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Press Contact: Neal De Snoo, Office of Energy and Sustainable Development, City of Berkeley, (510) 981-7439

"Money for Energy Efficiency" program demonstrates success of programs that offcer rebates for home energy upgrades; rebates still available for Alameda County residents through Energy Upgrade California

Berkeley, California (Thursday, March 24, 2011) - The City of Berkeley celebrated the success of its Money for Energy Efficiency (ME2) program today at the recently upgraded home of Berkeley resident, David Hochschild.  Hochschild is one of 17 Berkeley homeowners to receive up to $8,950 in energy improvement rebates, which are designed to promote deep energy savings in homes and businesses. The rebates are funded by federal stimulus dollars awarded to the City and by rate-payer incentives provided by PG&E.

The goal of Berkeley’s ME2 program is to increase efficiency by lowering the cost of energy upgrades in homes and businesses. The program provides an incentive for homeowners to conduct comprehensive assessments of how energy is used and wasted in their home and to make upgrades that maximize efficiency.

Funding of the ME2 rebates was made possible by a federal stimulus grant awarded to the City of Berkeley from the U.S. Department of Energy. While many local governments used their federal stimulus funding for municipal projects, Berkeley offered the funding to residents as rebates in order to spur green jobs, promote energy efficiency in homes, and reduce communitywide greenhouse gas emissions.

The ME2 program to date has had 17 homes complete energy upgrades and receive Federal Stimulus rebates totaling $44,000 plus additional rebates from PG&E. A total of 200 homes are expected to participate in the program this year, earning $350,000 in Federal Stimulus rebates. The City of Berkeley is targeting a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from participating homes, helping Berkeley reach its goal outlined in the Climate Action Plan.

“Making energy efficiency upgrades to Berkeley homes is a key goal of the Climate Action Plan,” said Dan Marks, Planning and Development Director for the City of Berkeley. “Nearly 53 percent of Berkeley’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from building energy use. In order for us to meet our aggressive emission targets, we must encourage all building owners to be leaders in energy efficiency.” 

Hochschild, one of the ME2 rebate recipients, worked with a local home performance contractor to perform a home energy assessment and energy upgrades to his once-drafty but now warm and comfortable 100-year-old home. “Some of the upgrades were fairly simple such as insulating our attic, wrapping our water heater and pipes and sealing in and around windows, but the trick is knowing how the improvement measures work together,” said Hochschild. “Combined we significantly improved our energy savings.”

Although the ME2 rebates are now fully reserved, Berkeley homeowners can still qualify and receive up to $4,000 per home in rebates through a new statewide program called Energy Upgrade California. A variety of energy upgrades are available through the program, allowing homeowners to choose the option that best suits their budget and needs. As part of its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the program expects to result in upgrades to 6,000 homes over the next two years in Alameda County.

“The popularity of the City of Berkeley’s ME2 program is a great sign of how much local residents care about energy efficiency and bodes well for Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County,” said Wendy Sommer, Principal Program Manager at StopWaste.Org, the local government agency that is leading Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County. “We’re excited to be launching Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County in order to provide similar opportunities and rebates for both residents of Berkeley who may not have made it into the ME2 program, as well as those in other cities throughout the county. “ 

“The ME2 rebates make it more affordable for homeowners to make energy efficiency investments to their homes,” said Marks. “We are happy that Energy Upgrade California will continue this opportunity for many more Berkeley residents to make energy upgrades to their homes.”

Energy Upgrade California provides incentives and rebates up to $4,000 for homeowners who implement energy efficiency and resource conservation upgrades. And like the ME2 program, with Energy Upgrade California, the more you the more energy you save, the higher your rebate.

To learn more about available rebates, tax credits and the benefits of a home energy upgrade, or for help finding a qualified local contractor, Alameda County homeowners can visit www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org and select their county from the menu or call the Bay Area Energy Upgrade California Hotline at 1-855-464-8484.

About Money for Energy Efficiency 
The Money for Energy Efficiency (ME2) Program is designed to lower the cost of energy efficiency improvements; improve building comfort, safety and durability; and reduce the City of Berkeley's carbon footprint. The ME2 program is an important component of Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan and is designed to help the community achieve a 33 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Through the program, the City of Berkeley expects to create more local green jobs and help residents and business owners to save more than $100 million dollars in net energy savings by 2020. For more information, visit www.cityofberkeley.info/me2 

About Energy Upgrade California
Energy Upgrade California is a new statewide program that offers rebates and incentives to help homeowners save money on energy efficiency upgrades to their homes. Funding for Energy Upgrade California comes from multiple sources, including federal stimulus funds (American Reinvestment and Recovery Act), the U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Program, and the California Energy Commission. In the Bay Area, Energy Upgrade California is led by an alliance of the Association of Bay Area Governments, county and city agencies and PG&E.  For more information, visit www.energyupgradeca.org 

The media contact for Energy Upgrade California in Alameda County is Ayaka Emoto. She can be reached at 415-277-4915 or EnergyUpgradeAlameda@allisonpr.com.


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