Residents cash in on greening

Even if the momentum for green financing has slowed during the recession, residents should not shrug off the idea of energy savings just yet.

This week, The City is launching a new tax credit that will give residents a good reason to retrofit their houses so they are more energy ­efficient.

Residents can score up to $2,000, depending on their income, once they receive an energy audit and implement changes to their homes that, at the very least, can cut energy use by 20 percent, said Raymond Manion, energy specialist for the Department of the Environment.

The new funds, which amount to roughly $650,000, are being funneled through the federal stimulus program, allowing as many as 430 homes in San Francisco to make energy improvements, officials said.

Homeowners only can get the money back once they have an energy audit and complete the improvements, Manion said.

The City is piggybacking on PG&E’s rebate program, which offers up to $3,500 to residents who make energy-saving improvements to their homes.

The two tax credits combined could save the average homeowner as much as $8,000, said Matt Golden, president of Recurve, a San Francisco-based green-retrofitting firm.

“It’s meant to drive rapid adoption in The City,” Golden said. “This is the first program to really promote energy efficiency in residential buildings.”

The new program comes on the heels of The City being forced to suspend its $150 million green-financing program, which would have helped thousands of property owners lower their utility bills.

The program, called Property Assessment Clean Energy, is funded through a citywide Mello-Roos special tax district. The loans have no cap and are attached to the property, not the individual owner. They are repaid through property taxes during the life of the loan.

esherbert@sfexaminer.com

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