Del Mar, under the auspices of the City’s Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB), recently launched a new energy savings program targeting seniors—particularly those on fixed incomes who reside in older, less energy-efficient homes. The program, funded by a grant from SDG&E, helps seniors not well-versed in computer use to complete SDG&E’s online energy audit.
“California requires SDG&E to support energy-efficiency programs and rebates to meet the state’s energy and climate goals,” said Andrew Beecher, who is managing Del Mar’s program. “This outreach program allows SDG&E to help residents increase their energy savings and reduce their carbon footprint. We are offering Del Mar residents a no-cost energy audit that will give them a personalized action plan to reduce their energy usage.”
According to Beecher, an environmental planner with Rincon Consultants, the program is funded to cover extensive in-person energy audits for 15 residents. Beecher, who has now completed three home audits, is working in consultation with Don Mosier, who advises the City on sustainability projects, and serves on the board of Del Mar Community Connections (DMCC), which supports the city’s senior population.
“This is an excellent opportunity for members of Del Mar’s senior community to get the detailed data they need to achieve real energy savings,” said Mosier, who helped to get the program launched. “It also helps Del Mar inch closer to the social equity goal of the City’s Climate Action Plan.”
Those signing up for the audit receive a 3-4 hour home visit from Beecher, who will complete an energy survey for the resident’s household after assessing and analyzing their energy use. The audit breaks down energy use by hot water, refrigerator/freezer, lighting, cooking, and heating and cooling systems, as well as a category for “other.” This breakdown helps to identify the most high-energy expenditures, such as old appliances, air conditioning systems and pools.
After the audit is completed, Beecher guides residents in choosing an action plan, which includes a variety of cost-saving recommendations reflecting the resident’s priorities and budget. Recommendations can range from low-cost measures like turning off computers at night and using LED bulbs in high-use lamps, to more costly options like replacing an old washing machine or dryer and installing solar energy panels.
Residents interested in taking advantage of the program are encouraged to attend one of the upcoming workshops. Beecher will discuss the program’s benefits and its process, and enroll interested residents. The workshops will be held on September 19 and October 4, at 2 p.m. at the DMCC, located at 225 9th St. in Del Mar. Beecher will also have a table at the Del Mar Foundation’s annual summer picnic at Powerhouse Park on September 22.
While the program is targeted to assist Del Mar seniors on fixed incomes, there are no specific age or income requirements. Those interested in signing up or learning more can contact the City of Del Mar at (858) 793-6131.