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San Luis Obispo County, Calif., Oct. 19, 2017 – With the nation celebrating Energy Action Month, October marks a time of year to consider how we use our resources and find ways to use them even more efficiently. In recognition of Energy Action Month, empower Central Coast’s Energy Coaches are sharing some of their top thoughts on making your home as efficient as possible.

As part of their role at the county-operated emPower energy efficiency program, Energy Coaches regularly provide free, voluntary home site consultations to look out for energy efficiency issues that are wasting resources and money, as well as impacting how comfortable you are at home. You can get to know our coaches and consider some of their do-it-yourself projects below to get started. Our energy coaches will also be answering questions on the emPower Facebook page, facebook.com/emPowerCenCoast/. And if you’re interested in going further, schedule a home consultation at empowersbc.org/contact-us-get-started.

Lauren Bell

emPower’s newest Energy Coach, Lauren has more than seven years of experience in the energy and construction industries. A Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate, Lauren is continuing her education, with a focus on the field of building science, bringing together architecture and science to improve the way people live in their homes.

Lauren finds that transitioning electrical entertainment centers to smart power strips will have a large impact on energy use.

“Entertainment appliances such as a TV or laptop continue to draw power when off, which adds up throughout the month,” she said. “Plug these appliances into a smart strip, which automatically eliminates the phantom load when the appliance in the master plug is turned off.”

Troy Spindler

Troy joined emPower in 2016 after more than 35 years of experience as a contractor in San Luis Obispo County and northern Santa Barbara County. Growing up in Monterey County, Troy obtained his contractor’s license in 1978 and moved to San Luis Obispo to attend Cal Poly. He never left.

Troy often finds himself reminding homeowners of a giant hole that’s allowing their treated air to escape the home, wasting money and energy: the fireplace chimney.

“Installing a sealed fireplace is ideal for eliminating this problem, but it’s not within everyone’s budget,” said Troy. “An inexpensive but effective option is a chimney balloon. These will make typically leaky chimney dampers virtually air tight. Just be sure to leave clear notification that a chimney balloon is installed, as starting a fire while one is in place is a significant safety risk.”

Javier Saucedo

Javier has performed hundreds of home energy audits and upgrades for thousands of homeowners. He previously managed the Green Center, a community learning center that educated the public on energy conservation, renewable energy and green living. He joined emPower in 2015.

Javier finds that one of the simplest projects homeowners can start today is replacing light bulbs with light emitting diodes, more commonly referred to as LEDs.

“These use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, and they also put out less heat,” said Javier. “If you have recessed can lighting, you can also pick up an LED-Retrofit kit, which also includes a gasket to air seal the fixture; in addition to using less energy, it’ll help you keep your treated air inside.”

Interested in more? Schedule a free energy consultations with one of our experienced Energy Coaches. They can further connect homeowners with qualified contractors, utility incentives and low-interest unsecured financing. For more information for homeowners and the community, visit www.empowersbc.org.

The emPower program offers voluntary incentives, financing and other services to help single-family homeowners in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties make home energy upgrades easier and more affordable. emPower was established by the County of Santa Barbara to help the community preserve the environment by helping to lower energy consumption and stimulate the economy by creating jobs through innovative, voluntary solutions to support a sustainable building performance market.