages and disadvantages of both options.

What are you buying?
Buying an assetBuying a service, usually with a purchase option
What is included in the purchase?
Generally will not include inverter replacement, O&M, insurance, may include monitoringGenerally includes O&M, inverter replacement, insurance, monitoring
What are the tax implications?
Need to have the tax appetite to make use of the 30% ITC. If financed through home equity loan, then get tax deductionSolar services provider has the tax appetite for the 30% ITC AND can make use of commercial depreciation tax benefit
What are the risks?
Responsible for O&MLongevity of the solar services provider
What happens if I move?
New homeowner buys the assetCan transfer payments to new homeowner or must buy out the remainder of the contract at 'fair market value'
What are the financial benefits?
Return on investment in the form of lower electricity bills and increased home valueNo or little up-front cost, benefits from commercial depreciation tax credit, usually cash positive or neutral in year 1

You may purchase a PV system or enter into a lease or power purchase agreement (PPA). Each has its own benefits and disadvantages.
Purchasing30% federal investment tax credit (through 12/31/16)
You own the asset/investment
Home value increases without property taxes increasing
Responsible for operation and maintenance (O&M)
Responsible for replacing inverter after 10-year warranty
LeasesLittle to no money down
Fixed monthly payment
O&M covered for 20 years
Inverter & module replacement for 20 years
Electrical production guarantee
20-year lease term
Do not own system
Possible restrictions when selling your home
PPAFixed $ per kWh produced by system
Little to no money down
O&M covered for 20 years
Inverter & module replacement for 20 years
Electrical production guarantee
20-year PPA term
Do not own system
Possible restrictions when selling your home
Pay for all kWh produced, even if you do not use it