A group of 15 local contractors will get together in a classroom this week as an ongoing effort to increase energy efficiency, help local families and stimulate the economy, all at the same time.
The group will be taking part in a course, made possible through the Redwood Coast Energy Authority and funded through a state grant, training them how to conduct energy efficiency evaluations and upgrades to local homes.
Heidi Benzonelli, a program manager with the authority, said part of the idea behind the course is that there are a plethora of rebates, incentives and assistance programs available to help home and business owners make energy efficiency upgrades. The upgrades promise to save money and help the environment in the long run but must be completed by a specially certified contractor.
”One of the challenges is that the program is designed around having highly qualified, highly trained contractors,” said Matthew Marshall, executive director of RCEA. “The idea was to help get that training for local contractors and their employees.”
Benzonelli said the course will teach contractors how to take a holistic approach to making energy efficiency renovations, beginning with a complete diagnostic assessment. Benzonelli said when such an assessment on her home was done, she learned her furnace was only burning at 69 percent efficiency.
”That meant that 31 percent of the natural gas I was paying for was going straight up
The course ultimately takes contractors through all aspects of energy efficiency upgrades, Benzonelli said, from changing out windows and air seals to replacing old appliances and putting in new insulation.
The good news for the homeowner is that there are lots of programs out there to help with the costs.
According to Energy Upgrade California, the state offers two packages of upgrades and incentives -- one offering a $1,000 rebate for basic upgrades and another offering a $4,000 rebate for advanced improvements. Marshall said a number of banks have also introduced new financing tools that allow the upgrade costs to be paid based on the energy cost savings they yield.
”These things make sense,” he said of the upgrades.
The upgrades can also have reverberating economic impacts, Marshall said, as they leave homeowners with more money in their pockets and get contractors to work “in a time when new construction isn't exactly booming.”
Benzonelli and Marshall both suggested that any home or business owner considering upgrades contact the energy authority to arrange a free consultation.
”We're the one-stop shop and the first line of defense when it comes to energy efficiency and renewable energy in your home,” Benzonelli said.
On the web:
Thadeus Greenson can be reached at 441-0509 or email@example.com.