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A typical neighborhood home in Chula Vista has been transformed into extraordinary, efficient, attractive, comfortable, and cost effective. The City of Chula Vista, ConSol, and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) Emerging Technologies Program along with General Electric (GE), California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), the County of San Diego, and Sweetwater Authority teamed up to complete the makeover. The home, located at 590 Fig Avenue in Chula Vista, will be opened to the public at a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. on January 24. Guests will have the opportunity to hear from the project partners and tour the property to learn about the energy upgrades that were installed to achieve more than 50 percent in energy savings. The event kicks off a one-year public information program where the Fig Avenue home will be open for tours, training, and as a venue for case studies.

As part of the home’s energy upgrades, ConSol is leading a $1 million California Solar Initiative (CSI) Research, Demonstration and Deployment (RD&D) grant in partnership with GE and SDG&E. Funds from this research effort were used to support the CSI RD&D project aimed at lowering the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, through energy efficiency retrofits and a state-of-the-art GE 2.4 kW PV system installation. The PV system will reduce the home’s energy demand and carbon footprint and provide an opportunity for GE to demonstrate its new “plug & play” solar energy system technology, designed to be cost-effectively installed by standard roofing contractors and electricians. GE also has installed a home energy network at the Fig Avenue home to help the future homeowners track and manage their energy use. The Fig Avenue Showcase Home served as a training opportunity for roofing contractors, electricians, and solar installers who worked together to install this prototype system. This effort provided GE valuable feedback and information that will be used to incorporate solar installation into a standard roofing business model.

Installation of the energy efficiency upgrades was completed by CCSE’s GETUP program funded by a $600,000 County of San Diego workforce development grant. This portion of the GETUP green jobs workforce training program consisted of 13 unemployed or underemployed participants who gained hands-on experience installing energy-efficient lighting, insulation, air sealing, water heating, and HVAC systems. Additional workforce training is occurring with Southwestern College horticulture students, who are designing and installing drought-tolerant, sustainable landscaping at the property.

During the next year, the Chula Vista Sustainable Energy Showcase Home will be highlighted through public open houses for the Energy Upgrade California Community Savings Initiative (the third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. – noon), onsite contractor and student trainings, and video case studies. The home also will serve as a demonstration site for other Energy Upgrade California events, and the Chula Vista Home Upgrade, Carbon Downgrade Program. These programs help to inform homeowners of the benefits of home energy upgrades and through special discounts, incentives, and 0% interest loans make upgrades more affordable.

The City of Chula Vista, in collaboration with Community HousingWorks, purchased the distressed property in September 2011 at a substantial discount through the Chase Community Revitalization Program. After an initial showcase period, the property will be resold to a qualifying low-income family through the Chula Vista First-Time Homebuyer Program. Applications and requirements will be available March 1, 2012.

For more information on the Chula Vista Sustainable Energy Showcase Home and the City’s First-Time Homebuyer Program, please visit

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