Energy Efficiency Mortgages

EEM Funding

In today’s economy, some people are turned off to the idea of an energy efficiency household because they are under the impression that it is too expensive.  However, what is not understood is that utilities make up a big chunk of your monthly expenses.  If you could lower these monthly costs you can save a significant amount of money in the long run. 

So what exactly is an Energy Efficient Mortgage?

Simply put, an EEM increases the amount a homeowner is permitted to borrow by increasing debt-to-income qualifying ratios.  By increasing the borrower’s buying power, it enables him or her to either purchase an energy efficient home or make energy efficient improvements throughout his or her current home.  

How do I qualify for an Energy Efficient Mortgage?

Qualifying for an EEM is actually fairly easy.  As long as you are approved for a home loan, the chances are that you will also be eligible for an EEM.  Before getting an EEM, your home will need to undergo an energy-efficiency audit by a trained Energy Rater.Through this evaluation, the buyer will receive recommended cost-effective energy upgrades, estimates of the cost and annual savings, and the estimated annual total energy cost before and after the upgrades.

Long Term Benefits

Initially, you may not see the money you are saving through an EEM because your monthly mortgage payment will be higher.  However, over the long run, you energy savings should more than offset increased mortgage costs.  Additionally, when it comes time to resell your energy efficient home, not only will the resale value be higher, but odds are it will sell more quickly as well.  So if you are looking for a way to save money in the long run, in addition to helping maintain a healthy environment, Energy Efficient Mortgages might be the perfect choice for you.

Brittney Marino is a writer for Total Mortgage Services.  For updates on today’s current Mortgage Rates, be sure to check our rates page.

Golden State Energy Consultants was founded by Craig Iden a Calcerts HERS II rater, licensed home performance contractor and owner of Golden State Home Inspections” as a way of providing needed services to home and business owners in our community.  For more information about our services contact us at 800.441.0804 or  Visit the website at:


California Energy Rebates

images Rebates of up to $4,000 for energy efficiency improvements including air sealing, attic insulation, duct sealing, hot water pipe insulation and more.

The Energy Upgrade California program serves as a one-stop shop for California homeowners who want to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. The program connects homeowners with qualified contractors, and helps homeowners find all the available incentives from their local utilities and local governments. Interested California homeowners should go to the website listed above and select an eligible contractor to get started. There are two Energy Upgrade packages a homeowner can choose from: the Basic Upgrade Package and the Advanced Upgrade Package.

Basic Upgrade Package

The Basic Upgrade Package offers up to $1,000 for certain energy improvements. A participating contractor will implement these standard improvements as needed and apply for the $1,000 rebate on behalf of the homeowner:

  • Air sealing
  • Attic insulation
  • Duct sealing
  • Hot water pipe insulation
  • Thermostat shut-off valve
  • Carbon monoxide monitor

Advanced Upgrade Package

The Advanced Upgrade Package offers greater incentives for a wider variety of energy improvements. The program begins with a home energy assessment which will identify and prioritize potential energy savings for the home. The homeowner can then select a participating contractor to make the improvements. A rebate between $1,500 and $4,000 will be awarded to the homeowner based on the predicted energy savings, with a minimum required savings of 15%.

This Program is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) BetterBuildings Program.  The DOE has awarded over $500 million in federal funds to more than 40 states, local governments, and organizations to administer local programs targeting a variety of building types. Combined, these local programs are expected to improve the efficiency of more than 170,000 buildings through 2013 and save up to $65 million in energy costs annually.

More Information: California Website


Golden State Energy Consultants was founded by Craig Iden a Calcerts HERS II rater, licensed home performance contractor and owner of Golden State Home Inspections” as a way of providing needed services to home and business owners in our community.  Fot more information about or services contact us at 800.441.0804 or  Visit the website at:

What is Title 24 California?

Title 24 California is the 24th part of the California Code of Regulations (CCR). CCR are the new regulations that were passed by the California Legislature in 1978. Before then, the state was governed by the administrative codes. It is, however, important to note that regulations are far different from laws. As a way to improve the existing laws, the legislature sought to add more standards to implement the existing laws of California. Title 24 California consists of regulations to enhance California building standards. The regulations are known as California Building Standards Code (CBSC) and are implemented by the California Building Standards Commission.

According California Title 24 building standards, any construction of a new building or alterations made to an existing building have to meet the standards stated in the Title. The standards were adopted as a way to regulate an energy crisis that the state was experiencing. A lot of energy was being was being misused and wasted resulting to insufficient energy parts of the state.

Many residents misunderstand Title24 as covering only the state owned properties and buildings. However, California Title 24 clearly states that the standards apply to all building occupancies, equipment and all related features. The regulations cover the structural, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems of every building constructed or altered after 1978.

Title 24 California is an important document as it conserves the energy consumed, construction and maintenance, life and fire safety, green design and accessibility. These regulations are adopted by all counties and cities within the state together with the other standards that may be enforced by the counties. Although the standards are uniform to all cities and counties, the two are allowed to add more restrictive regulations depending on their geological, climatic and topographical conditions. These adoptions must however be reported and filed with the commission.

The Title is not much restrictive as cities and counties vary in terms of geological and topographical conditions. These conditions depend on the location and its vulnerability to natural calamities such as mudslide, earthquakes or floods. Counties in locations vulnerable to earthquakes, for example, restrict construction of high rise buildings. Other adoptions include restrictions on fire suppression sprinkler systems and safety measures.

California Title 24 composes of the following main codes;

• California Building Code which regulates structure, size and design of construction or alteration of any building within the state.
• California Energy Code (CEC) which inspects and controls usage, distribution and conservation of energy in buildings within California
• California Plumbing Code (CPC) controlling usage, and efficient conservation of water in buildings
• California Fire Code (CFC) enhancing safety measures against fire accidents in the buildings

Other codes included in California Title 24 are California Elevator Safety Construction Code (CESCC), California Existing Building Code (CEBXC), California Mechanical Code (CMC) and California Historical Building Code (CHBC). Due to technology changes, the commission as adopted other codes to enhance energy efficiency. California Green Building Standard Code (CalGreen) was adopted and came into effect of 1st January 2011 to regulate and enhance efficiency energy distribution and usage.

California Title 24 is a mandatory document for anyone planning to construct, refurnish or alter a building in California. The commission requires all homeowners to meet all the requirements for n approved California Building Code.

 For More Information Regarding Title 24 Services in the Sacramento, CA. Area Contact Us At 800.441.0804 Or Visit:

Golden State Energy Consultants was founded by Craig Iden a Calcerts HERS II rater, licensed home performance contractor and owner of Golden State Home Inspections” as a way of providing needed services to home and business owners in our community.


The Benefits and Drawbacks of Bamboo Floors



Bamboo is a natural surface covering material that has many of the properties of hardwood flooring, even though it is actually produced from a type of grass. It shares many of the positive benefits of a hardwood floor, as well as the drawbacks and vulnerabilities. The more you understand the properties of this material, the better informed you will be when making a purchasing or maintenance decision.

The Benefits of Natural Bamboo Flooring

Ecologically Friendly: Bamboo is made from natural vegetation. The bamboo plant is a highly renewable resource that is able to grow to maturity in as little as three to five years. This is much faster than hardwood trees which can take upwards of twenty years or more to reach maturity.

Green Flooring Options  

Easy Maintenance: Bamboo is relatively easy to maintain. You just have to sweep or vacuum it regularly to remove small particle debris. You can also occasional damp mop it, or clean it with a non wax, non-alkaline, hardwood or bamboo floor cleanser.

Taking Care of Bamboo Flooring  

Water Resistant: This material is slightly more resistant to water damage, stains, and warping than hardwood materials, although it is still a concern.

Natural Material: The use of natural materials is an important trend in the construction industry right now. As people are becoming more ecologically conscious they are demanding products that reflect these values. They are also seeking materials and designs that reject the modern cookie cutter world and instead focus on individual personality and natural evolution.

Price: This material is priced at about the same level as most hardwood floors. You will often find bamboo ranging from about two dollars to eight dollars per square foot. You should avoid bargain basement materials as they are often lower quality castoffs.

Durability: There are certain types of bamboo that can be extremely strong, hard, and durable. Natural, un-carbonized bamboo that was properly harvested and manufactured can be as durable as red oak. Strand woven bamboo can be manufactured even harder than that.

Style: Bamboo is a trendy flooring material that can elevate the elegance of a space almost instantly. It has an appearance and a feel that is similar to hardwood and yet, is still distinct and different. This can add an ineffable quality to a room.

      Feng Shui Bamboo Secrets      

Refinishing: Over time bamboo floors may become discolored, scratched, or marred. Luckily the surface of this material can be refinished, sanding it down and then reapplying the finishing coats to give it a fresh new look. The amount of sanding that can be done will be determined by the thickness of the planks used.


The Drawbacks Of Bamboo Flooring

Emission of VOC’s: Bamboo floor planks are manufactured by slicing or shredding the stalk of the bamboo grass plant, and then adhering the pieces back together using heat, pressure, and a resin based adhesive. This adhesive can release volatile organic chemicals into the air of an interior space over time. Most bamboo floors have this adhesive in them, although the level of adhesive used, and the amount of VOC’s emitted will vary depending on how the planks are manufactured.

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Fall and Winter Energy-Saving Tips

This article will help you find strategies to help you save energy during the cool fall and cold winter months. Some of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings through the winter.

If you haven’t already, get an energy assessment to find out where you can save the most, and consider making a larger investment for long-term energy savings.


Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun

Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

Cover Drafty Windows

  • Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
  • Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
    Find out about other window treatments and coverings that can improve energy efficiency.


Adjust the Temperature

When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.

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How to Find Leaks in Ductwork.

If your crawlspace is enclosed, it will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than the outside air due to the more constant ground temperature, but it should not be excessively different as you describe. It’s possible that the ducts are poorly sealed, allowing air to escape, or that they were inadequately insulated.

To check, go under the house when the HVAC system is running and feel along the ducts for air leakage. Also, look for discoloration of the insulation or rusting of the ducts that could indicate a leak. Pay particular attention to the joints in pipes and where runs of ducts meet in case a pipe has become disconnected. Repair any leaks using duct mastic or metallic duct tape rather than standard cloth tape. You can also have a HVAC professional run a pressurized test of the system to check for leaks.

If your ducts are inadequately insulated, you may see condensation forming on the outside of the ductwork during the summer when humidity is high and the air conditioner is running. Poor insulation can not only increase your utility bill in winter and summer by up to 30%, but it may cause excess moisture in the crawlspace which can led to mold. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, ducts in unheated spaces should be insulated to an R-value of R-4 to R-8 in warmer parts of the country, and an R-6 to R-11 in colder climates.

Another possibility is that your floor may need insulating. If so, install batts of fiberglass insulation between the joists in the crawlspace with the paper vapor barrier facing up toward the living area and hold it in place with support wires. For more on insulating under a house, see Scariest Utility Bill.


Golden State Energy Consultants was founded by Craig Iden a Calcerts HERS II rater, licensed home performance contractor and owner of Golden State Home Inspections” as a way of providing needed services to home and business owners in our community.   Visit the website at



Training Your Thermostat to Save Money… and Energy!

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Many of us know that during the summer, temperatures aren’t the only thing skyrocketing—our energy bills usually also reach record highs due to the cooling measures required to keep ourselves, our pets, and even some of our household items comfortable.

We’ve talked before about properly setting thermostats, especially programmable thermostats to maintain the appropriate settings while you’re home, asleep or away.

I’ve witnessed the results achieved when a regular thermostat is replaced with one that allows you to adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. While at work, sleeping or on a summer vacation, if you set the temperature up for eight or even 12 hours out of 24 hours in a day, you will see significant energy-cost savings.

If you’re a renter and your electric bill is covered by your landlord and you can’t stand a muggy house or apartment so you keep the air conditioning flowing all day, a simple way to maintain comfort and save energy (even if it’s at no cost to you) is set your programmable thermostat to 10 – 15 degrees warmer for a specific period in the day, and to automatically lower to nothing below 78°F when you’re home. This way, you are unlikely to forget to adjust the temperature and find yourself excited to come home and relax comfortably after a long day at work or fun day in the sun.

Programmable thermostats are an ENERGY STAR product and can be purchased at many appliance and regular department stores.

As we approach the month of September, often the hottest month in many states, I wish you luck and encourage you to try this energy saving approach in your own household.

Golden State Energy Consultants

Phone: 800-441-0804

The City of Los Angeles Has Its Spotlight on Energy Efficiency

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Los Angeles — a city known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World” — now has its spotlight on energy efficiency. Last week, the City of Los Angeles held a press event to wrap up the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant (EECBG) program and launch its commitment to the Department’s Better Buildings Challenge.

The City of Los Angeles creatively leveraged EECBG funds to reduce energy consumption in public buildings, multi-family affordable housing, and commercial buildings. The city also used part of the funds to tackle regional climate change.

In partnership with the Department and the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability (LARC), the Los Angeles EECBG program funded a UCLA supercomputer climate model that helps the city and the regional stakeholders plan for future temperature changes, diminishing water resources, and increased fire risk. The model is unique in that it provides detailed, community scale data and is comprehensive, involving 10 quintillion calculations. All of the data was processed during a nine-month period to produce information so detailed that the city can now review the impact of emissions at the scale of a 2 kilometer-wide neighborhood.

The first report, which focused on temperature, was released in June and shows that by 2050 there will be 91 days each year with temperatures exceeding 95 degrees in Bakersfield and 119 days exceeding 95 degrees in Palm Springs. The valley areas of Los Angeles will see its annual number of extreme heat days increase four-fold.

In addition to tracking emissions through the supercomputer climate model, the City of Los Angeles took major steps with the Energy Department to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency. As one of the first cities to join the Department’s Better Buildings Challenge as a Community Partner, Los Angeles is striving for at least 20 percent overall savings from 30 million combined square feet of projects. The city will work with and recognize private sector property owners who make energy reduction commitments of at least 20 percent by 2020.

Last Monday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce hosted the Los Angeles Energy Leadership Summit to kick off the L.A. Better Buildings Program and showcase innovative ways to maximize energy efficiency in existing buildings. In addition to the city’s commitment, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power joined the Challenge as a Utility Partner, pledging to provide customers with streamlined access to consumption data and to offer multi-measure energy efficiency programs to its commercial customers. The L.A. Better Buildings Challenge program represents a true public-private partnership between the Chamber of Commerce, the city, utilities, and the real estate community that will drive market transformation.

With the Department of Energy’s EECBG funds supporting projects that address our energy and climate change issues and with the Department’s Better Buildings Challenge program forging collaborative partnerships committed to saving energy, the City of Los Angeles is looking more like the “Energy Efficient Capital of the World.”

Golden State Energy Consultants

Phone: 800-441-0804

Greening Up the Sports World

Article by:, photo courtesy of the Green Sports Alliance

How could 35 professional sports teams and 20 million square feet of sports facilities improve their energy efficiency and be more environmentally friendly?

That’s the question the Energy Department is answering through its Better Buildings Challenge. In order to illustrate the Department’s strategy for greening professional sports facilities, we are highlighting several green sports initiatives aiming to change the way our nation does athletics.

At a White House event today, the Obama Administration is celebrating the sports industry’s successes in saving energy, reducing waste and adopting sustainable practices at sports facilities as part of the Better Buildings Challenge. The Better Buildings Challenge was created by President Obama to encourage major corporations, universities, and state and local governments to pledge and lead the way to saving energy, money, and showcasing the best energy saving strategies for buildings and their results. Better Buildings has teamed up with the Green Sports Alliance, an organization whose mission is to help sports teams, venues and leagues be more environmentally friendly.

In partnership with Green Sports Alliance, Better Buildings is hitting a home run in helping to green sports facilities for one of America’s favorite pastimes. Here are some highlights of projects from a few of the many baseball teams (some of which began prior to the Alliance):

  • The Los Angeles Staples Center most recently completed a lighting overhaul by replacing over 3,000 halogen fixtures with LEDs, thereby reducing energy consumption by 12 percent and energy costs by over $80,000 per year.
  • Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field has reduced its carbon footprint via the installation of a 32.76-kW rooftop solar array. Since installing 168 solar panels on its elevator canopy of the parking garage and roof of the skybridge last April, the Mariners have been generating electricity for its internal televisions and monitors. The system generates 40,000 kWh of electricity annually. The project also installed high efficiency lighting and EV charging stations for the public.
  • St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium installed 106 new solar panels on its home turf last April, producing 37,000 kWh of electricity annually since last April.

The Department’s Better Buildings Challenge and Alliance aims to reduce the energy use of its member facilities by at least 20 percent by 2020 in aggregate.

Golden State Energy Consultants
Phone: 800-441-0804

Cool Ways to Save Energy

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So you’ve just bought a new fridge, and chosen one that’s energy efficient, but did you know that there are a few simple things you can do to save even more energy once you get it home? The way you use your refrigerator and freezer can lead to big energy savings for you and your family.

First, when choosing a refrigerator, be sure to select the right size. Determine your household’s needs before purchasing a refrigerator or freezer. One that is too large wastes energy.

Second, don’t set the temperature colder than necessary. Refrigerators should be set between 36 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit, and freezers between 0 and 5 degrees. Keeping your refrigerator and freezer full can also help regulate the temperature inside. If they aren’t full, try putting bags of ice in the freezer, or pitchers of cold water in the fridge.

Also be careful to avoid heating up the inside of the fridge by inserting containers holding hot food or drink. Instead of putting a hot casserole straight in to the fridge, let it cool off for a few minutes. This will keep the fridge from using more electricity to maintain a cold temperature.

And lastly, keep your refrigerator or freezer away from direct heat. Place the refrigerator or freezer away from direct sunlight and other heat sources such as ovens or ranges. Heat will cause the unit to use more energy to stay cold.

Golden State Energy Consultants
Phone: 800-441-0804