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Increase your comfort with an home energy upgrade.

PG&E keeps raising rates. Consider a home energy upgrade to reduce energy consumption, save money, and lower your carbon footprint. For a relatively modest investment – in conjunction with your remodel – air sealing and appropriate, correctly installed insulation can provide a significant improvement in indoor air quality and room-to-room comfort. Because walls, attics, ceilings, and crawl spaces are opened up and easier to access.

The following information is provided by Energy Upgrade California and Beckner Contracting & Management. We are Energy Upgrade California, PG&E, Build it Green, and Building Performance Institute-trained professionals. We use building science protocols for documentation, analysis, and recommendations.

Insulation: Insulation provides resistance to heat flow. The more heat flow resistance your insulation provides, the lower your heating and cooling costs. An insulating material’s resistance to conductive heat flow is measured or rated in terms of its thermal resistance or R-value: the higher R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. R-value depends on the type of insulation, thickness, and density.

If your insulation isn’t up to current standards, the best course of action is to remove it, air seal, and install a robust, complete and continuous layer of insulation. If you have an older tank water heater, wrap it with an insulating jacket (be careful not to cover the air intake valve) to save up to 10% on water heating costs.

Air Sealing and Weatherization: Air leakage through doors, windows, and walls leads to patchy indoor temperatures, wastes energy, and drives skyrocketing PG&E utility bills. In California, 30% of energy used is for heating and cooling. Adding insulation and filling gaps are effective ways to reduce air leakage.

Uncomfortable, humid indoor air quality is further exacerbated when you live in an area with a high water table or other geological condition. Cool humid air will feel colder and warm humid air will feel hotter. Given these circumstances, installing a crawl space 15-mil polyethylene moisture barrier attached to the stem wall of the foundation will help mitigate the problem. Beckner Contracting Management can identify and resolve.

Home Heating: You can also save money and increase comfort by properly maintaining or upgrading your heating equipment. Insulation, air sealing, and simple thermostat resetting could lower your energy costs by as much as 30% . You can save about 2% off your heating bill for each degree that you lower the thermostat (if the turndown lasts a good portion of the day or night). For example, changing your thermostat’s setting from 70°F to 65°F would save about 10%.

Water Heating: Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home, accounting for about 18% to 25% of your energy use. As a result, employing energy-saving strategies and choosing an energy-efficient water heater are necessary tactics. Ask us for a home energy assessment. Ask us for help determining whether an upgrade is a wise investment for your particular home.

Water heaters have a life expectancy from 10 to 20 years. Periodic maintenance can extend its life and minimize efficiency loss. Calculate your household’s peak-hour hot water demand and use that to determine what water heater size to get. You may be a candidate for a heat pump water heater.

Home Cooling: Two-thirds of homes in California have air conditioners. They use about 4% of all the electricity produced in California. As a result, roughly 585 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air each year.

Make the switch to an ENERGY STAR® high-efficiency air conditioner to start saving energy and money instantly. Visit the Product Finder to compare the most energy-efficient AC units.

In winter, layer up, throw on a puffer coat, fleece-lined long johns, and Ergo gloves. In summer, keep a cellphone fan attachment, ice neck wrap, and bikini on hand, for good measure.

*Cover Photo: Identifies locations where conditioned air is escaping, using a thermal imaging camera. Photo Above: Building envelope preparation with yellow polyethylene moisture barrier for she shed/ADU. Pleasant Hill and Saranap, California. By Beckner Contracting & Management, Inc.

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