Energy Efficiency Booklet


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Energy Efficiency Booklet

  2. 2. Saving Energy A Mes sag Energy e from Co Chairm mmission is a Way of Life an Pfa nnensti el My fellow Californians , C alifornia is a national leader in promoting energy efficiency. As a result, our energy use per person has remained stable for over 30 years while the national average has steadily increased. Despite this success, we still have much to do to reduce energy use in our homes. The benefits are highly valuable — reducing energy use not only lowers your energy bills, but helps our electricity system remain reliable, even during high peak load periods, while also protecting our environment. In 2006, California established aggressive goals to reduce greenhouse gases that cause global warming. These you recognize what energy efficiency goals seek to end annual increases measures have been built into the home, and cut today’s carbon emissions and to make further improvements to by 25 percent, so we can return to save energy and reduce peak demand. 1990 levels by the year 2020. I hope it kindles your interest in saving Efforts to accomplish this goal represent energy, whether in your current home or important first steps in addressing the the one being considered for purchase. threat of global warming. We owe our Thank you for your energy efficiency children and our grandchildren nothing less. actions that help make California As you consider the sale or purchase a better, more environmentally of your home, this booklet asks that sustainable place to raise our families. Sincerely, Jackalyne Pfannenstiel
  3. 3. Overview W hether you are buying or selling a home, you should consider how much energy it will take to make insulation or in efficient heating and air conditioning, you may still cause high energy consumption if you operate your it a comfortable place that meets your home inefficiently. Behaviors, such as needs. Not only do energy bills consume setting the thermostat higher than 68 a growing share of our household budgets, degrees during the winter and not turning but experts now agree that the way we it down at night or when no one is home, use energy today will have a profound or leaving the lights and computer on all effect on our climate for years to come. the time, will increase those bills. In other This booklet will help you words, while equipment may be operating uncover the facts about the energy efficiently, it is operating longer than efficiency of a home and how to find necessary so that total energy consumption out the best ways to improve it. increases. To lower energy bills, invest in Keep in mind that energy efficiency energy efficiency and renewable energy is different than energy consumption. and follow energy-wise behavior. You may live in the most energy efficient house in your neighborhood but that may not mean you will have the lowest utility bills. If you increase home energy efficiency by investing in additional After the mortgage payment, the energy bill is often the second largest monthly home ownership expense.
  4. 4. Know the Facts If y o u a re a se ll e r, th is b o o k le t: Helps you determin e if there are any material facts that m ay be your legal obligation to disclose W regarding the energy efficiency of yo hether you are getting ready to sell ur home. your home – or preparing to buy one Will help you identif – disclosure of the facts regarding y energy improvemen that may make your ts the property is a major consideration. home more attractive to buyers a Sellers must fully disclose everything nd appraisers. they know about their property that If y o u a re a b u y e may influence the buyer’s decision. This r, th is b o o k le t: information, referred to as “material facts,” will help sellers determine the price Can help you le arn what kinds and terms they are willing to accept. of energy inspections you may want to seek before y ou buy. Can help you know what to expect BEFORE your first e nergy bill arrives. Offers tips to h elp you shop and compare the energy e fficiency of homes you are consid ering. Can help you learn about some of the co effective options for l st- owering the energy b in any home you ar ills e thinking of buying. Identifies resources t o help you finance energy impr ovements. If y o u a re a re a l e st a te li ce n se e , th is b o o k le t: Helps you to under stand why energy efficiency aspects of a home may be material facts that b uyers and sellers could have questions a bout.
  5. 5. How to Raise Your Energy Efficiency I. Q . P urchasing or selling a home involves several steps, including disclosures and inspections. During this process it the efficiency and comfort of a home. Once you have decided to buy, determine whether to make some improvements is a good idea to evaluate home energy- to the house before moving in. related features to avoid utility bill When deciding to have a home surprises. For instance, if you are a buyer, inspection, it is a valuable step to reviewing a year’s worth of utility bills request information on energy efficiency paid by the previous occupant may help as part of the home inspection report. you anticipate your new energy bills. Requesting an inspection that includes As a seller, you may decide to evaluate a look at the present energy features of the energy efficiency of your home and the house is your choice as a consumer. make some improvements before putting Consider including solar power your house on the market, making it easier as part of your decison, particularly to sell or to potentially receive a higher if roof work is to be performed. Page price for the house. As a buyer, consider 13 describes available incentives.
  6. 6. Begin With The Basics: The Energy Bill A s a potential buyer, the energy bills of the previous occupant can be a first step to help you understand what your in different ways. For example, some utilities offer customers historical monthly use figures online or upon request. Most energy costs are likely to be. While sellers provide previous month comparisons in are not obligated to share their utility each bill. Keep in mind that utilities do bills, many are willing to do so if you ask. not release this personal bill information If the old bills have not been saved, to any third party without written consent the information is available to the current from the customer. This means that the resident through the local utility’s customer seller would need to request that this service Web site or by calling the utility. information be provided to you. Throughout the state, utilities give customers access to their usage histories The energy bills of a current homeowner may not be representative of a future owner’s bills. This is because energy use habits can – and often do – differ in significant ways. Similarly, an energy inspection or rating report is only an estimate by the inspector or rater. Remember to consider utility bills and energy reports carefully. Your actual home energy bill depends not only on the energy features of your home, but on your usage patterns as well.
  7. 7. Making Sense of Prior Energy Bills H aving the previous owners’ utility bills makes you better informed. Do not forget, however, that efficiency of the home you are considering. Your real estate agent may be able to help you obtain this information. energy bills are only part of the story. Important improvements to the energy Comparing your energy bills to someone efficiency standards for new homes were else’s can be like comparing apples put into place in 1982. If the house was to oranges. If your energy use habits built before then, chances are that it is differ greatly from those of the current less efficient than a post-1982 house unless occupant, their bills could be misleading. significant improvements have been made. A number of factors can cause these While an energy inefficient older home differences: the number of people living may be costly to its current owner, it could in the home, the number, age, and size be a real opportunity for a buyer who is of any plug-in appliances, the settings ready to invest in the right improvements. on thermostats, water heaters, pool or For example, adding additional ceiling spa timers, and more. In addition, living insulation can cut your energy costs habits or extra plug-in equipment such significantly, and newer model ENERGY as a large TV, second refrigerator, wine STAR® appliances use as little as one-third cooler, freezer, aquarium, fountain, the electricity of older models. Adding water bed, landscape lighting or medical solar, particularly when reroofing, can equipment can make a big difference. drastically reduce your electricity bills. If you are a potential buyer, asking a few key questions may help you understand the previous occupant’s energy consumption. Ask what, if any, energy efficiency improvements have been made to the home. The current occupant may already be taking steps to reduce energy bills. The end of this booklet contains a simple checklist with helpful questions for you to consider. Answers to these questions may help you determine what you could do to increase the energy A $100 per month difference in utility bills is worth the same as a $15,000 change in the sale price. — Assuming a seven percent mortgage interest rate over 30 years.
  8. 8. The Next Step: Energy Ratings and Inspections Under California law, buyers or sellers may request a home energy inspection. — To view the law on energy inspections, go to: Check “Business and Professions Code,” and enter section number 7195.
  9. 9. B uyers and sellers seeking professional assistance to help them assess the energy efficiency of a property have two distinct options to choose from. These are: 1. Home Energy Rating Services 2. Home Energy Inspections Home Energy Rating Services Home energy rating services use a comprehensive diagnostics and professional to systematically inspect perform repairs and energy efficiency and analyze the energy systems of each improvements. These specialists are home based on a standardized scale. referred to as whole-house or home The resulting rating is a structured performance contractors. They are assessment of the energy efficiency licensed contractors who are trained to use of the home which also recommends special diagnostic tools to uncover energy cost-effective measures to make efficiency problems and opportunities for the home more energy efficient. improvements that would not otherwise Home Energy Rating System (HERS) be determined. They may or may not raters are energy specialists. They can be members of the California Building quantify expected energy use and Performance Contractors Association. determine cost-effective improvements for home sellers and buyers. They also are trained to visually assess how well energy efficiency measures have been installed and perform diagnostic testing on certain building components. Energy-related features most often tested by HERS raters include air conditioners, ducting, and the building envelope (including exterior roof, walls, doors and windows). HERS raters often use special pressurization fans to measure Photo air leakage from duct work and/or the courtesy of The National building envelope as a whole. Some check Renewable the refrigerant charge and airflow of air Energy Laboratory, conditioning systems. Others may use Inc. heat-sensing infrared cameras to seek out poorly installed insulation in walls, floors and ceilings. The cost of these additional services are charged to the customer. In addition to HERS raters, there are a few businesses that offer more For more information visit:
  10. 10. Home Energy Inspections In California, the sale of a home often While the home energy inspection involves a home inspection. Buyers are report will contain many useful anxious to find out everything they can observations, be aware that the home about a property before purchasing inspector is not required to be a licensed it. Sellers may or may not get a home contractor, engineer or architect and that the inspection prior to putting a property energy systems inspected are not typically up for sale, depending on local custom field-tested with diagnostic equipment and/or the condition of the property. to verify their actual performance. A home inspection is a noninvasive, When choosing a home inspector, you physical examination of the plumbing, should know that home inspectors may be mechanical, electrical and structural a member of a professional association, systems of a property to search out such as the American Society of Home material defects. You may also request Inspectors (ASHI), the California Building that a home inspection include an Performance Contractors Association energy inspection. Be sure to select (CBPCA), the California Real Estate an inspector who has been trained Inspection Association (CREIA), the National evaluating the energy features of a home. Association of Certified Home Inspectors If you request a home energy (NACHI), the National Association of inspection, here are examples of energy Home Inspectors (NAHI), the National efficiency items that may be included Institute of Building Inspectors (NIBI) or on your inspector’s checklist: the American Institute of Inspectors (AII). These organizations have a code of ethics and professional guidelines Insulation R-values in attics, roofs, walls, for their members. To see what floors, and heating and cooling ducts membership entails and how to find a home inspector in your area visit: Window frame types and number of glass panes Age, fuel type, and efficiency ratings of the heating and cooling equipment, water heater, and other major appliances General integrity and air leakage through walls, windows, doors, and duct system. Under California law, home inspectors may not offer compensation of any kind to property owners and/or real estate agents for home inspection referrals. 10
  11. 11. New Requirements for Heating and Cooling System Replacements O ne of the most pervasive energy wasters in homes with central heating and air conditioning has established, and in some cases exemptions may apply. Find out more at: systems are leaky air ducts. Studies Although licensed heating and cooling have shown that in California the average contractors are legally obligated to obtain home’s ducting system leaks nearly necessary permits for compliance with 30 percent and some leak even more. building codes when they replace heating That’s why it’s a good idea to have the and cooling equipment, they sometimes fail ducts tested and sealed, particularly to do so. Note that the Real Estate Transfer if you use central air conditioning. Disclosure Statement requires a seller to Beginning October 2005, California disclose any alterations to a home that are homeowners whose homes are located away made without necessary permits or are not from the coast in climate zones specified in compliance with building codes. That’s by the Energy why it is wise Commission, for the seller The average home’s heating and cooling must have their to take care of ducts leak nearly 30 percent. This ducts pressure the duct sealing tested, sealed, raises energy bills, draws dirt and air before selling and verified by pollutants into the home, and on hot the house if a HERS rater days can contribute to utility outages. this was not whenever heating done when the and cooling equipment was equipment is replaced. The replaced. There best course for are some specific the buyer is to conditions, inquire about procedures, and duct sealing alternatives that if equipment the Commission was replaced. Photo courtesy of The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Inc 11
  12. 12. Financing Energy Efficiency Upgrades I f you are looking to finance energy improvements, there are several types of loans to consider. If you are purchasing a home, you may may still be eligible for these financing options. Check with lenders in your area to determine if an EEM is right for you. Another common way to finance energy be able to qualify for an Energy Efficient improvements is through an equity loan Mortgage (EEM). These loans provide the or equity line of credit. Check with your borrower with special benefits either by lenders to find out if this is feasible for you. stretching the debt-to-income qualifying Federal tax credits for energy efficiency ratio when purchasing an energy efficient upgrades are available through 2007 and home or by providing additional financing may be extended. Ask your home inspector for the cost of efficiency measures as part or rater about these incentives. For more of the mortgage. information visit: EEMs are Utilities also usually offer financial available from incentives for adding insulation, purchasing the Federal a new refrigerator, or installing high Housing efficiency heating and air conditioning Authority (FHA), systems, compact fluorescent light conventional bulbs, whole house fans and efficient lenders (Fannie water heaters, as well as many other Mae, Freddie measures. Contact your utility for Mac), the information on their program offerings. Veterans It may also be helpful to check Administration California’s Flex Your Power Web site for the (VA), California most recent information on rebates, grants, Housing Finance Authority (CalHFA), loans or other incentives that may be and other first-time home buyer programs. available at While the median price for a home in Manufacturers also offer discounts or California exceeds the guidelines of rebates on efficient products, so check their these programs, many homes being sold websites or your retailer for possible offers. The following websites provide additional information that may help you to finance your energy efficient home improvements: 1
  13. 13. Go Solar California! A s part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Million Solar Roofs Program, California has set a goal to generate 3,000 megawatts of new, solar-produced electricity by 2017 — moving the state toward a cleaner enefits of going energy future and lowering the cost of To learn more about all the b e, visit the “Go Solar solar systems for all consumers. Senate solar in your California hom Bill 1 (Murray), signed by the Governor California!” website www.g on August 21, 2006, directs the California Public Utilities Commission and the Energy Commission to implement the program. The California Public Utilities In addition to rebates available through Commission, through its California the California Solar Initiative, you can save Solar Initiative, will provide over $2 on your new solar electric power system billion in incentives over the next by taking a federal income tax credit decade for existing residential homes for up to 30 percent of the net installed and existing and new commercial, cost, capped at $2,000. Also, while the industrial, and agricultural properties. value of your home will increase, your The California Energy Commission is property tax bill will remain the same managing a 10-year, $400 million program to since your solar system is tax exempt. encourage solar in new home construction through its New Solar Homes Partnership. Photo courtesy of Sa The California Solar Initiative offers incentives for installing solar power, taking up to 30 percent off the installed cost of the system for a typical home! cramento Municipal Incentives will be paid “up front” based on expected performance. If you install a solar system that produces more electricity than you need, you can make your meter run backwards! Utility Distr ict The energy charge on your electric bill could actually be close to zero since you only pay the difference between how much electricity you generate and how much you use. The energy used in the average home produces roughly twice as much greenhouse gas pollution as the average car (US EPA). 1
  14. 14. Smart Energy Efficiency Actions You Can Take Tip s to Tri m Yo ur Ga s an d Ele ctr ic Bil l Set your thermostat to 68 or lower in winte r and 78 or higher in summer when you are home. Turn it off when you are not a t home. Replace incandescent bulbs with comp act fluorescent ones. Use combined photo cell/ motion sensor controls for exterior lighting. Wash only full loads of laundry and use c old water when possible. Turn your home computer and monitor o gy bills for any existing ff 1. Examine past ener when they are not in use. ring. home you are conside rt energy inspection repo Caulk, seal or weatherstrip seams, crack 2. Get a written home inspection service. and openings to the outside around window s al property issued by a profession s and doors. rating for the house. 3. Get a home energy t Mortgage or out an Energy Ef ficien Close the fireplace damper when 4. Ask your lender ab ents the gy ef ficiency improvem fireplace is not in use. oth er ways to pay for ener after you move in. Replace furnace filters monthly, or required duct sealing as 5. Make sure legally specified by the filter manufacturer. ng and air is done whenever heati nt is replaced. Let the sun shine through your windows i conditioning equipme n d the winter and close draperies at night. You pliances, light bulbs an 6. Buy Energy Star ap can also use drapes to block the sun out in energy-w ise electronics and follow the summer. home. operating tips for your Use fans, including whole house fans, to complete a Go to these Web sites ceiling fans or portable fans in place of a ir ergy audit : conditioning whenever possible. free do -it-yourself en Company: Pacific Gas Electric Plant trees to provide shade, but keep so lar panels unshaded. /res ison: Southern California Ed Install ENERGY STAR® products. erView /Residential /_Custom ic: For Additional Tips to Trim Your San Diego Gas Electr and Electric Bill visit: Gas al s: Southern California Ga /residential ites at : Municipal utilit y webs Your local utilit y Web site, or Home Energy Saver: 1
  15. 15. Home Buyers’ Were there any long vacations, periods when equipment was broken or unused or Energy Checklist other conditions that might have caused these bills to be higher or lower? o Yes o No o Don’t Know Property Address: If yes, please explain: Have any new appliances been installed or other energy-using equipment been added? o Yes o No o Don’t Know If yes, please explain: Have any energy efficiency improvements Questions to A sk the Seller: been made to the home since it was built? o Yes o No o Don’t Know Are the previous occupant’s energy If yes, please list. bills available for my review? o Yes (at least 12 months) Are you aware of any ways that you or o Some (less than 12 months) o No others conserve energy in the home? o Yes o No o Don’t Know If bills are unavailable, will you provide a Please explain: usage history report from the utility? o Yes o No o Occupant Unavailable Have you ever had any kind of energy inspection at this address? How many people were living in the o Yes o No home during the billing period? If yes, when? o Vacant o 1 o 2 o 3 o 4 o More Than 4 o Don’t Know Who performed the inspection? Are these energy bills typical of what Did you receive a written report? was being paid each month? o Yes o No o Yes o No o Don’t Know Is the written report available? If no, please explain: o Yes o No Has the heating and air What features of this home do you think are conditioning equipment driving the energy bills up or down? been replaced? Driving bills down: o Yes o No Was the legally required duct Driving bills up: sealing completed? o Yes o No 1
  16. 16. The Ca l not en ifornia Ener dorse gy Com manufa an m c t u r e r, y p r o d u c t , s i s s i o n d o e s builde u The te r o r o r p p l i e r, x ganiza be info t in this boo tion. rmatio klet is nal an d not designed to all-inc lusive. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Arnold Schwarzenegger Governor ADVISORY COMMITTEE Mike Bachand CalCERTS, Inc Doug Covill REALTOR®, Sacramento CA Jacalyn Evone REALTOR®, Oakland CA Elizabeth Gavric California Association of REALTORS® Robert Knight California Building Performance Contractors Association CALIFORNIA Tom Pool California Department of Real Estate ENERGY COMMISSION William Poulton California Real Estate Inspection Association Robert Scott CHEERS® Chairman Jackalyne Pfannenstiel Charles Segerstrom Pacific Gas Electric Company Vice Chairman James D. Boyd PROJECT CONSULTANTS Commissioners Arthur H. Rosenfeld, Ph.D Tom Conlon GeoPraxis John L. Geesman, J.D. Charles Eley Architectural Energy Corporation Jeffrey D. Byron Lois Kadosh REALTOR®, Berkeley CA Lisa Walsh SDV/ACCI Executive Director B.B. Blevins ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS Deputy Director Energy Efficiency and Steve Baden Residential Energy Services Network Demand Analysis Division Valerie Hall Ron Caudle Southern California Gas Company Bruce Ceniceros Sacramento Municipal Utility District Office Manager Beverly Duffy California Energy Commission Buildings and Appliances Office Eurlyne Geiszler California Energy Commission Bill Pennington Bobbi Glassel Glassel Associates Project Manager Maxine Jennings REALTOR®, Livermore CA D ale Tr e n s c he l Bruce Maeda California Energy Commission Ann Pettijohn REALTOR®, Orange CA Buildings and Appliances Office Rob Schlichting California Energy Commission 11 N i n t h S t r e e t , M S - Sacramento, CA 1 - 1 Need Help? Call the Energy Hotline (00) -00 or (1) -10 CEC-00-00-001-BR Prepared by: Architectural Energy Corporation San Francisco, California Contract 00-0-00 1