Energy Consumption a Major Focus of Housing Redevelopment

San Diego's Scripps Ranch area reconstruction to include improvements in energy efficiency

Published: 13-Jan-2004

Energy efficiency crusaders are hoping to use the reconstruction of homes in Scripps Ranch as a springboard to help those residents save energy costs and highlight benefits of energy-friendly design.

A new program, spearheaded by City Councilwoman Donna Frye, the San Diego Regional Energy Office and San Diego Gas & Electric, is awaiting final approval for implementation from the California Public Utilities Commission  on Jan. 24.

The commission approved the concept of the project on Dec. 18, 2003, said Nicole Capretz, policy analyst for Frye's office.

"They said they need to come back with a specific implementations program," Capretz said. "Until that happens, the funds are not available."

Types of assistance offered in the program include educational and technical, energy efficiency and photovoltaic system incentives.

The program will also offer incentives to homeowners for the installation of photovoltaic panels in the construction of their homes, taking advantage of programs currently offered by the state, city and SDG&E.

Upon the placement of the panels, the resident will receive a rebate from the state that will cover approximately half of the costs of the panels, Capretz said.

Upon functionality, the resident will see reduced costs on their energy bills.

In summer months when energy use is lowest, the resident may actually generate more power than used. In these cases, the energy is placed back on the grid and the resident will receive a credit from SDG&E.

It is estimated that it will take about 10 years for a resident to begin making money on the investment, Capretz said.

Upon final approval from the CPUC, there will be a number of workshops offered to residents of Scripps Ranch, said Ed Van Herik, spokesperson for SDG&E.

Eligibility to the program requires that the member be a customer of SDG&E.

Residents exceeding Title 24 standards by about 20 percent on the energy rating of their homes will receive $2,000. "The beauty of the program is that each individual homeowner would get $2,000 and that would pay for the efficiency measures," Capretz said. "It pays for itself."

The funds come from a variety of sources including the city of San Diego, SDG&E and the San Diego Regional Energy Office (SDREO), said Van Herik.

"It is energy efficiency money that was for other things," Van Herik said. "We filed with the CPUC to redirect the funds that rebuild with more energy efficient appliances."

The Title 24 energy efficiency standards cover both residential and nonresidential buildings. They were established in 1978 in response to a legislative mandate to reduce California's energy consumption.

Residents will be offered a series of design packages specifically tailored to meet the regulations, said Suzanne Frew, project manager for SDREO, at the meeting.

Energy efficient products include windows, insulation, appliances and many others.

"The participants are still refining the specific packages they will be proposing," Van Herik said.

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