Contractors in Piedmont and nearby communities who participate in an
energy conservation program can help you decide what can be done at your
Time is money, the old adage goes, but so is a well-winterized house.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. officials estimate homeowners can
reduce their monthly utility bill by 10 percent to 30 percent by taking
PG&E has a list of energy saving tips for your home on its website.
The utility also has information on Energy Upgrade California, a program overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission that helps residents make their homes more energy efficient.
The PG&E site also takes you to the Energy Update California list of companies that will audit and rate your home for energy usage.
PG&E also lists contractors who participate in the program. Some of the contractors and audit teams are willing to work together to save time and money.
You can locate audit teams near Piedmont on PG&E's site here. Treece Home Sustainability Consulting and Environmental Design/Build, which are both in Oakland, are included on the list of raters.
C.R. Hunt Building and Design along with Kobban Builders are included on the PG&E list of nearby contractors. You can click here to see the full list of local contractors participating in the program.
A homeowner can sign up for the Energy Update California program and qualify for a rebate for the work done on their house.
Homeowners can also use the lists as a resource and contact the energy companies themselves.
PG&E no longer does energy audits, but the utility does have an energy savings assistance program for lower income customers. People who qualify can have a contractor inspect their home for free.
Stopping air leakages alone can take as much as 30 percent off your heating bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Check out these three tips for closing up air leaks around your home:
- First, do an energy audit of your house, keeping an eye out for
the trouble spots. Windows and doors are obvious places to check, but
also look at things like wall outlets and switches, plumbing vents and
the attic hatch for leakage. Swaying curtains and light under your doors
are sure signs, but you can find less obvious air leaks by using an
infrared thermometer to check for temperature variations. Or use a
lighted candle (carefully). If the flame moves, air is coming in.
- Seal the outside of windows with a good quality silicone caulk; use
rope caulk on the inside (it can be removed in the spring). Or cover
windows with a transparent film, using a hair dryer for adhesion. Other
air leaks can be sealed with caulk or self-adhesive weather stripping.
- Installing insulation yourself is not easy, but if you have an older
home, chances are you need to add more. If the insulation is level with
or below the floor joists, you should add more, according to Energy Star, a joint program of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.