There are a lot of clichés that you tend to hear in my line of work about windows: windows are the eyes of the house, that good-looking windows are the easiest way to increase your curb appeal, that windows can even help mitigate annoying noise outside from your neighbors—the list goes on and on. And, for the most part, these clichés are all true.
What I hear far less commonly, though, is homeowners grasping exactly how much energy can actually be saved on heating and cooling costs by investing in new windows with insulating benefits. And even less common is for homeowners to know about the different financing options they can use to pay for new energy efficient windows.
That’s why today I want to talk about the most frequently asked questions I hear about California energy rebates that help homeowners pay for new, efficient windows. I’m going to fill you in on which programs you should be asking about, how these programs work, how to know if you are eligible, and how to apply—today.
FAQ #1: Which California Energy Rebate and Financing Programs Cover New Energy Efficient Windows?
Here in California, we’re lucky to have a plethora of rebate and financing programs that provide incentives for homeowners to make a variety of energy efficient upgrades to their homes, like installing double or triple pane windows.
Here is a list of the programs that can help you get new custom windows with insulating benefits installed in your home:
- The CalFIRST Financing Program: CalFIRST is an upfront financing program for energy efficiency upgrades that offers flexible payment programs. Financing can be paid back on a schedule of between 5 and 30 years. What’s neat about CalFIRST is that if you move before paying off the loan for your new windows, the outstanding balance due can be transferred to the property tax bill of your new home.
- Learn more about the CaliforniaFIRST financing program HERE
- PACE: Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a public-private partnership that offers loans to homeowners who want to make energy efficient window upgrades. With PACE loans, the loan is tied to the home rather than the homeowner. If there is still a balance on it when you choose to sell your home, the balance of the will stay with the home—and the new homeowner.
- Learn more about the PACE financing program HERE
- SMUD’s Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program: Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) offers financing for energy efficient windows that can save you thousands of dollars over the course of the loan. SMUD also offers rebates for installing custom energy efficient windows, so be sure to ask about all the options they offer.
- Learn more about SMUD incentives and rebates HERE
- The HERO Financing Program: The Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) offers local government-approved long-term loans for homeowners that finance energy efficient window upgrades. This opportunity can give you up to 100% of the cost of your project.
- Learn more about the HERO financing program HERE
- The Ygrene Energy Fund: The Ygrene Energy Fund offers 100% financing for residential window projects like the replacement or retrofitting of old single pane windows with new, energy efficient double pane ones.
- Learn more about the Ygrene Energy Fund HERE
FAQ #2: How Can I Qualify for California Energy Rebates for Efficient Windows?
The programs that I mentioned above require that you own the home in which you plan to install your new energy efficient, double pane windows. While the programs have different criteria for qualification, you may be surprised to know that most do not require a credit score assessment. Rather, eligibility is largely based on the equity of your home at the time you apply.
…eligibility is largely based on the equity of your home at the time you apply.
The best part about having so many great programs available is that, generally speaking, you will likely find at least one that you are able to qualify for. While applying for these programs can be a little intimidating, you can reach out to the friendly folks at Bell Brothers to help you out with the application process. Plus, since they are so well versed in all of the best California energy rebates for windows, they’ll be able to steer you in the direction of the one that suits you and your home best.
FAQ # 3: How Do I Apply for Energy Efficient Window Rebates or Financing in California?
Most California window energy rebate and financing programs accept online applications, making the processing time usually pretty quick. In some cases, you may even find out if you’ve been approved for a rebate or incentive in less than an hour.
For those of you who may not feel comfortable using the internet to submit their application, some programs, like CalFIRST, give you the opportunity to complete the application over the phone. Just make sure you know what the equity in your home is before you call in.
…you may even want to arrange a free in-home consultation with a contractor who specializes in window installation and replacement before you make the call.
To really be prepared, you may even want to arrange a free in-home consultation with a contractor who specializes in window installation and replacement before you make the call. They can give you an idea of how much the project will cost before you apply for financing.
Finding the Right California Contractor to Install Your New Energy Efficient Windows
Finding an experienced contractor to customize and install your energy efficient windows is a really important step in this whole process. You want to make sure you find a reputable California contractor to do the work—or even create custom windows for your home so that you can maximize your energy efficiency. Poor window installation or windows that aren’t quite the right fit can actually result in energy loss from your home and higher energy bills.
Poor window installation or windows that aren’t quite the right fit can actually result in energy loss from your home and higher energy bills.
Plus, if you are interested in taking advantage of the financing options for other energy efficient home upgrades at the same time, an experienced contractor like one of the folks at Bell Brothers can even do a free in-home energy assessment to assess which improvements will have the greatest impact on your home’s overall energy efficiency.
Once you know if you are just want to have your windows replaced, or you want to tackle another home energy improvement project at the same time as well, Bell Brothers can help you navigate all the different rebate and financing programs. Then, when we get the green light that you have been approved for a rebate or a loan, we can get to work and have the job done before you know it.
At Bell Brothers, our trained professionals would love to help you make your home more energy-efficient by installing new custom fit double pane windows. Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.
Image courtesy Belyay