We use energy every day in our homes and offices to power our lights, appliances, heating and cooling systems, and other electronic devices. Energy efficient practices allow us to enjoy the comfort and performance of these modern conveniences while keeping our energy use, and our utility bills, low. Aside from just comfort, energy efficiency is becoming more critical as the earth warms. Each year fires get worse, drought lingers longer, average temperatures rise, and the Sierra snow-pack is diminished. These cumulatively threaten our homes, forests, towns and water supply. The culprit? Greenhouse gases. Carbon is released into the atmosphere creating heat trapping greenhouse gases from our homes, cars and businesses. Collectively, human carbon release is changing weather patterns raising air and ocean temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns, and threatening agriculture and ecosystems. Energy efficiency is critical in reducing carbon and reducing the impacts of climate change. What can you do?
Upgrades can save a significant amount of energy and make a huge difference in your energy bills. Replacing an older, energy-intensive refrigerator with an efficient EnergyStar® rated appliance or outdated compact fluorescent bulbs with highly efficient LEDs are just a couple changes that produce drastic savings. Home weatherization improvements, like changing out single-paned windows with double-paned, offer better insulation and can reduce the costs of heating or cooling your home. There is significant energy used in the transportation and treatment of water, reducing water waste helps us conserve the limited water we have, as well as save the energy needed to deliver it. Switching to renewable energy, energy that comes from natural resources, such as sunlight, wind, water, biomass, and geothermal activity, can also reduce energy costs.
- Energy Action Plan
- Energy Efficiency Programs in Nevada County
- Energy Efficiency Toolkit & Biggest Bang for your Buck Guide
On February 12, 2019, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors approved the Energy Action Plan (EAP) as the County’s unincorporated area’s roadmap for expanding energy-efficiency, water-efficiency, and renewable-energy, and the cost-savings that accompany these efforts. The EAP was prepared by Sierra Business Council, and contains a three-year implementation action plan.
Nevada County’s EAP focuses on the unincorporated areas of the County. Nevada City and Grass Valley have adopted similar Plans in 2015 and 2018 respectively. The Town of Truckee is in the process of developing its own Climate Action Plan. Each jurisdiction’s plans have its own set of goals and actions to reduce emissions.
The full Nevada County Energy Action Plan can be viewed here.
Nevada County Energy Action Plan Goals and Strategies
Goal 1: Energy Efficiency: Improve Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Facilities, and County Operations
Strategy 1.1: Expand outreach and education on existing energy efficiency practices, programs, and financing options for residential and non-residential utility customers.
Strategy 1.2: Improve compliance with current California Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24, Part 6) by providing informational materials when available.
Strategy 1.3: Continue to increase the energy efficiency of County buildings, facilities, and operations.
Goal 2: Renewable Energy: Expand the Utilization of Renewable Energy and Resilience Measures
Strategy 2.1: Prepare for the inclusion of renewable energy systems in new construction and large retrofit projects in order to meet California Zero Net Energy Goals by providing informational material when available.
Strategy 2.2: Encourage renewable energy projects through education, outreach, and local leadership.
Strategy 2.3: Encourage energy storage and grid optimization infrastructure projects that support local renewable energy systems and community resilience.
Goal 3: Water Energy: Encourage the Efficient and Safe Transportation and Use of Water Resources
Strategy 3.1: Improve and increase the County’s outreach and education efforts in collaboration with Nevada Irrigation District and other water agencies by providing information on existing and future water efficiency and conservation programs.
Strategy 3.2: Coordinate with Nevada Irrigation District and other water agencies to participate in proactive leak detection programs in order to reduce water losses.
Strategy 3.3: Continue to improve the efficiency of County Wastewater Treatment operations and encourage and collaborate with Nevada Irrigation District and other water agencies to improve the efficiency of agency water operations.
In 2005, the Nevada County community consumed 349,789,663 kWh of electricity and 3,433,874 therms of natural gas. The Nevada County EAP forecasts that just under $46 million can be saved and kept within the community by 2035 within a 51% reduction in electricity and 30% reduction in natural gas.
To achieve these savings, Nevada County EAP was developed to provide a broad view of energy use in the County, set energy and water-energy saving goals, recommend actions that result in short and long-term energy savings, and educate the community on existing resources designed to save utility customers money, energy, and water. By implementing this plan, the community could realize the following benefits:
Energy and Money Savings
Local Air Quality Improvements
The Energy Action Plan has many resources that residents can take advantage of to increase energy efficiency for their home, business, or schools. Check out these and see Appendix E for more programs.
The SmartRateTM Plan is a financial energy-saving incentive for customers to help offset peak energy consumption in California. With SmartRate, electric rates are lower June 1st through September 30th, except on SmartDaysTM, which PG&E notifies customers of the day before in order to better plan shifting electricity use to avoid the higher rate period (2-7 pm on a SmartDayTM). PG&E customers who add the SmartRate program to their account will pay a reduced rate in exchange for minimizing their electricity usage for 9 to 15 SmartDayTM days a year. Customers are encouraged to lower usage and collectively help conserve energy resources. With SmartRate automatic bill protection, the first summer is risk-free.
HomeIntel helps customers with a unique and customized energy reduction plan based on how energy is used in their home. HomeIntel starts by creating an energy profile of the home using Smart Audit, which automatically accesses the resident’s PG&E account for energy data. Next, the customer is guided through an interactive tutorial on how energy is currently being used and how to plan to save energy and money while reducing GHG emissions. Smart Audit sends the customer a monthly report that shows the progress through this program. This PG&E program is available to PG&E customers at no cost who have lived in their residence for a year or more, and
do not have any solar PV installed.
PG&E’s SmartAC program offers the opportunity to help prevent summer energy supply emergencies from disrupting day-to-day activities. Upon joining, SmartAC will install their free SmartAC device. Once installed, the customer will receive a SmartAC reward check.
PG&E offers rebates in order to save energy, costs, and time through several programs. The PG&E Marketplace allows customers to search for and compare the most energy-efficient products on the market, and easily apply for product rebates. The Multifamily property owners and managers rebate program targets energy-efficient products that serve units and common areas of apartment buildings, mobile home parks, and condominium complexes. The program also highlights the energy savings and rebate incentives of upgrading to Energy Star® certified pool pumps and motors, and replacing manual or programmable thermostats with a new qualifying Energy Star® smart thermostat.
PG&E’s Energy Savings Assistance Program provides income-qualified customers with energy-saving improvements at no charge.
PG&E's Multi-Family Program is for property owners and managers of existing residential dwellings or mobile home parks with five or more units. The program encourages owners to install qualifying energy-efficient products in individual tenant units and common areas of residential apartments, mobile home parks and condominium complexes. A full list of available rebates and incentives is available online.
REACH provides solutions for projects that reduce energy vulnerability such as PG&E’s one-time emergency financial assistance. REACH provides an energy credit for up to $300 to help low-income families keep their PG&E services turned on in times of hardship
The Go Solar California SASH program provides qualifying low-income homeowners up-front rebates to defray the costs of installing a solar electric system. Depending on the income level, homeowners may be eligible for an entirely free system, or a highly subsidized one. The SASH program is structured to provide access to solar technology while also providing green jobs training, employment, and community engagement opportunities. The SASH program is administered by GRID Alternatives.
PG&E offers non-residential customers rebates and incentives for power management software, occupancy sensors on lights, steam traps, HVAC motors and pumps, electric water heaters, process cooling, data center airflow management, boiler economizers, refrigeration, boiler heat recovery, refrigeration control, VSD pumps, boilers, and fans. A full list of current rebates can be found using the PG&E money-back tool.
PG&E offers rebates for high-efficient replacement lights as well as rebates to help cover the costs of qualifying fixtures and retrofit kits.
PG&E’s Solar Water Heating program saves energy and money for customers by up to an 80% reduction in water-heating bills, and almost 75% savings for solar water heating systems with the PG&E rebate and tax credit.
RCx is a systematic process for identifying less-than-optimal performance in your facility’s equipment, lighting, and control systems and making the necessary adjustments. While retrofitting involves replacing outdated equipment, RCx focuses on improving the efficiency of what’s already in place. PG&E’s RCx Program provides incentives and connects businesses with experts to make sure their facilities — and the equipment and systems within them — are running in peak condition for optimal energy savings. RCx projects can improve a facility’s work environment and extend the service life of the equipment.
SBD is a statewide program offered by PG&E to encourage high-performance new building design and construction for non-residential (commercial, school, facility, etc.) buildings. The program offers building owners and their design teams a wide range of services, such as design assistance, design team incentives, owner incentives, business solutions, and educational resources. SBD can help exceed California's Title 24 energy-efficiency standards, and engineers can analyze your building's energy design to help it rise above the standard and you can earn financial incentives for doing so.
The Hospitality Program provides energy efficiency recommendations, project oversight, and rebates at no cost to customers in PG&E territory including hotels and motels, dining and restaurants, casinos, health clubs, and more. Free services provided include facility audit, project proposal, installation oversight, and rebate fulfillment. Energy specialists will conduct a free assessment of your facility and identify site-specific opportunities to save you energy and money. Projects include upgrading old inefficient lighting to LEDs and replacing old refrigeration motors.
The PG&E Food Service Technology Center (FSTC) provides nationally recognized energy efficiency consulting services to the commercial foodservice industry. The program includes kitchen equipment testing, design consultation, on-site facility surveys for energy efficiency, educational seminars for energy performance in commercial kitchens, and equipment testing services to determine the energy and performance characteristics of foodservice equipment.
The Bright Schools Program offers services to help identify the most cost-effective energy-saving opportunities for your facilities. Eligible applicants include K-12 Public School Districts, Charter Schools, State Special Schools, County Offices of Education, and Community Colleges. The Program provides technical assistance to schools for improving building energy efficiency and clean energy generation. Up to $20,000 is available to successful applicants to fund a professionally prepared feasibility study for the most effective energy efficiency measures.
The Energy Partnership Program offers services to help identify the most cost-effective energy-saving opportunities for facilities. The California Energy Commission (CEC) Provides up to $20,000 in technical assistance to public agencies, which includes cities, counties, special districts, public hospitals, and public care facilities, in identifying the most cost-effective energy-efficient upgrades. The program targets existing facilities with energy audits, and new construction with energy-efficient design reviews.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) provides 0-1% interest loans to public entities for projects with proven energy and/or demand cost savings.
Navigating the world of energy efficiency can be overwhelming! Along with the EAP was a need for an easy-to-use guide or ‘toolkit’ to help residents and business owners navigate the complexities of energy efficiency action items. Below is a link to our toolkit and our ‘Biggest Bang for your Buck’ guide.
Biggest Bang For Your Buck Guide
Nevada County Energy Efficiency Toolkit
If you found these helpful and you’re interested in furthering engagement with energy efficiency join our Working Group! A working group has been established to help implement community energy efficiency actions and educational outreach around existing energy resources in the community. The working group is composed of a diverse group of stakeholders including Nevada County officials and staff, local renewable experts, climate advocates, contractors, among many more. The working group meets on the second Monday of the month from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. For more information contact Sierra Business Council’s Climate and Energy team, at email@example.com.