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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Friday, July 5, 2013

County’s Innovative Energy Efficiency Program Attracts State Attention

New Funding Allows Continuation of emPowerSBC Program and Opportunity for Expansion

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors accepted $5.2 million in external funding today to support continuing the County’s emPower program.


The funding signals a big vote of confidence from two State of California agencies. The funding allows the program to continue to help homeowners overcome obstacles to implementing home energy efficiency while also supporting job growth in the local residential construction industry. It also affords the opportunity to expand emPower’s service territory to San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties, an effort that all three Counties are eager to continue to explore.

“I am thrilled that today’s action by the Board of Supervisors allows our neighboring counties of Ventura and San Luis Obispo to become partners in our successful emPower program” said Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf. “emPower is an innovative program that provides voluntary assistance to homeowners and an opportunity to access low interest loans for energy saving upgrades to their home.”

This influx of funds is a result of the program’s history of successfully developing and delivering program services that help meet statewide energy efficiency objectives and complement utility rebate programs. These services include financing, customer service, expert energy advice, outreach and education and training to help local construction companies advance their skills and expand their business models.

Over the last 18 months, more than 3,000 interested individuals have engaged with program services. To date, emPower activities have led to energy efficiency work being done in over 200 homes, resulting in $1.7 million in project activity for participating contractors, $600,000 in loan activity for participating credit unions and a boost for the local economy. In addition, the emPower program has provided training opportunities for approximately 400 attendees from the building trades, boosting the number of skilled building performance assessment and retrofit professionals.

To continue and expand emPower services, the California Energy Commission has awarded the County $1.55 million (via sub award with Los Angeles County), and the California Public Utilities Commission (via contract with Southern California Gas) awarded $3.7 million.

“This new funding will ensure seamless continuation of the program and ongoing returns on the County’s initial investment of federal dollars” said program manager Angie Hacker.

For more information, or to speak with a representative of emPower, call (805) 568-3566 or visit the website at www.empowersbc.org.