Energy upgrades for San Diego homeowners

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A citywide program got under way today to make the homes of 2,000 low-income residents more energy-efficient over the next year.

Eligible homeowners will receive improvements for free in the San Diego Home Energy Upgrade program, which aims to reduce energy expenses by 15 to 20 percent.

The program “helps residents lower their energy costs, it improves the homes in our communities and it creates jobs for San Diegans,” Mayor Jerry Sanders said.

The California Center for Sustainable Energy will administer and implement the program in coordination with the energy efficiency firms Heshong-Mahone Group and Richard Heath Associates, and the Environmental Health Coalition.

“All of the elements necessary are in place, with pre-qualified contractors and a variety of additional incentive programs, to help extend home energy efficiency into San Diego's less affluent communities, bringing with it many corollary benefits,” said Irene Stillings, CCSE's executive director.

Qualifying homes will receive additional attic insulation, extensive air sealing, air infiltration testing and mechanical ventilation, valued at about $1,000 per household.

Eligibility is based on a sliding scale of income relative to the amount of people in the household. A one- or two-person home has a top income limit of $31,800. The income limit for a family of four is $45,100.

Homeowners might also qualify if they receive benefits from Healthy Families A&B, Medicaid or Medi-Cal, food stamps or other assistance programs, according to the CCSE.

The program is funded by the Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, San Diego Gas & Electric, the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission.

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