Money for Energy Efficiency (ME2) award period opens in Berkeley CA

The City of Berkeley opened the application period for its Energy Efficiency grants, not with a bang but a whimper this past Tuesday morning. If you are considering making improvements in your home to make it less drafty and a more consistent temperature, and to lower your energy costs, there’s a small window of opportunity to get some help from the City. My home is the poster child for a home needing such improvements. Lovely as it is, my home has single pane windows that have gaps around them, an ancient octopus furnace, old water heater and insufficient insulation.

So on July 6th, the first day to apply for an ME2 grant, I was up early for a change, to be sure to apply as soon after 8 am as possible. To make a rather long and frustrating story short, their website was not ready for prime time, but is supposed to be fixed now. If you apply and have problems, be neither surprised nor discouraged!

Berkeley homeowners have until July 20th to make a reservation, and then request the application form on-line. That will enter their address into a lottery for award of the limited grant funds. The “standard” award  per single family home would be $1400: $200 credit towards an energy audit, and $1200 for attic insulation to R38, basic air and duct sealing. The maximum award is $5,000, and that requires substantial measures be taken to reduce your energy consumption by more than 40% from current levels. The maximum awards will go to homes that have also insulated walls and floors, upgraded heating systems and replaced windows with multi-paned glass. If all awardees of the grants used the maximum amount of $5K, only 120 homes could participate in the program. It is likely that applicants will reserve more than they actually qualify for, in which case there might be money released later to homes on the wait list.

Money for Energy Efficiency is funded through a million dollar federal stimulus grant awarded to the City of Berkeley by the U.S. Department of Energy. For all of the details (and there are many!) visit the City of Berkeley Energy Efficiency site.

Homeowners will need to be willing to share the results of the initial energy audit to the City, as well as demographic information about your property. If energy upgrades are performed a Post-Improvement Energy Assessment Report shall also be provided to the City. Applicants need to consider whether the grant amount is sufficient to compensate for a certain Big Brother aspect.

To learn more, visit the ME2 program webpage.

About the author