Are there any special "green" funding sources I should look into? I am planning some "green" home improvements.

Asked by Cass Elliot
San Francisco, CA

I would like to add a bedroom and bath. I will be facing the sunny side of the house and would like to make sure it is well insulated as well as possibly add a Solar system.


Richard Williams

Answered by Richard Williams

Encinitas, CA

Arthaus, LLC

April 10, 2012

Dear Cass:

Well, since you too are in California, this is a much easier question for me to answer. That being said, trying to figure out the best source of funding can be as frustrating as it must be to chase down a greased pig.

There are so very many options available to you here, which is a good thing. The options do often vary significantly from one another, however, and I would encourage you to research very carefully those options to determine what is the best fit for you. 

Often, generating a matrix of comparisons is a useful exercise.

Check with Build It Green

So, where do you go to determine what options you have? The best resource you have available is to contact “Build It Green” and ask to speak with somebody who can tell you about funding resources.

  • Most funding available is primarily aimed at work that relates to energy-saving retrofits, but you will find that many programs also enable you to contribute cash towards other improvements such as your bedroom and bathroom remodels.
  • The folks at Build It Green should help you determine what options might be your best fit. 
  • They are the administrators in the Bay Area for California’s “Energy Upgrade California” incentive program (a fantastic program that you will most definitely want to look into.)

The Residential Energy Retrofit Program

My favorite program for funding right now is CHF’s “Residential Energy Retrofit

It’s a good place to start to see if you can qualify for this program. In the process of speaking with these folks you will learn a lot more about what it is that you might be looking for.

California Rebates and incentives

Besides getting money that you will have to pay back, you want to look for money you DON’T have to pay back! There are plenty of financial incentives/rebates out there for you to take a look at.

  • Energy Upgrade California, which I mentioned above, is one of the best we have going for us in our state right now. 
  • There are also incentives/rebates for solar electricity and solar hot water.
  • Again, ask about these incentives at Build It Green.

You can also find out plenty of information on the incentives available through the “California Solar Initiative” for:

San Francisco Rebates and Incentives

San Francisco itself probably has some great incentives/rebates available to you, and could have some great funding resources specific for greening your home too.

  • I would encourage you to call the City and just ask who you can speak with there.
  • Also, check out the City’s resource website for Green Building incentives here.

Many options

I wish I could have provided you with a magic bullet to pay for your improvements, but that I’m afraid doesn’t exist. As well as you having many options, those options are frequently changing as well.

You’re lucky, you live in a city which is very much pro-green, in a state that is also very much pro-green.

May your searching pay off with a bounty of cheap money that will get you all that you need!

Good luck.

Tagged In: incentives

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