These rebates can help with climate-friendly upgrades around the home
As Southern California struggles to rid its skies of smog and the state aims to become carbon neutral, local government agencies and utilities are offering rebates aplenty to help residents upgrade to cleaner appliances and devices.
The check writers hope to enlist you in the effort to meet federal clean-air standards and other goals by offering cash to make your home more energy efficient.
Leaders of the South Coast Air Quality Management District recently said that the region won’t meet air quality standards unless the federal government does a better job limiting emissions at the region’s ports, airfields and rail yards. And the state’s plans for carbon neutrality have their critics. Still, residents have a role to play.
Most of the rebate programs require you to spend money upfront to get something back. But the state of California’s GoGreen Home Energy Financing offers no-fee, no-closing-cost, low-interest loans from private lenders to help cover those initial expenses. Projects eligible for financing include upgrades to your appliances, lighting, roof, HVAC system and insulation.
Here’s a rundown of rebates on offer in and around Los Angeles related to home energy use. Be forewarned that the supply of cash is finite and that applications are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Some rebate amounts may also be reduced when the supply of dollars gets low.
Before you hire a contractor or buy an appliance, also check the process and requirements for obtaining a rebate. Typically, the subsidies are available only for improvements or devices that meet specific criteria, and only to the person who holds the account at that utility. As with all things in life, be sure to read the fine print first.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has launched two new programs to help lower-income Angelenos stay cooler and not get burned by peak summer electric bills.
If you’re an LADWP customer, you can seek rebates from the utility for a slew of upgrades to curb your home’s appetite for power. The subsidies are available to renters as well as homeowners. Here are some of the details.
A good place to start is the DWP’s marketplace, where you can buy efficient devices with rebates of up to $75 factored into the price. The marketplace also identifies rebate-eligible appliances that you can purchase from other sources. The list of available products includes refrigerators, air conditioners, light bulbs, thermostats and power strips.
DWP customers enrolled in discount programs for low-income families or residents with disabilities can qualify for rebates of up to $225 on air conditioners through the utility’s Cool L.A. program. The utility’s website has more information on eligibility.
If you choose a rebate-eligible device but don’t buy it through the marketplace, you have up to 12 months from the date of purchase to apply for a rebate. You can do so at the marketplace’s rebate fast track site.
The marketplace also lists energy- and water-saving washing machines, which are eligible for rebates of $85 to $500 from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The amount of the rebate depends on the availability of funds and the price of the unit; to calculate how much you could qualify for, consult the MWD’s rebate estimator.
The DWP has several other offers that target homeowners.
- Cool roof: The DWP offers 20 to 60 cents per square foot in rebates for cool roof upgrades, which reflect more of the sun’s energy instead of absorbing it. If it’s time for you to replace your roof or its top layer, the subsidy should be enough to offset the extra cost of using cool roof materials, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates. To qualify for the rebate, you’ll need to submit proof of purchase and copies of the installation contract and the approved building and safety permit.
- Energy Star-certified windows. The DWP offers $2 per square foot of window, skylight or door glass replaced in air-conditioned living spaces with windows that do a better job sealing out the elements. To qualify, the replacement glass must meet the DWP’s standards for efficiency. In addition to proof of purchase and copies of your installation contract and approved building and safety permit, you’ll need to submit the National Fenestration Rating Council label from each new window or the manufacturer’s order confirmation sheet.
- Energy-efficient central heating and cooling system. Rebates of up to $100 per ton are available for heat pumps that meet the city’s efficiency standards, and up to $120 per ton for qualified central air conditioners. To apply, you’ll need to submit proof of purchase and copies of your installation contract, approved building and safety permit and Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute certificate.
- Whole house fan. The DWP offers a $200 rebate on fans connected to your house’s frame that can move at least 1,000 cubic feet of air per minute. To apply, submit proof of purchase and copies of the installation contract and approved building and safety permit.
- Efficient pumps for in-ground swimming pools. Installing a qualified variable-speed or variable-flow pool pump could qualify you for a rebate of $1,000 (if it replaces a single-speed pump) or $500 (otherwise). You’ll need to submit proof of purchase and installation and an approved building and safety permit (if it’s a new pool) for the $500 rebate; the $1,000 rebate requires some additional paperwork.
Other agency rebates
Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas offer rebates too, covering some of the same improvements. That’s because they participate in the Golden State Rebates program funded by the major state investor-owned utilities.
The program provides coupons that you can redeem for discounts on products meeting the utilities’ standards for efficiency, lowering the cost of those products upfront. The coupons are for the following amounts:
- $75 for an efficient gas-powered water heater
- $500 for an electric heat pump-powered water heater
- $40 to $75 for a thermostat
- $20 for a room air conditioner
To obtain coupons, go to the Golden State Rebates site and create an account, then select both the product you want to buy and the retailer where you plan to buy it.
Like the DWP, Edison and SoCal Gas have online marketplaces where customers can shop for selected appliances, thermostats and other energy-efficient products. Bear in mind, though, that upgrading to more efficient gas appliances isn’t going to reduce greenhouse emissions as much as switching from gas to electric.
Beyond the usual fare, SoCal Gas also offers rebates of up to $70 on gas-powered clothes dryers, up to $100 on gas ranges, $300 to $500 on qualified fireplace inserts, $400 to $750 on qualified gas pool heaters, $115 to $1,000 on Energy Star-certified gas furnaces, $115 to $1,000 on gas water heaters (the higher rebates are for tankless versions), and $2,500 to $4,500 on qualified solar-powered water heaters.
Not to be left out, the AQMD has its own set of rebates, including some unique ones. These include:
- Up to $250 to replace your gas-powered lawn mower with a new battery-powered one. Applicants need to submit proof of purchase and turn their old mower over to an approved dismantler. (A related program for commercial landscaping services is slated to begin offering rebates in March.)
- Vouchers worth $100 to $800 to replace wood-burning stoves with gas or electric inserts, among other options. The amount of the voucher doubles for low-income households, but the subsidies are available only in selected ZIP Codes in Boyle Heights and in or around San Bernardino, Ontario, Riverside and Norco.
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