California offers solution to large monthly bills through energy efficiency

Officials in California outlined a potential plan on Tuesday that would promote energy efficiency in houses throughout the state by making it easier for homeowners to work with banks and the state government to meet their power needs.

The California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF) is a state run initiative that aims to bring down energy bills for cash strapped homeowners by implementing more green technology in homes and businesses by researching executable alternatives to current consumer practices.

The group released a report that proposed more collaboration between banks, state government and energy companies to make energy efficiency more attractive to homeowners.

The report alludes to the fact that in 2011, one in every three homeowners in the state were underwater with their mortgages, meaning they owed more in loans than their home was actually worth.

As a solution, CalCEF Entrepreneur-in-Residence Lori Bamberger said in the report, "By coupling the worlds of borrower protection and energy efficiency, we can protect homeowners from the unforeseen surprise of high energy bills and ultimately stabilize loan portfolios, improve home values and meet our climate targets."

Steps proposed by CalCEF include improving the marketing and sales aspects of the homebuying process. The report proposes that sellers educate buyers about the current energy efficiency of the property. Another component of the plan involves both government agencies and financial institutions creating incentives for prospective homebuyers to make environmentally-friendly upgrades.

The authors of the report hope that, by implementing their proposed policies, California can be a model for energy efficiency nationwide, as homeowners throughout the country struggle to pay their monthly bills.

No matter what state they reside in, a household can work to lower their monthly energy costs by taking advantage of a home inspection or an energy audit to help them develop a plan of action to make their home more environmentally-friendly.