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Home > Feature Articles > Alternative Energy Solutions

Low-income Energy Efficiency in California

Low-income energy saving programs are available to your customers

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urban density of city planning Estimates indicate that while the average US household's energy costs are equal to 7% of household income, low-income households spend 17% of their household earnings.

Energy conservation is both a consumer and business challenge. But most consumer energy saving programs start with the companies who provide energy-efficiency equipment or installation services.

California provides a variety of programs that promote low-income solutions with incentive programs, education and outreach. The Flex Your Power website provides a list of programs that assist with low-income conservation projects.

Some of the programs that businesses could participate in include:

  • Weatherization Program: Provides free weatherization services to improve the energy efficiency of homes, including attic insulation, weather stripping, minor housing repairs, and related energy conservation measures.
  • Low Income Energy Efficiency (LIEE): Services include attic insulation, energy efficient refrigerators, energy efficient furnaces, weather stripping, caulking, low-flow showerheads, water heater blankets, and door and building envelope repairs that reduce air infiltration.
  • The US Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherizationoffers state and local funding earmarked specifically for home weatherization. This funding provides cost-effective energy-efficient light sources, showerheads, appliances, weatherization of windows and doors, tuning up heating and cooling units, and the installation of insulation.

Businesses such as installation companies for insulation, weather stripping, light fixtures, minor house repairs can help their customers apply for these programs. Retailers of energy efficient appliances can make information available. And plumbers can help customers understand the value of updating leaky or water-guzzling plumbing equipment.

Additional low-cost options that can help reduce heat for California consumers include increasing the number of plants that shade windows, doorways, porches and lawns. Trees, vines and shrubbery can reduce the temperature inside a house by reducing direct sunlight falling on walls, roofs or even foundations. Plants also provide a pocket of moisture around a home that provides a "feeling" of cooler temperatures. Green habitat is a psychological and physical requirement for all living beings...including humans!

By training your employees about the programs available, they are able to pass the word along. By stocking some information in your retail store(s), you can inform your customers of options to help them reduce their utility bills for long-term savings.

Affordable energy savings are part of growing your sustainable business. Real service...with more than profit at the heart of the sale. Real value. Real savings for your customer, for your community, and for you because satisfied clients tell others...and come back!

The benefits include customers who appreciate your concern and helping hand, as well as new green business that can give your team a new level of job well as additional sales and revenue opportunities. And in addition to that -- you help reduce California's dependence on coal-burning and fossil-fuel energy while we ensure a high quality of life for our neighborhoods.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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