When buying a new home, make the choice towards green living and better energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary program that helps new homeowners save money and protect our climate through more energy-efficient construction and best practices.
Residences that have earned the ENERGY STAR seal of approval have gone through a rigorous certification process to meet the strict EPA requirements and guidelines. ENERGY STAR-certified homes not only use less energy than regular homes, but they’re also of higher quality, more comfortable, and more durable.
What Is The SMUD Home Performance Program?
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) provides complete energy solutions and rebates to its customers, powering the community for well over 70 years.
Through their Home Performance Program (HPP), residences can be upgraded using a more energy-efficient whole-house approach for more savings, better comforts, and options for rebates and financing.
SMUD-certified neighborhood contractors will come to inspect your home and give you a recommendation on:
- What improvements you need to get ENERGY STAR certified,
- What sort of timeline you’ll likely need to get the improvements done,
- Which rebate packages and financing options are available to you given your schedule and budget.
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR is a comprehensive, whole-house approach to improving energy efficiency and comfort at home while helping to protect the environment and fight global warming.
Rather than focusing on one, single problem, like an old heating or cooling system, not enough insulation in the attic, or leaky windows, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR looks at how the improvements throughout your home can work together to give you the best results.
The Home Performance Assessment
An evaluation for the Home Performance Program (HPP) with ENERGY STAR begins with an interview with you, the homeowner, to help your contractor understand the concerns you have about your home’s performance.
Through this assessment, your contractor can find out your more top-of-mind issues, such as high energy bills, cold floors in the kitchen, or an upstairs bedroom that’s too warm in the summer.
After the interview, the contractor will evaluate your home to determine where the improvements are needed. They will inspect your home inside and out, including the heating, the cooling equipment, duct systems, and even lighting and appliances.
Your contractor will also inspect your attic, basement, or crawlspace, if you have one, and may run diagnostic tests, such as a blower door or duct blaster, or use an infrared camera to find the trouble spots.
Your contractor may also review your utility bills to compare them to similar homes in your area.
Each home’s problems are different, but there are some recommendations that your home performance contractors frequently make.
Air Sealing and Adding Insulation
Did you know, if you added up all the small holes in a typical home, it would be like leaving a window open 24 hours a day, all year long? That’s a huge waste of energy and money!
Sealing air leaks and adding insulation where it’s needed are critical first steps to improving the energy efficiency of your home.
- If your home has an attic or a basement, the biggest air leaks are usually hidden there. In the attic, you may not have enough insulation or you may have air leaks around pipes and chimneys or around recessed lighting. Your contractor may recommend sealing these and adding more insulation.
- In the basement, leaks are commonly found around the edge of the house, where the basement walls meet the floor above. We also find leaks around doors, windows, and pipes. Your contractor may recommend sealing these leaks with caulk or expanding foam. They may also recommend insulating the basement walls.
- If your home has a crawlspace, leaks can draw in cold air in the winter and humid air in the summer, making your home less comfortable all year round. Here, your contractor may recommend lining the floor with plastic to keep the dampness out, and sealing and insulating the crawlspace walls.
- You and your family spend most of your time here, in the main living space of the house. This is where you often feel problems, like air leaks around doors, windows, and pipes under sinks. Sealing these leaks can eliminate drafts and may keep out dust and pests.
Heating and Cooling
- If your heating and cooling system is over 10 years old, your contractor may recommend that you replace the equipment with models that have earned the government’s ENERGY STAR.
- Installed correctly, these high-efficiency units can save up to 10% on your annual utility bills. You can get additional savings by installing and using an ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat. Used correctly, it can save you up to $180 a year on your heating and cooling costs.
- If your home has forced-air heating or central cooling, ducts move air from those systems to the rooms throughout your home.
- If your ducts have gaps, leaks, or tears, you may notice that some rooms are never comfortable, no matter where you set the thermostat. That’s because they’re not getting the right amount of heated or cooled air.
- Sealing leaks and making sure ducts are straight and properly connected and insulating where needed, will improve your home’s comfort and energy-efficiency.
Lighting and Appliances
- Energy used for lighting and appliances accounts for nearly half your utility bill, so there’s a big opportunity to get savings by installing energy-efficient models that have earned the government’s ENERGY STAR.
- The ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 50 different types of products for your home, including refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, and home electronics, as well as lighting fixtures and compact fluorescent bulbs.
- Buying products with this mark means you’re actively doing your part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Once energy-efficiency improvements have been made to your home, your contractor may recommend other measures, like installing solar panels or a solar hot-water system.
Remember, these are the most common recommendations. Your contractor will work with you and your family to determine the best improvements for your home.
Getting The Job Done Right
After the evaluation, your contractor will prepare a detailed work proposal. They can also show you how the recommended improvements can qualify for special financing or other incentives where available.
Once you decide which improvements to make, your home performance contractor will help you get the job done right. When the work is completed, your contractor may run another set of tests to show the difference the improvements have made.
Local Home Performance with ENERGY STAR sponsors also spot-check contractors’ work, so you can have added confidence that your job will be done correctly.
A Final Word About All Year’s Home Performance Program
The comprehensive approach offered by Home Performance with ENERGY STAR will make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient. Depending on the improvements you choose, you can save 20% or more on your annual utility bill.
And because you’re using less energy, you’ll also be helping to protect the environment.
Your friendly neighborhood contractors from All-Year are Energy Upgrade California-approved. Through our careful inspection and evaluation, we can help you apply for the CHF, HERO, mPOWER, SMUD, and Ygrene Financing Programs.
To find out more about our Home Performance Programs in Sacramento and other programs you can be qualified for, give our team at All Year Inc. a call at 916-922-7796 today!