Energy-efficient remodeling

We can help you save money, make your home more comfortable, and do right by the environment with your next home improvement project.

Durable, energy efficient products require less maintenance and will increase the resale value of your home. Improving the energy performance of your home is good for the environment because it helps reduce the amount of pollution and carbon dioxide your home produces. Most importantly, your family will benefit from a home that keeps you comfortable regardless of the season, has healthier indoor air quality, and saves money on your utility bills.

Before you start, you might want to check our rebates and incentives. We offer rebates on heating and cooling systems, duct sealing and energy-efficient appliances, among other things. We sponsor price promotions on compact fluorescent lights and LEDs, too. Visit SMUD Energy Store to find instant rebates on energy-efficient products.

Getting started

Begin with a home energy audit or Home Energy Rating (HER). It will identify ways to reduce your energy use. You can use the audit information to find the most cost effective approach to energy efficiency in your remodeling projects, or you can schedule a visit from a Home Energy Rater. Home Energy Raters inspect your home, perform tests and provide an itemized list of energy efficiency upgrades from the least to most costly. Visit for more information.

Add insulation and seal air leaks

Air leaks are major sources of energy loss and make your heating and cooling systems work harder to maintain consistent temperatures. Check for leaks around electrical outlets, windows, doors, attics, chimneys, and through recessed lighting fixtures.

You should also take a look at your insulation. Insulation is rated by resistance value, and the value is determined by the type and thickness of the insulation material and the installed weight per square foot. R-38 is standard for current homebuilders, along with R-13 in the walls. Proper insulation leads to better performance from your heating and cooling systems, and reduces outside noise, too.

Seal ductwork

Older homes often have poor air flow and leaky ductwork that leaves some rooms stuffy and uncomfortable. Sealing and insulating ductwork in attics and crawlspaces can help make your home more comfortable. Check our heating and cooling pages for rebate information.

Upgrade heating and cooling systems

Older, inefficient heaters and air conditioners use more energy because they have to work harder to heat and cool. Make sure that your furnace and air conditioner are properly sealed and insulated. At a minimum, install an air conditioner with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 14.5 and a 90 percent Annual Fuel Use Efficiency (AFUE) furnace.

Check our heating and cooling pages for rebate information.

Upgrade plumbing

Two steps you can take when upgrading your plumbing are to insulate your hot water pipes and install water-saving faucets and showerheads. You can save even more money and energy by installing a water heater with a minimum Energy Factor (EF) of 0.62. You can also save energy by keeping your water heater set to 120 degrees.

Upgrade appliances and lighting

Two of the biggest sources of energy use for most homes are appliances and lighting. You can reduce your energy use by up to 40 percent – and save money – by selecting ENERGY STAR® appliances and electronic equipment. And don't forget to check for SMUD appliance rebates.

You can save even more money and energy by using CFL or LED lighting, and by installing energy-saving windows, skylights and solar tubes. CFLs use up to 75 percent less energy, last seven to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Changing four light bulbs in your most frequently used fixtures can save $120 over the life of the bulbs.

Visit our SMUD Energy Store to get instant rebates on lighting and other home accessories.

Appliances and electrical equipment consume energy even when they are not in use. You can manage these "phantom loads" by plugging appliances and equipment into power strips and turning the power strips off when not in use. It's a simple way to save up to 15 percent on your total energy bill.

Go to SMUD Energy Store to purchase LEDs and receive an instant rebate at checkout.