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ConstructionPro Week, Volume: Construction Advisor Today - Issue: 101 - 03/31/2011

Program to Promote Energy Efficiency in California Launched

Officials have unveiled a program called Energy Upgrade California (EUC) to promote and finance energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects for homes and businesses, reduce energy use, and help train contractors and building professionals across the state. More than $1.2 billion from various funding sources will be leveraged through EUC, including $146 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act State Energy Program and Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant awards administered by the California Energy Commission (CEC),

$13 million from the Employment Development Department Workforce Investment, and more than $1 billion from investor-owned utilities for residential and commercial building upgrades.

CEC christened EUC earlier this month along with the state Public Utilities Commission, utilities serving California customers, local governments, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

Through EUC, local governments and utilities are supporting a suite of consumer and contractor resources, including a web portal (http://www.energyupgradeca.org/) that features consumer and contractor information on energy-efficiency and renewable-energy building improvements, residential and commercial financing options and utility incentives, and scholarships and training for contractors. The portal is expected to serve as a one-stop clearinghouse for information, incentives, scholarship, and rebates, including alternative financing for residential and commercial building improvements and financial incentives by lenders.

“Fifty-eight counties have their own page that highlights the services and energy-efficiency opportunities available for their residents,” according to CEC. “Using the portal, property owners can enter their zip code or county name to learn about available upgrade programs, rebates, financing options, and participating contractors available to them.”

The program is available for single-family detached homes. Multifamily properties of at least two units) will be phased in. In the fall, the program will be expanded to include commercial properties.

Upgrades are available in two rebate packages -- the Basic Upgrade Package and the Advanced Upgrade Package. The Basic Package consists of seven required elements designed to improve energy efficiency by approximately 10 rebates based on the energy savings achieved between 15-40 percent, with rebates ranging from $1,500 to more than $4,000 (depending on the utility provider and energy savings achieved).

 

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