Posts Tagged ‘PG&E’

Paying attention to gas leaks!

September 13, 2013

Gas Leaks can be many things, but generally are not welcome.  If you smell the “rotten egg” odor (some can’t pick up the smell) of a gas leak or otherwise suspect one in your home, you should get out and call your provider ASAP.  Sometimes they go unnoticed by homeowners, which is why in assessing homes, our advisors find up to ½ of them contain gas leaks, and we’ve been in a lot of homes.  picaro

PG&E a California utility where we have a number of locations, such as Allbritten in Fresno, ABC in Hayward, Residential Energy Pro’s in San Jose, Young’s Air in Los Banos and Gundlach’s in Bakersfield, has invested in a number of cars with sensitive gas sampling equipment to test lines that run through local neighborhoods.  They have amazing detection abilities, like our advisors!

While we won’t be driving hybrid cars with fancy pipes stuck on the top trough your living room, rest assured that the sensitive equipment we bring inside works quite well and so do our advisers.  It’s part of the health and safety testing we perform.  If there’s one tiny leak or a bigger issue we’ll take care of it, it is all part of making sure your home is not only energy efficient but safe too.

Thanks,

Jason

 

Image: http://www.picarrosurveyor.com/brochure/brochure

 

Congratulations to GreenHomes Partner ABC Cooling and Heating!

May 8, 2012

GreenHomes America Partner ABC Cooling and Heating, was recently presented the 2012 Energy Upgrade California Highest Performance Award.  This award is presented to the contractor that has completed the highest number of Home Performance projects within the PG&E territory in the state of California.

This is a significant achievement since 75% of all Energy Upgrade California projects were completed in the PG&E territory.  I won’t steal ABC’s thunder but, collectively GreenHomes America Partner locations have performed close to half of all completions in the State of California!   I know this won’t be the last award we will see from ABC Cooling and Heating!

Jerry Unruh
President & Owner

We’re proud to support ABC Cooling and Heating’s locations in Fresno and Hayward as they perform both energy assessments and upgrades from Santa Clara County/SF Bay Area to the Central San Joaquin Valley.  Their dedication to quality, hard work and customer service has paid great dividends.

Rest assured that when a GreenHomes America Partner works on your home, those dividends will be more than energy savings.  You will experience the service and quality that instills the trust to recommend a company from friend to friend and neighbor to neighbor.


What’s all the hubbub about the “green button”?

January 20, 2012

White House PGE announce the Green ButtonThe White House announced that PG&E, and San Diego Gas & Electric have launched the “green button”, an online tool that allows customers to download their own energy data.

[Watch California utilities PG&E, and San Diego Gas & Electric in the video of the Green Button launch.]

That is certainly good news.  We’ve long used a good look an utility bill history and energy usage to help figure out what going on in a home.  Something that makes it easier for a homeowner to track down that history is a good thing.  And we look forward to a host of third-party aps that can help consumers save energy and money.

But from the hoopla, you’d think our energy woes are over.

Not so fast.  Access to household energy use data is really important.  And Facebook aps might be fun.  But when it’s 105 degrees out and you have a poorly insulated house, with south- and west-facing glass, and an old air-conditioner, are you going to be able to stay comfortable without paying a lot of money to the utilities?  No.  Good information helps, but it doesn’t change physics.  To make your home more comfortable and not break the bank with utility bills, you’ve got to make actual improvements!

And the fundamentals still apply.  You need good insulation and air-sealing, tight duct work, efficient heating and cooling equipment, efficient lighting.  And you also need to know if your water heater, furnace, or any other combustion appliance in your home is operating safely and efficiently.  The green button won’t don’t that for you.

Energy Upgrade CaliforniaFortunately, for California residents, the statewide Energy Upgrade California (EUC) program can provide up to $4,000 in rebates to help make smart improvements (some cities and counties are offering even more in matching rebates).  And certified contractors can give you access to these incentives. GreenHomes America partners have BPI-certified staff, and can provide access to the EUC incentives.

The best way to find out what you might qualify for is to have a real home energy audit conducted by a participating contractor—and then get the rebate by having the contractor make the improvements.  You can contact participating experts in the following areas to learn more:

So bring the green button on.  Check it out.  Easier access to utility information is great (after all, we’re paying the bills, aren’t we—shouldn’t we be able to get the information?)  Kudos to PG&E and SDGE for stepping up to lead the nation with this.  The rest of the country?  Well, a handful of additional uttilies have said they’re interested, so stay tuned.  And if GreenHomes has a location near you, we’ll help you find applicable rebates, incentives, and loans.

But if you want a more comfortable, healthier, and more energy-efficiency home, data alone won’t do it.  A good home assessment followed by the right, professionally installed, measures, will.

Cheers,
Mike

Getting a charge out of (and into) electric vehicles in California

July 26, 2011

The times they are a changin’.  And the cars they are a chargin’!

Our sister company, Linc Lighting & Electrical, has installed the first electric vehicle (EV) charging stations of their kind in downtown Laguna Beach, California, as part of City’s wider effort to implement an array of climate protection measures.   The EV charging stations were officially unveiled at a June 21 press event conducted by the Laguna Beach City Council and attended by my colleagues at The Linc Group. 

C

An EV charging station in Laguna Beach--A state-of-the-art Coulomb system installed by Linc Lighting & Electrical

“We are proud to be a part of this sustainability initiative in partnership with the City of Laguna Beach,” said Ken Sapp, vice president of Linc EnergyHub. “The Linc Group is strongly committed to providing superior, sustainable services to all of our clients across all of our service areas, including IT, electrical, lighting, controls and HVAC. We also are pleased to have the opportunity to work once again with Coulomb Technologies to help deliver leading sustainability solutions.” 

LLE is also installing charging stations for Nissan Leaf purchases and supporting business locations. 

I’m particularly excited by the in-home installs.  We have the ability, with our GreenHomes Partner locations in San DiegoFresno, and Hayward to work hand-in- hand with LLE, not just with charging stations, but to look at the whole house and find ways to save energy–offseting the electrical consumption of the car!  That’s a huge deal.  And the Energy Upgrade California incentives help pay for the home improvements.  Less gas, less smog, lower utility bills, and money back!  It’s a quadruple win!

You don’t have to buy an electric vehicle to start saving in your home and taking advantage of the cash back rebates.  And the funny thing is, the improvements make sense even without the rebates.  You wind up with a more comfortable, healthier home with lower utility bills.  Good stuff!

Cheers,
Mike

Be your own energy police

August 18, 2010

The energy police are here. That’s me, for precisely three days a month… the three days immediately following the receipt of my gas and electricity bill. I play the role of water police on a different three days of the month.

I think it is great to monitor and control your energy use, I just wish I was better at it. My problem is that I’m forgetful. Not forgetful in the sense that I leave the oven on and the dinner catches fire (although I wouldn’t put that past me either), but forgetful in the sense that an item of relatively low priority simply won’t get done if I’m not reminded of it frequently.

Don’t get me wrong, conserving energy should not be a low priority item, it’s just that my internal dialogue is so preoccupied with moment-to-moment problems that I forget about being good. Instead of thinking, “I should unplug the TV when I’m not using it,” I’m thinking, “Why aren’t my jogging shoes in the hallway closet? Who ate the last of the cereal and put the empty bag back in the box? Is there gas in the car? I’m probably going to be late for work again.”

Except for those three days after I get the bill, then a snapshot of my brain reveals a much more motivated consumer. Then I’m thinking, “I need to use the oven to roast a chicken for dinner, I should multi-task and make the brownies for my in-law’s potluck at the same time. Would that make the brownies taste like chicken? Who cares, I’m saving energy!”

Recently, my ‘27 days of forgetfulness followed by 3 days of frenzied energy saving’ model of living got a kick in the butt. PG&E, our energy company, installed SmartMeters on our gas and electric lines.

This is perhaps the best thing that has ever happened to my energy consumption habits. I found out that PG&E has an online tracking tool – a program that allows me to see our energy consumption by the hour with just a 24 hour lag time. I set the energy tracker log-on page as my homepage and now every time I launch my browser I check-up on how we’re doing and am reminded to be energy conscious, but more than that, for the first time I actually feel like I’m in control of my household energy use.

The number on my energy bill is no longer a mystery.

Of course, just looking at your SmartMeter won’t save you money any more than thumbing through Gourmet magazine will result in a delicious meal.  You need to take action with the simple tips I’ll discuss on this blog, and deeper recommendations you can review at GreenHomes America.

Now I keep a log of energy use and changes we make around the house, and correlate it to the changes I see on my SmartMeter energy tracker page. In the next few weeks I’ll be letting you in on the changes we’ve made both in our energy use habits and our energy-using hardware, and how they’ve affected our energy bill.

I’m hoping for great things. I’m hoping being more energy efficient will become a habit rather than something I have to think about. I’m hoping I’ll no longer freak out for 3 days a month and go into damage control mode, and thus,  to no longer have to sneak out of the room when I hear the words, “Who made these brownies? They taste kind of strange…”


%d bloggers like this: