San Francisco Department of the Environment

Frequently Asked Questions - Energy Upgrade California

Are windows covered by this program?
Yes, a portion of the incentive dollars can go to windows, however, 9 times out of 10 contractors will not recommend that you replace your windows; it’s expensive and doesn’t save you as much energy as you may think.

“I could have purchased a new Audi for the price I paid replacing all my windows, and I was still freezing in my home” – SFHIP participant and Duboce Triangle resident

How much do most people spend?
The average modeled energy savings is 35%, which translates into a $3,500 incentive plus a $300 assessement rebate. The average job cost is $12,000. We see that this incentive program generally pays for approximately 30% - 50% of the cost.

How do I know if I’m a good candidate for this program?
The housing stock in SF is particularly suited for this kind of energy upgrade.You may be a good candidate if you answer yes to any of the below questions:

  • Is your home drafty? Hot in one place and cold in another?
  • Does moisture gather around your windows?
  • Do your house smell musty?
  • Do you have an old furnace or water heater?
  • Is your home un-insulated?

Do I have to use one of the participating contractors on the list? Why can't I use my regular contractor?
In order to qualify for this incentive program you must use a participating contractor. These contractors have learned to use special equipment and follow safety guidelines resulting in their certification by the Building Performance Institute. Whole Home Performance is a new field of home construction with new technology and training, which doesn't fall under the general contractors license one would get from the state. Carbon monoxide emission, mold, and wood rot, are problems that could be created or exacerbated by incorrect installation.

We are giving out money based on energy savings, so it's imperative that all participating contractors are able to accurately test and measure the savings using the calculation tools. We also want to ensure that the work being done meets quality and safety standards.

Check out this fun and helpful video futher demonstrating why it is important to work with someone who is trained to look at your whole home.

If I have already done work on my home can I still get money from this program?
Unfortunately no.  This program is based on how much modeled energy savings you can achieve. If you have started or already completed your work there is no way for us to know how much energy was saved.

If you are thinking about doing work, make sure you get the home assessment done before you start.

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