Home Energy Efficiency in San Diego
California imports more energy than any other state in the U.S., which makes electricity in the San Diego area expensive with utilities like SDG&E charging around $0.16 per kilowatt-hour. This high cost makes the need for energy efficiency an important factor for homeowners in the San Diego area to consider.
Making Your Home Comfortable and Efficient
Here are some stats about the San Diego area that will come in handy when thinking about energy efficiency.
- At $10.65 per thousand cubic feet, San Diego residents are paying almost exactly the national average for natural gas.
- Temperatures in San Diego vary by only 30 degrees throughout the entire year, with the average July high at 78 degrees and the average January low hanging around 50.
- Most houses in California more than 27 years old. This makes the need for energy efficiency upgrades an important part of keeping your home up to date and affordable, especially when it comes to outdated, electricity users like old refrigerators.
- The San Diego area has excellent solar potential, receiving around 6.5 kWh of solar radiation daily.
Home Energy Audits in San Diego
Energy audits will help you prioritize your energy efficiency needs by comprehensively testing different areas of your home, your appliances and your heating and cooling equipment. An energy auditor will be able to help you decide which energy efficiency upgrades will be most cost effective.
Energy audits in the San Diego metro area typically cost a few hundred dollars, but that cost can easily be regained quickly through savings on your utility bills.
If you'd like to find out — for free and within minutes — whether your home is a good candidate for an energy audit and for upgrades, take our online home energy report. We'll give you a home energy report and estimate your savings potential.
Home Energy Upgrades in San Diego
The following are some of the upgrades your energy auditor may recommend for your home.
- Geothermal Heat Pumps: In a mild climate like San Diego's, a geothermal heat pump can be a cost-effective way to heat and cool your home by using the earth's "free heat" to warm your home during the coldest months and reversing to pump warm air out of your home during the hottest months.
- ENERGY STAR Appliances: By replacing outdated appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers, dryers and other heavy electricity users, you can significantly lower your electricity bills.
- Attic Insulation: Many older homes have little to no attic insulation. For homes like these, ENERGY STAR recommends adding R25 to R38 rated insulation to attics with only a few inches of insulation.
- Daylighting: Modern buildings that are designed to take advantage of the sun's natural light use 40-60 percent less electricity for lighting than other buildings.
- Solar Water Heaters: In a climate that is consistently sunny like San Diego's, using a solar water heater to preheat water before it enters a more traditional water heater can have a big impact on your energy costs. Hot water heaters typically account for around 12 percent of a household's energy bills.
Have a project in mind? Contact an energy expert to get started.
Energy Rebates and Tax Credits in San Diego
Home Efficiency Upgrades: If you're a customer of SDG&E, you may be eligible for a few different rebates on efficient washers, refrigerators, air conditioners, furnaces, water heaters, insulation and more. The federal government also offers a tax credit on HVAC equipment, insulation, windows and doors, roofs, water heaters and more through the federal Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit, which covers up to 30 percent of the equipment and appliance costs for up to $1,500.
Renewable Energy Systems: For folks interested in solar energy, solar hot water heaters or wind energy, there are a few of incentives to take advantage of. The California Solar Initiative provides rebates based on watt production for existing homes. If you're more interested in wind energy, you can participate in the Emerging Renewables Program and the Self-Generation Incentive. All of these renewable energies are also covered under the federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit equal to 30 percent of the renewable system's cost.
Check out all energy rebates and tax credits in San Diego.
Home Energy Resources from EnergySavvy
- Home Energy Report: How efficient is your home? Find out how to improve your home's efficiency and comfort, without spending tons of money, with EnergySavvy's free online home energy report.
- Energy Rebate and Tax Credit Directory: EnergySavvy's guide to energy rebates and tax credits can help you find all the energy tax credits and rebates that are available locally for you.
- Energy Contractors: If you've got a project in mind to make your home more energy efficient and comfortable and you'd like to talk with an energy expert about it, we can help. We focus on the relatively small group of contractors nationwide who really understand home energy auditing and energy retrofits.
- Educational Content: Home energy efficiency is complicated stuff. It's not just as simple as laying some insulation in the attic. We've put together a library of easy-to-read topics that cover the basics of energy efficiency. And if you have a question about anything, you can ask one of our energy experts using our "Ask an Expert" feature.
Last Updated: May 2010
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