If Gandara hired a private company for a written report of energy and water use in her home, she would have paid $200 for the audit and around $40 for the replacement parts, according to Burbank Water and Power, which recently won a state award for the program.
Other homes save upwards of $2,300 by making the call, according to a utility report.
“We try to provide little tips that are low- or no-cost for the customers,” said energy and water specialist Stanley Mueller. “It’s really about educating customers to make lifestyle changes.”
Whether it’s adhering to the city requirement to water lawns during the correct days and times — Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. — or making sure the temperatures are correct for water heaters, refrigerators and freezers, the efforts can make a marked difference on utility bills. But house calls through the program have the added benefit of free insulation services.
Gandara’s insulation was the recommended thickness, but the program will provide free duct sealing and insulation for attics, which cost close to $1,000 each.
“Our biggest challenge with the program is convincing Burbank residents that there truly is no catch,” said program manager Joe Flores.
Crews visit four to five homes a day and about 80 Burbank homes each month request a free audit, according to the utility.
The program received the California Municipal Utilities Assn. 2011 Public Benefits Award for the utility’s efforts to promote low-cost energy efficiency for its customers.
Residents who participate in the Green Home House Call program reduce their annual energy and water bill by an average of $129, according to the utility.
“Normally, I just look to see how much by bill is and just pay it,” Gandara said. “I don’t pay attention to how much I spend on each service, but now I will.”