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Windsor Approves Innovative, Water Conservation & Energy Efficiency Program – First in California!

Windsor Efficiency PAYS®, available to eligible Windsor residents starting August 2012, provides water and energy upgrades for residential properties that provide immediate utility bill savings—   with no upfront cost or debt.

On July 18, 2012, the Windsor Town Council gave final approval for Windsor Efficiency PAYS®, a new, innovative water conservation program that provides residents with immediate savings on utility bills and requires no upfront cost or new debt. The program provides for the installation of very efficient products and appliances, as well as dry-summer, drought resistant landscaping that will reduce water use, conserve energy, and save money.

“Windsor Efficiency PAYS® provides a real win/win for local residents and the Town,” said Town of Windsor Mayor Debora Fudge.  “Windsor residents will be able to enjoy new efficient appliances and can replace their lawns with low water landscaping, which will save them money. The Town can reduce its demand on our limited water supply, and future costs associated with expanding our infrastructure will be minimized while also reducing the Town’s overall environmental impact.”

“The Town of Windsor is blazing the trail in addressing the water/energy connection,” said Ann Hancock, executive director of the Climate Protection Campaign, which cited the PAYS® concept as a game changing tool for greenhouse gas reduction in its 2008 Community Climate Action Plan. “There is a lot of energy involved in moving and heating water and Windsor’s new program will help us reduce emissions associated with water use.”

 The PAYS® model is being piloted through a joint effort of the Town of Windsor, Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority, Climate Protection Campaign, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

“The PAYS® program works because it allows program participants to “pay as you save®” with no loan and no debt associated with repayment,” said Paul Piazza, Water Conservation Program Coordinator for the Town of Windsor. “Participants are offered a specified selection of upgrade measures, such as high efficiency washing machines, toilets, showerheads/aerators, and drought resistant landscaping; after installation, participants pay a surcharge on their water bill with the assurance that their estimated savings on combined utility bills (energy/water) will exceed the bi-monthly water surcharge.”

Since the PAYS® program offers the assurance that savings will exceed monthly surcharges, utility customers must meet eligibility requirements to participate, which is verified by the Certified Contractor, who determines eligibility based on the customer’s current water and energy usage.

“We are very excited to expand the tools available to residents who want to reduce their water and energy bills,” said RCPA Chairwoman Valerie Brown. “The Town of Windsor has stepped up to lead the way on this pilot program and the RCPA is eager to work with them to ensure success.”

Upgrade measures will be offered as follows:

Basic Package — Includes the latest in high efficiency showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators (exceeding the efficiency standards offered under existing Windsor rebate program).  Participants enter the program here and these basic measures must be installed, or already meet minimum standards, to qualify for other upgrades.

Basic Plus Measures Includes selection of one or more of the following measures: drought resistant landscaping, high efficiency clothes washer, and compact fluorescent lights (CFL).

Co-Pay Measures Additional upgrade measures such as high efficiency refrigerators, on demand hot water recirculation pumps, and clothes dryers are available for purchase, requiring some up-front payment.

Additional consumer assurances include: (1) a certified contractor who has been pre-qualified and selected to install upgrade measures and comply fully with installation standards and codes, is fully insured, and whose work is bonded; (2) if a participant leaves a home or apartment in which they have installed PAYS® measures, the payment obligation for the upgraded measures which remain installed at the home or apartment ends; and (3) if any installed measure fails at any time, it will be repaired or the payment obligation ends.

A PAYS® Certified Contractor will begin contacting interested and qualifying residents beginning in August.  To find out more and to sign up to be contacted by a Certified Contractor, contact our Certification Agent, Sonoma County Energy Independence Program, at (707) 565-6472 or visit www.windsorefficiencypays.com.

(Program Participants include: Town of Windsor, Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority, Sonoma County Energy Independence, Climate Protection Campaign, Bottom Line Utility Solutions, Sonoma Mountain Landscape, Niagara Conservation, Standards of Excellence, and Chilipepper Sales.)