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Residential Energy Use

PG&E_Meter_on_Angel_Island190Many Union City households use more energy than they need and pay higher energy bills as a result. At least half of the power PG&E provides to Union City homes comes from nonrenewable resources. These methods of power generation are unsustainable, and produce extremely high environmental costs (e.g. costs associated with increased asthma and respiratory illness, smog and air quality regulations, and climate change) Most of the time we flip on the light switch without ever considering how the power plant behind that switch is generating the power. Making simple changes, both small and large, can reduce a household’s energy bill, while eliminating the need for PG&E to ‘turn-on’ additional power plants. There are many programs available through the City, PG&E, and other organizations offering a myriad of energy-saving solutions, from simple automatic sensors to brand new appliances.

Conservation and Climate Change

Utilizing energy efficiency solutions and renewable energy sources helps lessen our dependency on fossil fuels for energy. Not only are fossil fuels limited in quantity and costly to acquire, but burning them to generate power emits greenhouse gases (GHGs) like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. These chemicals are toxic to breathe and have begun to enhance the planet’s natural greenhouse effect, which traps more heat in the atmosphere. These emissions are causing our climate to change, leading to rising global temperatures that dramatically affect our environment and our way of life. We have seen the effects of climate change in various ways: hotter average temperatures; more wildfires; reduced water supply due to reduced snow pack; increased flooding from extreme weather and sea level rise; species migration, endangerment, habitat loss, and extinction; more insect infestations; and increased irrigation demand. Altering our lifestyles can help curb the impact of climate change and improve the environment.

Take Action!

About 40 percent of Union City’s homes were built before California’s energy code was implemented in the 1980s, so there is great potential for energy efficiency upgrades in Union City homes. Have you had a free home energy audit? Conserving energy is easy. Just pick up the phone and call California Youth Energy Services for a free home energy makeover or visit Energy Upgrade California to learn more about how to save energy at home. There are several programs that provide recommendations, technical support, and low-interest financing. The first step is to get your home audited.

What Can You Do?

  • Give your home a quick insulation retrofit! Figure out ways to improve attic insulation to better maintain comfortable temperatures, and plug up holes in door and window frames to keep inside air from escaping.
  • Since many electronics draw energy in standby mode, unplug appliances when not in use to avoid the “vampire” energy usage that really adds up.
  • Get a free energy audit! Book a green house call from California Youth Energy Services for a personalized home energy evaluation. They’ll identify numerous ways you can save energy and money.
  • Energy Upgrade California is a statewide program that offers incentives to homeowners who complete select energy-saving home improvements on a single-family residence. These incentive packages encourage customers to take a "whole house" approach by combining several related improvements at once to increase a home's overall energy efficiency and achieve greater savings.
  • Spectrum Community Services offers weatherization services and energy bill assistance to income qualified residents.

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