I attended a an informational meeting called "Greening Your Home With Energy Upgrade California and Water Reliability 2020" last night. It was put on by the South Bay Environmental Services Center (SBESC). I previously attended a couple Ocean Friendly Gardening workshops co-sponsored by the SBESC and the Surfrider Foundation which I blogged about here, which is how I heard about last night's program.
The SBESC are sponsored by the South Bay Cities Council of Governments and chartered with "serving as the region's central clearinghouse for energy efficiency and water conservation information and resources,
by providing information and solutions to businesses, residents and governments in order to help them implement projects that will save water, energy, money, and the environment." Basically, they promote environmental and energy conservation issues and connect program sponsors with people. Last night they cleared the air on how to apply for and use the Energy Upgrade California rebates (it's simple, but this isn't apparent from the official LA County web site portal). A better written summary of how the program works is located at the SBESC website and the program last night was more informative yet. All the details of the three pathways to energy upgrades are too much to get into here. Briefly, the program that looks like the best fit for me is the "advanced" path which entails a before measurement of home energy efficiency followed by upgrades, followed by a retest of home energy efficiency. The amount of rebate is based on the measured energy efficiency improvement - 10% energy efficiency improvement gets you $2500. Higher levels of improvement get larger rebates. The rebate is partially consumed by fees for the before and after testing ($200 to $600 dollars each test). The tests are apparently extensive (potentially several people working for several hours) so the costs are not out of line with that effort and the actual measured performance improvement is your guarantee of a job well done. I find this appealing.