Energy Efficiency, Jobs Top Seminar Agenda

Whole-house retrofits. Cash for Caulkers. Green jobs.

There is a confusing litany of energy-efficiency and training programs either available or soon to debut, and the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board held a workshop in an attempt to sort through them.

About 150 contractors and industry professionals from throughout California descended on the Edison AgTAC building in Tulare. There, they learned more about the federal Home Star (AKA Cash for Caulkers), Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) and other programs/opportunities being financed through government stimulus funds.

"This was a crucial opportunity for Valley contractors to become introduced to several new energy initiatives for homeowners," said Adam Peck, the WIB's executive director. "We were able to bring in experts from all over the state."

Also in attendance were representatives of the VIEW partnership, which is a collaboration between the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization; the cities of Hanford, Lindsay, Porterville, Tulare, Visalia, and Woodlake; and the counties of Kings and Tulare with Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®).

The Home Star program, currently being discussed by lawmakers, would provide tax credits to homeowners who upgrade their houses. The PACE program enables property owners to finance energy upgrades, including solar panels, through property taxes.

Participation in PACE could allow homeowners to make more significant upgrades, thus reducing energy bills significantly. A recent study that we highlighted recently elaborated on the effects of a "deeper shade of green."

Those retrofits require skilled workers, which could be a boost as the nation struggles through what some call the Great Recession.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.