April 29, 2014 > PG&E Home Energy Analyzer
PG&E Home Energy Analyzer
By Joe Gold
If your utility bills burned your budget over the winter, help is on the way from the state, Alameda County and Pacific Gas and Electric. A new online system will take your utility bills, analyze how your home uses energy, and recommend ways to reduce your use.
Do you leave lights on more than necessary? Is a computer eating electricity? Is there something you can buyÑlike high-tech light bulbsÑ that will help you save energy? Would insulation or new, more efficient heating and cooling cut your energy use?
In Alameda County, the Home Energy Analyzer (HEA.com) is an online application that gathers information on your homeÕs specific energy usage patterns from your own utility bills. You add such basic information as how many people live in the house, their ages, where you set thermostats and how you use gas and electricity.
Alameda CountyÕs energy-efficiency programs offers assistance to consumers to upgrade their energy efficiency and retrofit homes as explained at stopwaste.org, a program jointly run by the Alameda County Waste Management Authority and the countyÕs Source Reduction and Recycling Board.
The Home Energy Analyzer separates your energy consumption into Òbase loadÓÑthe steady energy stream to run, say, the refrigeratorÑ and the Òvariable loadÓ of electricity used only when you turn them on, such as lights or stoves. The program compares your usage to similar homes, and recommends conservation action.
Sometimes itÕs changing some habits and just being more aware that will help you use less energy. Other times major changes may be in order, such as newer, more efficient heating and cooling systems. A key part of the program is not just telling you what you need, but referring you to government and private conservation programs such as Energy Upgrade California that pay for much of or all upgrades.
Participation is free, though requires residency in Alameda County, get your gas and electricity through a PG&E account and have a SmartMeter installed. Much of the program applies to all of California, though this version is bolstered by the statewide Energy Upgrade California program. The programs are key elements of the stateÕs efforts to reduce energy consumption 40 percent by 2020, the stateÕs effort to combat global warming.
Visit Energy Upgrade California at http://energyupgradeca.org for more information and to learn how homeowners can qualify for up to $4,500 in upgrades, and more for low-income families.