Claremont is becoming an oasis of homes with energy upgrades that make them more comfortable and more valuable, provide them with lower utility bills. Upgrades include improving insulation, eliminating air leaks, optimizing heating and cooling systems, and installing solar. If any of these improvements seem like something you might like to do at your home, consider taking advantage of one or more of the many local resources and incentives that are available in Claremont. There are several non-profit groups offing helpful information, free of charge, and large rebates are still available. An excellent time to start the conversation will be Saturday on January 28, when these groups are offering a chance to tour a home in Claremont that has recently completed an energy upgrade. Tours will be offered between 1-4 pm. The location of the home is available by RSVP’ing to http://tenres.com/HomeEnergyTourClaremont.
I first became aware of home energy efficiency upgrades at the Hartman-Baldwin Design Build offices here in Claremont. It was about eight years ago. The community organization Sustainable Claremont was just getting started. Devon Hartman taught us about building science, and how we could make our homes more energy efficient and more comfortable. Devon knew that I was with Sustainable Claremont. We got together with others to form what came to be called the Claremont Home Energy Retrofit Project – CHERP. Chris Veirs from the City of Claremont was also an active participant and even created the CHERP logo. There was an initial goal of getting one percent, about 130, of Claremont homeowners to make their homes energy efficient through retrofits. That goal was surpassed long ago and is now approaching 400 homes in Claremont alone. Devon has since formed a new non-profit organization called CHERP Inc., now the Community Home Energy Retrofit Project, and he has taken his concept to other cities throughout California and built a national reputation doing so. All that is going on in energy conservation can be confusing, especially with the constant barrage of ‘robo’ calls that homeowners receive from unethical contractors. In Claremont, CHERP, Sustainable Claremont, and the City are working together with other local community organizations, to help sift through the noise and provide helpful, unbiased information to help make our entire town more energy efficient. The joint program is called the Claremont Energy Challenge (CEC). Claremont, through CEC, is now in a nationwide competition for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize – and more initiatives are planned for 2017.
At the State level, Energy Upgrade California (EUC) is a massive initiative that provides large incentives to participating homeowners that make improvements to save energy. The program is supported by the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, utilities, and others. EUC is funded by investor-owned utility customers through a charge added to their utility bills.
Additional funds and assistance are available to homeowners in Los Angeles County. The County offers rebate programs and financing options available to help reduce the overall costs of an energy retrofit and provide loans to pay for remaining retrofit costs, if necessary. Depending on the type of work completed, there are up to $6,000 in rebates currently available – which can dramatically reduce overall costs. The Energy Network (TEN), a non-profit working for L.A. County provides additional assistance and is a primary sponsor – along with CHERP and Sustainable Claremont and the City through CEC – for the home tour on Jan. 28th . Local volunteers will be there to talk about these exciting opportunities for your home. Additional information about Los Angeles County’s residential energy rebate program can be found on-line at http://tenres.com/home-upgrade- 2/. If you prefer to start with a friendly voice, call Sustainable Claremont at (909) 625-8767 x238, CHERP at (909) 293-8098, Energy Upgrade California at (855) 561-2243 or TEN at (877) 785-2237.
Demystifying Sustainability is an initiative of Sustainable Claremont (susustainableclaremont.org).