Make Your Home Healthy, Safe, and Comfortable
With Up To $10,000 in Home Upgrade Rebates

 Did You Know?
  •  Over 30% of homes have a very inefficient heating and cooling system, with un-insulated and leaky ducting
  • Holes in our homes from conventional construction methods, both near the floor and at the ceiling, lead to loss of heat/cooling, uncomfortable and unhealthy air quality, as well as discomfort and musty smells
  • Attic insulation was often poorly installed and less effective
  • The Building Performance Institute has developed a procedure to pinpoint these items and determine the cost/benefit of correcting them
  • The most important step is “air sealing”. This greatly reduces the exfiltration of heated or cooled air, therefore a loss of energy

Currently, your home may be eligible for up to $10,000 in funds from Energy Upgrade California and Contra Costa County to correct deficiencies, and make upgrades! Contractors participating in Energy Upgrade California are certified to assess the opportunities in your home.

The Solution:
By arranging for acomplete Assessment, using building science, we can test--not just guess--what will make our homes more comfortable, healthy and safe.

We can seal tight and ventilate right so that we control the airflow in our house and eliminate pollution and moisture. Testing can also find sources of carbon monoxide, equipment failures and improper ventilation that can be hazardous to our health.

Energy Upgrade California is a statewide program that brings together state and local governments with utilities to provide assistance in making upgrades to our homes. Participating Contractors are certified to assess and upgrade your home in accordance with this program. Contact a participating Energy Upgrade California contractor for an Assessment of the opportunities in your home:

Energy Upgrade California ( – Receive up to $4,000 fromPG&E for making energy efficient improvements to your home by using alicensed participating contractor

Contra Costa County Rebates ( – Receive up to $5,000 from ContraCosta County

California Homebuyer’s Fund (– Receive an additional $1,250 and 3% financing over 15 years if your householdmakes less than $147,680

You need to be a member of SCOCO Network to add comments!

Join SCOCO Network

Email me when people reply –


  • Angela, 


    This is very interesting and it helps that you had your house inspected so you can give an applicable example of what was addressed. Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply to my discussion post! $250 for the assessment doesn't seem bad if you plan to use your furnace. That $250 will be paid back in full at some point. However, now you must spend XX to purchase a new energy efficient furnace right? 


    As far as the Air ducts, they seem to be problematic long term. They collect dusts, molds, air pollutants and need special servicing to be cleaned. Addressing leaks, testing efficiency, and other maintenance issues are costly and not easy to address by just anyone. I would think the best answer would be to do away with air ducts all together. I don't see why this couldn't be done by means of solar powered attic fans, house fans (as many as you want because they are solar and don't pollute), solar powered air in and air out fans, and strategic placement of these fans to properly circulate air. I suppose the air conditioner has a built in air circulator that uses the air vents but I am referring to using fans that aren't attached to the air duct system. If we were to eliminate the air duct system all together, then we could eliminate the need to maintain them, and eliminate a potential source of air pollution. If a fan breaks, I can replace it myself or pay a small fee to fix it compared to replacing a furnace. Then again, I suppose you could argue that it depends on what furnace you purchase as price ranges greatly. 


    I suppose if you can get an energy efficient heater, and power it by means of solar, then this is acceptable? 


    On a whole other level, heaters themselves are a luxury and a tweak with nature. Just as humans should eat food seasonally, perhaps it is healthy to experience temperature variance rather than live in a "comfortable" temperature all the time. This many sound silly because its 2011 and why suffer if we don't have to but "suffering" is a term that is subjective. If we have no air conditioner and it's 100 degrees and we sweat all the time, we may view this as uncomfortable but this is also cleansing for our body. Perhaps the summer heat is meant to aid in cleansing toxins out of our body, quenching thirst, salivating for more fruits and salads, and a means to balance out other things we don't see on the surface. Same could be said for winter and cold temperature. 


    Lastly, I have noticed that when we use our fireplace or furnace for many hours, then the air gets stuffy. Our furnace heats air by gas, and our fireplace is gas as well. Both seems to take oxygen out of the air reducing the air quality causing a need to open the windows. There seems to be a downside to every luxury. 

  • Tyler-  Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  I wanted to give you an alternative perspective as a mother with 2 young kids and a house built in 1949.  I, similar to you, didn't put a lot of merit into having a home energy assessment done and the idea of sealing up the house sounded wrong with all those stats on our indoor air quality being so poor.  We actually just wanted to explore getting solar, thankless water heaters and even looked into thermal heating.  Then I went to the Home Owners workshop a few weeks ago and heard about the science behind home energy assessments.  Let's just say, they had me at hello.  The information was so compelling that we just had our energy assessment done last week.  The # 1 issue for us regarding all of this is health.  The assessment showed us that the house was indeed very leaky and we were getting the majority of our air from the attic and crawl space.  If you have ever been in an attic or crawl space of an older home you KNOW you don't want your main air supply coming from these areas. So, in our case, a "leaky house" ... not good.  The other big finding for us was that our house's duct system was completely inefficient.  I think the quote he used was "congradulations, you just broke our record for having the least amount of heat coming out of your furnace actually reach the living spaces".  The ducts were completely detached in several places and just down right old (who thinks about replacing their duct work??).  And on the safety side, the furnace itself, while not very old had evidence of corrosion which, after some technical explaining about combustion, indicated that it was a safety hazard for the house.  So, I guess we could just ditch the furnace all together but who are we kidding?  Rather we can replace it with a high efficiency, safe, healthy furnace that would result in very little heating costs (yes, new furnaces and water heaters can be REALLY efficient these days).  On the sealing up the leaks in the house, this will significantly reduce the unhealthy air (we are having the house sealed off completely from the attic and crawl space) and significantly reduce our overall energy consumption.  After seeing the results of the energy assessment I am SO GLAD we didn't run out and solar power our house or explore alternative heating options.  Once we make our home efficient we can then more correctly size alternative energy systems again saving us a lot of money in the long run.  While not everyone can afford to do a complete energy retrofit on their house people should at least consider getting the assessment done (cost = $250) so they have the knowledge.  Even small, inexpensive changes or adjustments in the house can make big a big difference.


  • I think we should do away with air conditions and just provide fan ventilation. If this is the case, then paying thousands of dollars to seal leaks no longer becomes important in terms of saving money, especially if we can solar power fan ventilation. Regarding being cold, we should primarily rely on thermal underwear, warm blankets, and layers of clothing. If houses were designed smaller as they were generations ago, this would require less heat and a product such as a pellet stove which blows hot air out would be sufficient to heat the house. We should do away with furnaces which are huge, costly, and require maintenance. Something such as a fire place or pellet stove require little maintenance. The first issue to look at would be the size of the house we are living in.


    On another note, cracks and leaks in the house aren't such a bad thing because this contributes to a house breathing. If we seal up every nook and cranny, then we are more reliant on proper installed ventilation rather than some natural ventilation.


    Lastly, I can't believe that we are encouraging financing for home improvement. Financing/debt with interest/debt without interest should be reserved for three things: a house purchase, an emergency situation, and a vehicle. Those are necessity's. Home improvement should be done when you have saved money to do so. In many cases though there are so many other things you can do without spending 1-$20,000. Encouraging debt? really guys? come on!!!


    Would money be better spent on solar panels to power inefficient buildings compared to grid supplying power for efficient devices?



This reply was deleted.