Keep Your Cool!  Remember those 106°F days just before the 4th of July?  Did you know that July 3 set a record for the hottest day worldwide, and that record was broken on July 4?  Summertime is here, and even more record breaking temps are in the forecast. All the more reason why it’s important to keep our home energy goals front of mind.

But how do we keep our cool while reducing energy consumption and retiring fossil fuels? By making a plan and checking out the new incentives, including additonal savings for income qualified owners and renters (details below)!

Conservation and smart energy use

In the short term, adopting conservation practices helps you reduce energy use and energy costs (because using less costs less). Simple things reduce the heat load on your house like turning off lights (and replacing them with LEDs) and running big appliances like washing machines and dishwashers in the early morning or evening.

Do you have windows that catch a lot of sun? Closing interior shades/drapes helps, and installing exterior shades and overhangs helps even more. Set your thermostat correctly. Open windows and use fans to pull the evening breeze into your home at night, and then capture that coolness by closing up in the morning.  A little bit of midday air conditioning (pre-cooling) can make your house more comfortable throughout the day and postpone the time when you really need the AC.

Check out the Cool Davis Home Energy page with links to our home energy videos for tips and tricks on staying cool and saving money.

(See the drop down menu at the bottom of the page for Cool Solutions resources).

Installation of a whole house fan is quick and relatively easy with huge energy savings! Courtesy photo.

Watch energy usage for your pocketbook

June 1 was the start of the summer rate season for PG&E and VCE.  Our energy providers shift their rates twice a year (summer and winter) in anticipation of energy demand and the expected availability of energy resources (water, wind, solar, and natural gas). In the summer, electricity rates typically go up.  You’ll see these rate changes starting with your July bill.

See PG&E’s explanation of the June rate changes and how those compare across the rate structures.

If you’re still using the tiered rate system, PG&E has a good explanation of how to understand your baseline amount and estimate if you’ll likelybe going into the upper tiers based on your past usage. Remember, upper tiers cost more and keeping your usage low enough to avoid these saves you money.

Planning when you use energy can also pay off

If you are on time-of-use billing, referred to as TOU, PG&E offers information about more expensive “peak times” (usually between 3pm and 9pm) to help you move energy use to off peak times to minimize your bill,. Especially in hot summer months when electricity demand in the late afternoon and early evening is high, postponing electricity use to after 9pm reduces strain on the grid and increases its reliability.

For electric vehicle (EV) owners with EV rates, your time of use (TOU) periods are especially important. Rates are set to incentivize charging after midnight and before 3 pm. Electricity is more expensive during peak hours (4pm to 9 pm) and partial-peak (3 to 4 pm and 9 pm to 12pm midnight). According to PG&E, the cost to charge an EV during off-peak hours is about the same as paying $2.21 per gallon at the pump. You might also be eligible for CARE and FERA monthly discounts. For customers enrolled in CARE and the EV2-A rate, the cost to charge your EV during off-peak hours is equivalent to paying $1.44 per gallon at the pump.



Make a Plan for efficiency and conservation

Long term, if you have an aging air conditioning or heating or hot water unit now is the time to make a plan to replace those systems with more efficient units that save you energy and money. Don’t forget to consider upgrading windows and attic insulation to make your house more efficient. Also, new EV incentives for lower income households and rebates for used vehicles are making EVs more accessible to more people. These are game-changing savings for lower income households.

Check out the Cool Davis Home Energy page Resources section for our series of documents to help you Make a Plan now!

More rebates and tax credits than ever

Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Action of 2022, new tax credits and rebates are available from the federal government and other sources covering appliances and upgrades we recommend like these:

  • Ground and air source heat pumps, single package and splits (HVAC)
  • Heat pump water heaters
  • Solar thermal water heaters
  • Sealing and insulation
  • Windows, doors, and skylights

ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder helps you find rebates and special offers near you on ENERGY STAR certified products. Products that earn the ENERGY STAR label meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the U.S. EPA helping you save energy and money while protecting the environment. The federal government is offering a 30% tax credit with upper limits on the systems listed above and more. 

Golden State Rebates is offering $500 rebates on heat pump water heaters.

PG&E is offering instant retail rebates off certain residental and commerical appliances that are ENERGY STAR labelled.

Additional incentives can be found on the Energy Star website for the services and systems below.

  • Home energy audits
  • Electric panel upgrades
  • Solar panels, including battery storage

Rewiring America incentives calculator lists information on federal rebates for residents that fall below 150 percent of an area’s median income of up to $14,000 per household including $8,000 for heat pumps, $1,750 for heat pump water heaters, and $840 for electric stoves. The rebates should start to become available by the end of 2023 depend on how the state rolls out its incentive program.

See our Cool Davis Ways to Save page for a comprehensive list of incentives.

Make a Plan!

Cool Davis has many resources to support you, including upcoming workshops, information and events, and our Home Energy web page to help you move forward!  Sign up with us to get more information. Tell us about your home energy situation in a brief online survey and we will send you announcements of upcoming events and activities and links to our Help Desk and other resources.

Sign up and take our Home Energy Survey:

Check out our home energy page especially links to our home energy videos, capturing the night breeze, tips and tricks on staying cool, saving money, and Make a Plan materials. (See the dropdown menu at the bottom of the page for Cool Solutions resources.)

Join hundreds of other local households and make informed decisions that save you money and save the planet, too!

Solar plus battery is the solar pathway forward

In April, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ended the current Net Energy Metering program for new customers (NEM 1.0). New solar owners will not be allowed to credit excess energy from high production periods (summer) against lower production periods (winter) on an annual basis. Instead, excess production will be credited at wholesale rates at time of production.

Federal tax credits are still in place for solar and battery installation of up to 30% of costs. Our advice is to talk to several solar providers with lots of experience with solar and battery installation. You really need expert advice to get a realistic view of your system capabilities and evaluate your costs and benefits.

The state is moving forward in planning for using electric vehicles as batteries to store excess renewable electricity production from the grid and even at home.  Stay tuned for when these new systems might become available.