Southern California Edison has partnered with six area contractors in an effort to reduce energy waste in multifamily homes by replacing old light fixtures and shower heads with newer, more efficient alternatives. The energy rebate program, which aims to reduce energy and water usage by 20 percent, is free to customers of the utility company.
One of the companies that signed on with Edison is Torrance-based Optima Energy Inc., a company that works jointly with local utility companies participating in upgrade programs to install products in homes of customers. Joe Valdez, an account manger with Optima and a life-long resident of Long Beach said that although the program is only projected to be funded through early next year, he’s excited at the prospect of updating as many homes as possible with more efficient lighting and water fixtures, especially in Long Beach.
“I live in Long beach and I have to do my small part,” Valdez said. “That’s what it comes down to, every person in their heart needs to decide that ‘yes, I can do something very small, and it’s free’. The people that won’t do it, they’re never going to save water in the first place but there are other people asking how they can do this.”
The program targets multifamily homes, such as apartments, condos, senior living facilities, and replaces outdoor lights at complexes with brighter, longer lasting LED lights which, according to Valdez, improve the curb appeal as well as the safety of the units. It also addresses needs inside of the units, outfitting them with more efficient bulbs, all of which are rated at a life expectancy of 25,000 hours, as well as occupancy sensors that turn lights on and off when people enter or exit rooms.
The low-flow faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads are estimated by Edison to save upward of 75 percent more water than the average fixture. Valdez said the upgrades not only conserve energy, but can also improve property value, lower monthly bills and reduce the frequency of routine maintenance. He added that all residents using Edison have to do to find out if they qualify for these free upgrades is to simply supply their address to the company.
Valdez, a surfer since childhood, said he's always had a strong connection with water, and even though the program doesn’t specifically focus on water conservation, given Governor Brown’s announcement of mandatory water reductions yesterday, the part of the program that does deal with water conservation could be a bigger selling point for those looking for ways to save water.
“Most people, especially here in the States, we take it for granted that we have clean water,” Valdez said. “With our free shower heads and free faucet aerators, they’re supposed to reduce the amount of water that’s coming out because they’re restricted flow, that’s higher pressure and uses less water."
Although the company’s stated goal is to reduce usage by 20 percent, Valdez said that they’re shooting for 60 percent. He said that that this a simple and easy way to conserve energy that doesn’t impact the lifestyle of the tenants. It just requires people to care enough about conservation efforts and people to be educated about their options on how to use it more efficiently.
“It comes down to the level of how it plays on conscience, their level of awareness,” Valdez said. "There are so many people that are just wrapped up in daily survival, daily living, daily business but if we could touch the hearts of say 1,000 people then we’ve made an impact. Of course we need to touch the hearts of a million people.”
Edison customers interested in participating in the free efficiency program can call 562-233-2731.