4/11/2016

Deep Energy Retrofits Made Affordable with California’s PACE Program

Most older homes in the United States lack adequate insulation and air sealing, according to ENERGY STAR. Air leaks drive up utility bills and can cause discomfort from drafts and uneven temperatures. With rising energy costs, many California homeowners are air sealing and insulating their homes to keep heating and cooling costs down. Property assessed clean energy (PACE) is a means of finance energy-saving home improvement projects in California through property tax bills, making it affordable to many homeowners. Air sealing a home can, however, cause air quality issues to arise, increasing the importance of mechanical ventilation.

Solving Unhealthy Indoor Air Issues

Inadequate ventilation can cause numerous indoor air quality issues, especially after air sealing a home because stale air becomes trapped. Moisture issues can develop, leading to mold growth. The build-up of toxins due to the lack of fresh air can compromise occupant health. Although many homes have exhaust fans in the bathrooms and kitchen, there needs to be enough makeup air for such systems to properly ventilate. Historically, homes were leaky enough to provide this makeup air. Once cracks and gaps are sealed, reduced air movement makes it difficult for exhaust fans to properly remove moisture, odors, fumes, and toxins.

Zehnder heat recovery ventilation (HRV) and energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems create an energy-efficient ventilation solution when retrofitting existing homes. Unlike exhaust-only ventilation systems, Zehnder HRV and ERV systems create balanced ventilation throughout the home.

Boosting Indoor Air Quality With Balanced Ventilation

Once the exhaust requirements for bathrooms and the kitchen is calculated, an equal amount of fresh air is supplied continuously to bedrooms and living spaces. Zehnder systems promote home air quality by removing stale or contaminated air while replacing it with fresh, filtered air.

Save Energy for Lower Utility Bills

In warm weather, Zehnder HRVs and ERVs save energy by lowering the temperature of the fresh incoming air, reducing cooling bills. In cold weather, they pre-warm incoming air, reducing heating bills. The more efficient the ERV, the more energy people will save. In fact, Zehnder HRV systems are up to 95 percent efficient, dramatically lowering utility bills.

CaliforniaFIRST

To offset the initial cost of retrofitting a home for energy efficiency, an innovative program is known as PACE exists. Many California homeowners encountered financial obstacles in paying for energy-saving home improvement projects. For this reason, PACE financing was created to enable homeowners to pay for money-saving improvements over time, through an affordable program.

With low rates and terms up to 25 years, program participants make convenient payments through their property tax bills. The PACE funding program allows homeowners to reduce utility bills right away with energy-saving upgrades, simultaneously boosting home comfort, property values, and home durability. PACE provides up to 100% financing, giving homeowners no out-of-pocket costs for energy-saving upgrades.

Zehnder HRV and ERV systems, air sealing, and insulation are all eligible under PACE financing, making these home improvements a winning combination of energy-efficiency, comfort, and indoor air quality.