Los Angeles County and Energy Upgrade California Announce Winners of Home Energy Makeover Contest

May 12, 2011

Contest Drives Awareness about Home Energy Upgrades and Savings

Today, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu joined with Los Angeles County and Energy Upgrade California to congratulate the winners of the program's inaugural Home Energy Makeover Contest. Energy Upgrade California, which is funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, helps homeowners across the state save money through energy-efficient improvements to their homes. The six winners of the Home Energy Makeover Contest were announced today at a press conference in Los Angeles, which was attended by Los Angeles County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Zev Yaroslavsky, as well as participating contractors, homeowners, and other program partners. More information on the winners is available at theLos Angeles County Makeover Contest website.

"This contest encourages homeowners in California to improve the energy performance of their homes, so that they can save money by saving energy," said Secretary Chu. "Across the country, home energy efficiency programs are supporting new clean energy jobs, expanding the market for energy-saving products and services, and showing families and businesses how easy it is to reduce energy waste and save money."

The winning households were selected based on information they submitted about their homes including year built, square footage, prior home improvements, and energy use. Homes that would benefit most from a whole-house upgrade were chosen, and will act as models for others in the community looking to improve the energy performance of their homes. Five of the winning homeowners will receive free energy-efficient home upgrades worth an estimated $10,000 while the grand-prize winner will receive a free "toward zero energy use" energy-efficiency upgrade package worth an estimated $50,000.

The Los Angeles County contest, funded through Energy Upgrade California's $30 million in Recovery Act funds from the Department of Energy's BetterBuildings program, promotes energy efficiency improvements across California. While the contest winners announced today were part of the Los Angeles County pilot program, the statewide Energy Upgrade California program is a partnership between the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission, utilities, local governments, and the private sector.

The Energy Upgrade California program was introduced to residents in early 2011 to create new jobs in the home retrofit sector, reduce carbon pollution, and help families save money on their energy bills. The program expects to improve the efficiency of up to 18,000 homes and support up to 2,000 new green jobs in Los Angeles County. Participating homeowners are expected to see their energy use decrease by about 20 percent with the improvements. The program estimates it will ultimately eliminate about 20,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, an air quality improvement equivalent to planting approximately half a million trees.

Participating Los Angeles County homeowners who make energy-saving home improvements can qualify for rebates and incentives of up to $4,500 in addition to the savings they are likely to see on their monthly utility bills. Home improvements that qualify for rebates and incentives include insulation, sealing, energy-efficient windows, tankless water heaters, and heating and cooling system upgrades. The program emphasizes a "whole house" approach, rather than installing individual improvements, as the most efficient and effective way to save money on energy bills.

BetterBuildings Program Background and History

BetterBuildings is a national DOE program that is working to transform the marketplace for energy efficiency upgrades in homes, businesses, and institutions. More than 40 state and local governments and partnering organizations received over $500 million to lay the foundation for a sustainable energy efficiency market in the United States. BetterBuildings partners are working to help consumers and businesses save money and reduce their energy use by providing high-quality, accessible and affordable energy improvements. The partners are also supporting local economies through the growth of a qualified energy efficiency workforce.

Over the next three years, the program will leverage an estimated $3 billion in additional funding and resources from the private sector, local communities, and nonprofit organizations. BetterBuildings aims to provide energy upgrades to 170,000 residential and commercial buildings, saving consumers about $65 million annually on energy bills.

BetterBuildings partnerships are using innovative approaches to test business models and identify real market solutions that will expand America's energy improvement industry. These business models and solutions will develop best practices that states or communities across the country can adopt to establish or improve comprehensive energy efficiency upgrade programs. To learn more about how the U.S. Department of Energy's BetterBuildings program is changing lives by changing buildings, visit the BetterBuildings website.

To learn more about DOE's Recovery Act investments, please visit the DOE Recovery Act website.