GSFA Residential Energy Retrofit Program

Low Interest Rate Financing of Energy Efficiency Home Improvements

Frequently Asked Questions

The following information explains in more detail some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) from homeowners and contractors regarding the Program.

If you have questions not addressed below, please feel free to Contact Us.


Tip: Click on a question to open or close the answer.

Q-1:   What is the GSFA Residential Energy Retrofit Program?

It is a financial assistance program designed to assist homeowners with making energy efficiency home improvements. It is sponsored by Golden State Finance Authority (GSFA) and made possible through loan financing from Five Star Bank and supported in part by funds from from Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

The Program, which has been in existence since 2010, was developed in order to promote energy efficiency and positively impact California’s economy through job creation in construction and other trades.

Q-2:   What is an Energy Efficiency Retrofit?

An Energy Efficiency Retrofit is where you address many variables that directly or indirectly relate to improving the energy efficiency of your home.

Increasing the energy efficiency of your home isn't just a matter of buying new appliances or caulking around windows. It's looking at your whole house as a system and identifying all the repairs and improvements that will work together to create a more comfortable home, save you money on your utility bills and use less resources. This is also referred to as the "Whole-House Approach" to energy efficiency and can result in higher energy savings to a homeowner.

Replacing windows, sealing air spaces, insulating walls, floors, ceiling or roof, and upgrading heating and cooling equipment are just a few examples of energy efficiency work that can significantly reduce your household energy consumption and slash your energy costs.

Q-3:   In what counties is the Program currently available?

The Program is currently available in the following 44 counties of California: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Kern, Kings, Lake, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Mateo, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba.

Q-4:   Who is eligible to participate in the Program?

Any residential property owner in an eligible county that meets the following criteria is eligible to apply for energy efficiency financing through the Program:

  1. The Applicant is the current owner of the subject Property;
  2. The Mortgage and Property Taxes are current;
  3. The Property is not subject to any outstanding tax or mechanics liens;
  4. The Property is located in an eligible county
  5. The utilities are provided in part or full by PG&E.
  6. The Applicant has a current source of verifiable income (no income limits apply);
  7. The Applicant has a minimum credit score of 640;
  8. The Applicant has a debt-to-income ratio of not more than 45%; and
  9. The Applicant agrees to setup automatic withdrawal of the loan payment.
Q-5:   What are some of the benefits of making my home energy efficient?

Usually homeowners want to make energy efficiency improvements to lower their energy bills. But, saving energy and money isn't the only benefit that comes with making your home energy efficient. Other benefits could include:

  1. Increased home comfort;
  2. Improved indoor air quality;
  3. Increased property value;
  4. Local job creation; and
  5. Reduced need for combustion of fossil fuels and resulting emissions into the atmosphere.
Q-6:   What energy savings improvements are eligible for financing?

An eligible energy saving improvement is a measure to improve the energy efficiency of a home. Common examples include insulation, air sealing (foam and caulk), window and duct sealing, heating system upgrades, efficient hot water heaters, and better controls and thermostats for furnaces and boilers. There are two directions or paths that you can take with your energy efficiency project, depending on the amount of work you choose to have completed. To view full descriptions of the GSFA Basic and Advanced Home Performance Paths click here.

For more information about eligible measures (energy efficiency and/or renewable energy) or the Program minimum energy savings requirement, please contact a Participating Contractor or Contact Us.

Q-7:   How much can I borrow?

You can borrow up to $50,000 with the GSFA Residential Energy Retrofit Program, subject to credit approval and provided that you meet the program eligibility criteria.

Q-8:   What is the term or duration for the loan?

The loan is a 15-year fully amortizing loan.

Q-9:   What is an Energy Assessment (Audit)?

During a home energy audit, your Participating Contractor uses technical equipment to evaluate the current energy efficiency of your home and provides you with recommendations for improvement and the estimated energy savings from those recommendations.

A full energy audit is performed for GSFA Advanced Home Upgrade Path projects and utilizes equipment and computer software such as the following:

  1. A Blower Door: To quantify the total air leakage of your home down to the square inch;
  2. A Smoke Pencil:  To identify the location of air leaks;
  3. An Infrared Camera: To determine how your insulation is performing;
  4. Combustion Safety Testing Equipment: To evaluate the efficiency and safety of your heating systems; and
  5. Energy Modeling Software: To determine the cost and savings associated with each measure.

For GSFA Basic Home Upgrade Path projects, an assessment of the home is completed according to the standards of the Building Performance Institute for energy efficiency test-in procedures.




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