How much energy do you consume each year? Do you know how that may correlate to greenhouse gas emissions? How many tons of green house gas emissions do we emit by leaving our lights on? By taking long showers? By running our air conditioners during these record dry summers? In California, Global Green USA is working to more easily connect consumers to these questions and answers. In 2009, California passed Assembly Bill (AB) 758, sponsored by Global Green USA and authored by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner. AB 758, or otherwise called the Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Program for Existing Buildings, requires the California Energy Commission to create and execute a program that will help our state manage energy efficiency in existing buildings. Energy Upgrade California™ is the state’s response to AB 758. The state initiative educates and incentivizes California residents and small businesses to engage in energy efficiency and manage their energy use. After helping pass AB 758, Global Green has recently become an Energy Upgrade California™ Ambassador, to further commit to helping reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Although many Californian’s are interested in using their energy more efficiently and saving money on their utility bills, the process can seem overwhelming and many don’t know where to start. Enter Energy Upgrade CA™, a one-stop shop that allows California residents and small business owners to learn how to manage their energy usage with new technology and state incentives. Available rebates, financing options, qualified contractors, interactive learning materials and more are all in one place. Many energy efficient initiatives in the past have focused on infrastructure and LEED certifications for new buildings. However, Energy Upgrade CA is focused on retrofits for existing homes and commercial buildings, many of which were built before California’s energy code was created, and therefore waste a lot of energy.
The solutions under Energy Upgrade CA™ extend far beyond just California. For example, if every American home replaced one incandescent light bulb with a new ENERGY STAR energy saving bulb, the EPA estimates that we could save enough energy to power three million homes for a year, save about $680 million in annual energy costs, and eliminate nine billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
As Energy Upgrade CA™ ambassadors, we want to help save residents billions of dollars and avoid millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Educating residents and instilling energy efficient habits will make a great difference.
Energy efficiency is also one of the easiest and most effective tools we have to tackle climate change. AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, requires the state of California to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The incentives and advice available through Energy Upgrade California™ will be a key part of achieving these goals. Climate change in California means a lot of different things. Changing rain patterns, rising sea levels and more forest fires are a few of the concerning issues we face. Some of these issues, like rolling blackouts, can be largely prevented by making our buildings more energy efficient and thereby reducing strain on the electrical grid.
California has long made clean energy a priority, and Energy Upgrade California™ is the next step in an extensive history of leadership. We’re looking forward to helping more Californians take advantage of this program in order to do their part towards a greener, more energy efficient future.
Learn more about Energy Upgrade California at EnergyUpgradeCA.org.