Banner EnergyEfficiency main Full

As promised, today we kick off Save Money, Energy and Water Week here on the Sungevity blog.  And lo’ and behold, perfect timing…Last Thursday, the House passed the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010, a $6 billion rebate program that will help homeowners pay for energy efficiency retrofits that will save them $9.4 billion over the next decade.

President Obama will definitely sign the bill once the details are reconciled between the House and Senate.  In the meantime, many California utilities already offer generous rebates-get started with what’s available right now and you’ll be able to tame your energy and water bills this summer:

LADWP customers can receive free shade trees and rebates for energy-efficient refrigerators, air conditioners, pool pumps, windows and high-efficiency (HE) clothes washers.

Southern California Edison offers rebates for energy-efficient lighting, refrigerators, electric water heaters, pool pumps, air conditioners, whole-house fans, and evaporative cooling systems (aka “swamp coolers”).

If you’re in the Riverside Public Utilities district, check out their triple rebate on insulation and other rebates for refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, shade trees, irrigation, drought-tolerant plants, and HE clothes washers and toilets.

San Diego Gas & Electric ratepayers will find rebates on attic insulation, natural gas furnaces, refrigerators, pool pumps, air conditioners, whole house fans, and dishwashers and can get a free water conservation kit.

If you’re a PG&E customer, take advantage of rebates for clothes washers, dishwashers, water heaters, room air conditioners, cool roofs, attic and wall insulation, gas furnaces, duct sealing, whole-house fans, pool pumps and motors and fluorescent lighting.  PG&E has also just begun offering rebates for solar hot water heaters, but the details on how to access this program are not yet clear.

Alameda Municipal Power customers can get rebates for refrigerators and insulation

EBMUD customers can get a free water conservation self-audit kit as well as rebates for HE clothes washers and toilets, sustainable landscaping, mulch and irrigation.  EBMUD will also send you freelow-flow shower-heads, faucet aerators, toilet low-flush bags and garden hose nozzles.

San Francisco Water offers rebates for HE toilets and clothes washers and provides free HE toilets to low-income residents.

Also, be sure visit the home page for the city you live in to see what it has to offer, especially for low-income residents.  Some of the municipalities in California we know have programs include Sonoma County, Santa Monica, Berkeley, San Francisco, Alameda County Water District, Palm Desert, and Ukiah.

And lastly, heads up Do-It-Yourselfers, here’s a guide to how to caulk and weather strip your home all by yourself.  If that sounds too ambitious, even a DIY knucklehead can at least install a programmable thermostat (33% savings on heating and cooling), set your water heater to 120º, and switch to CFL bulbs (75% less energy than incandescent and bulb lasts 8 times longer) or LED lighting (90% less energy and bulb last 40 times longer).

Most of the energy efficiency improvements outlined today require at least a small initial investment that will pay itself back and then some over time.  For those of you who are ready to start smacking down your utility bills right now without investing a dime, tune in tomorrow for the Free Home Energy Smack Down.

–Erica Etelson

Posted by Danny Kennedy

Danny Kennedy co-founded Sungevity and now serves as strategic advisor. He is an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues. He is the author of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy - and Planet - from Dirty Energy (2012), a book that has been described as the clean energy manifesto for the next greatest generation.