If your home was built before 2001 you likely qualify for up to $5000 to make your home healthy, comfortable, and energy efficient through the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN). These tax free incentives are only available through participating contractors -- like Applied Building Science.
If funding your project is an issue, we also work with the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP). SCEIP provides Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for residential energy efficiency upgrades.
What we can do to help lower your utility bills:
Scheduling a comprehensive energy audit is the first step toward lowering (and possibly eliminating) your utility bills.
Most ABS projects begin with a no-obligation visit from an ABS Building Analyst trained and certified by the Building Performance Institute. A BPI Building Analyst is trained to evaluate uncontrolled air leakage into and out of a home, and to identify heating and cooling problems that lead to high energy costs, health problems, and occupant discomfort. He or she will first listen carefully to your concerns, then carefully examine the floor, exterior walls, windows and doors, and ceiling of your thermal enclosure. They will also examine and evaluate the major mechanical systems of your home, including the heat source, cooling source, ducting, water heater, and other energy using appliances.
Solar technology has made enormous leaps in the last 15 years. Typical customers today can install a roof mounted solar system that pays for itself in 7-10 years and provides huge returns on investment over the 25 year life span of an array. Coupling a solar system with other energy measures can eliminate your utility bill altogether (natural gas too!).
New lighting technology uses less electricity and can last as long as 50 years before it needs to be replaced, saving you both money and the hassle of replacing bulbs every few years.
Installing insulation throughout your home keeps energy you invested to heat or cool your home inside where it belongs. It prevents conductive heat transfer. This reduces the load on your furnace and air conditioner while keeping money in your pocket.
A primary function of our homes is to maintain the temperature of its living space within the “comfort zone” regardless of the temperature outside. For humans this is roughly between 68 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. This is done primarily with two mechanisms: the “thermal enclosure” and a “comfort system” to replace the heated or cooled air passing through the thermal shell. Heat flow from warmer to cooler cannot be stopped but it can greatly be slowed with sufficient quality insulation. Inadequate insulation and air leakage are leading causes houses that are uncomfortable and expensive to heat/cool.
Air sealing throughout your home keeps the air you paid to heat or cool inside the building where it belongs, reducing the load on your furnace or air conditioner. Air sealing prevents convective heat transfer.
Homeowners can save up to 30% of their energy costs by air sealing the multiple points of your home where conditioned air can escape and unconditioned air can enter. Houses typically have a great amount of leaks between the interior and the exterior of the house. We find them with an test instrument called a blower door. Sealing your home against air infiltration (air leaking in from the outside) and air ex-filtration (air leaking from inside of the house to the outside) helps to reduce your energy expenditures and keep your conditioned air inside your thermal enclosure to keep you warm.
New comfort systems (Furnaces and Air Conditioners) are far more efficient today than they have ever been and, coupled with insulation and air sealing, can be downsized considerably from what HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) contractors traditionally install.
Between advances in technology, downsizing HVAC system sizes, and the ability to pair new HVAC systems with solar, homeowners can potentially save a lot of money by upgrading their comfort systems.
Water heating technology has seen huge leaps in the last ten years with the advent of heat pump water heaters. While more expensive to install than traditional gas fired water heaters, these new units use far less energy and last longer than their natural gas tanked counterparts. Heat pump water heaters are electric, meaning that a solar array can completely offset their operating costs.
Windows are one of the greatest weaknesses in your thermal shell. In the summer old windows let hot air into the building and allow far more solar radiation to penetrate than new windows. In the winter old windows allow heat to escape and are often drafty. Installing new windows is expensive, but over their lifetime they can save you money by lowering utility bills and make your home much healthier and comfortable to live in.