Clean California Living 101

California is the self-proclaimed “State of Resistance”. However, the state has forged one path that everyone in the United States can get behind: their clean energy initiative. California has made leaps and bounds in their effort to produce energy from renewable resources, and residents stand to benefit from an abundant amount of incentives for participating. Whether you’re a Cali resident who wants to learn how to take advantage of these programs, or are curious as to how a state who prides itself on being different is switching things up, keep reading. We’re giving you a concise breakdown of clean California living which can empower you to do the same.

  • State-wide Operations

In November of 2017, The California Energy Commission released its annual report, and announced that the state’s investor-owned utility companies such as SDG&E are on track to offer 50% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020. Pioneering companies like OhmConnect explain that California would rather pay consumers to save energy than pay power plants to produce more; they encourage their users to go greener by offering cash rewards for participating in “Quiet Hours,” or reducing consumption during peak periods of energy usage.

The state government also made a commitment to cleaner living by introducing California’s Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen), which is designed to improve public health, safety and general welfare by enhancing the design and construction of California’s built environment. Included in CALGreen mandates sustainable state government operations including:

  • Energy-efficient state building design
  • Renewable energy generation at state facilities
  • Environmentally-preferrable state purchasing
  • Sustainable state-owned vehicles


  • Energy-efficient Upgrades

The Renewable Energy Program is run by the CEC, and has offered market-based incentives for new and existing utility-scale facilities powered by renewable resources since 1998. In 2007, the Commission teamed up with The New Solar Homes Partnership, which extended the financial incentives and other support to home builders in order to encourage the construction of new, solar homes.

Many of California residents also take advantage of the numerous federal and state tax breaks offered by making energy-efficient upgrades to their homes, condos and apartments. Although installing dual window panes, new insulation, or an energy-efficient HVAC system might cost more upfront, the savings they stand to reap are often worth it later on. California offers many financing options for upgrades to make going greener easier. From Los Angeles hard money lenders, to Bay Area building loans, living clean in California isn’t hard to do.

  • Eco-friendly Cars

The Golden State uses creative ways to encourage commuters to switch to eco-friendly cars. Earth-conscious Californians who drive electric vehicles can apply for a Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) decal from the DMV, which enables them to ride in the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV or carpool) lane without the required number of passengers. They’re also exempt from paying the toll usually required to drive on high occupancy toll roads, shedding time and costs off their commute.

Cities such as Sacramento, San Jose, Hermosa Beach and Santa Monica offer free metered parking to electric vehicles on the streets, adding more savings incentives. California’s Consumer Assistance Program gives either a $1,000 or $1,500 (low income applicants) to residents who retire their high-polluting vehicles, as long as: 1) you are the registered owner; 2) the vehicle is titled in your name.

With so many perks rewarded for driving eco-friendly cars, more and more Californians are making the switch to electric vehicles—reducing their carbon footprint along the way.

California’s government promotes clean living through its various energy initiatives and makes going greener highly attractive to its residents. The state-backed programs for converting to energy-efficient homes and cars makes the initial buy-in seem well worth it, and the plentiful financing options makes buying in easy to do. The government leads by example, practicing what they preach and implementing eco-friendly standards to statewide operations. They even pay their residents to simply reduce their use of the grid for a bit! California may be different, but their strategies and practices are setting the world stage for the rest of the U.S. and beyond.

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