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Climate Action and Resiliency

Climate Action and Resiliency Division

Assessing Your Home's Energy Use

Image showing home energy upgrades

Assessing your home’s energy use and its ability to protect your family from
the impact of disasters is the foundation from which to understand and plan for
improvements—to make your home more efficient and resilient. The resources to
assess your home’s energy use include:

Knowing how energy is used in your home will help you take steps to reduce your use. Sonoma County residents can check out a DIY Toolkit for free. The Toolkits include the tools and information
necessary for borrowers to perform their own home upgrade projects to weather strip windows and doors, monitor electrical usage, find water leaks, and make homes more efficient with LED lightbulbs. You can check out a DIY Energy and Water Savings Toolkit at all Sonoma County Library branches.

An HES is an easy way to take a deeper dive into home energy use. A certified rater uses a system developed by the U.S. Department of Energy to score your home’s energy use on a scale of 1 to 10. Think about it as a miles-per-gallon rating on your home. The rater comes to your home and conducts a personal, detailed analysis about your house and its energy features. When they’re done, you get your score, facts about your home and its estimated energy consumption, and customized recommendations to improve your home’s energy efficiency.  The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) offers a $200 rebate on Home Energy Score assessments.  Visit the website for more information.

A whole-house energy assessment is a more thorough approach to understanding your home’s systems and energy consumption. Without a whole-house assessment, any single approach to
improving your energy efficiency could fail to get the results you expect. Following standards set by
the Building Performance Institute and California Energy Commission, your energy assessment is
done using rigorous diagnostic testing requirements – there’s no guessing. You can choose from a list of participating contractors and certified Whole-House Home Energy Raters. The testing takes about two to three hours, using specialized diagnostic tools.

Typically, the assessment will be done both before upgrades to help determine the best steps to take, and after upgrades to verify that you’re getting the results you expected.