There’s a tough question that commonly swirls around those concerned with climate change: What can I actually do to play my part? We know it isn’t that realistic or easy to stop driving altogether, never buy something that comes in a package again, or keep the heat turned off permanently. But we also know that lowering our consumption habits, even a little, affects the emissions we create.
Around the home, responsible consumption of resources includes doing things like upgrading to energy efficient appliances, replacing and repairing insulation so heat doesn’t escape, installing water-conserving showerheads and faucet aerators, and upgrading your lightbulbs. You can still do things like heat your home, cook with the oven, and turn the lights on at night, but in ways which consume less energy, burn less fossil fuel, and save you money. But, some of these upgrades, like new appliances, can be expensive.
Enter: California’s mPower program. Launched in 2010, the program’s goals are to lower energy bills, increase energy and water efficiency, reduce reliance on foreign fuels, stimulate the local economy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Serving Placer and Nevada counties and several additional towns and cities, the program provides fixed-rate (6 percent interest), no-money-down financing to property owners — residential and commercial alike — who want to make energy efficient upgrades. Applicants are walked through all the requirements to apply on the website, as well as browse related resources.
mPower’s website is also a hub for conservation-related rebates earned through many local organizations. For example, through Placer County Water Agency, you can receive up to a $500 rebate for upgrading a water-thirsty lawn to a more water-efficient landscape. There’s also a $100 rebate to replace older flush toilets with new ones, and $150 to upgrade to an EPA Water Sense washing machine, to name a few.
So, if you’ve been looking to make a positive impact and wanting to make a few upgrades at home, mPower may be right for you. Do bear in mind that there are some restrictions. For example, the minimum amount that can be financed for upgrades is $2,500, and the maximum amount cannot exceed 10 percent of the property value. When applying, homeowners will also need to submit information such as current mortgage statements, a contractor’s estimate for the project, and more. That said, it’s all organized on an easy-to use website (head to the “application checklist” to make sure you’ve got it right).