The city of Fresno, Calif. is working to help residents save energy and keep money in their pockets through the city's Home Energy Tune-Up Program, according to The Fresno Bee.
"It is something that all of us should take advantage of," said Juan Arambula, a former Fresno County supervisor.
The former supervisor and one-time state Assembly member and Mayor Ashley Swearengin held a brief news conference this week to tout the city's effort to save energy and help homeowners keep more money in their pockets. They were joined by California Energy Commission Chairman Robert Weisenmiller and PG&E Energy Solutions/Service Manager Robert Carlson.
The tune-up program is a free energy audit conducted by city workers. They come to the home and determine where energy — and, therefore, money — is being wasted. The problems could range from leaky windows to cracks in the floor. Attics are checked for insulation. Heating and air-conditioning ducts get the once-over for bad seals.
The homeowner receives a list of fix-it ideas. The order and timing of the fixes are left to the homeowner, as are finding a contractor and paying the bills.
It's a city program but available to anyone in Fresno and Madera counties.
Arambula said he and his wife, Amy Arambula, had their energy audit about 18 months ago and have been working on the list ever since. He said they saw a nearly 50 percent savings on their monthly cooling costs this summer.
The Arambula home is from that classic era of Fresno architecture when hardwood floors, elaborate interior woodwork and lots of windows were the order of the day. Such homes as they age can also be wasteful of expensive energy, Arambula said.
The energy tune-up program "is a benefit to older residential areas," Arambula said. "It is a benefit to the city."
The California Energy Commission provided $2.9 million to get the program going. As those dollars dwindled, PG&E stepped in with more money to keep the audits coming.
More than 2,500 homes have received the audits, with 925 homes getting energy-efficiency retrofits. This has generated an estimated $4.8 million in business activity in the region.
Swearengin said homeowners who plug the energy leaks see annual savings from $300 to $2,400.
Read more about home energy audits.