Where to Spot Sunflowers in Yolo County in 2024

If Yolo County had an official flower, it would be a sunflower. In June and July, fields all across the region turn bright yellow when hundreds of acres of sunflowers bloom. 

California’s sunflower seed growers have supplied the world with hybrid seeds for many years, most of which are grown for sunflower seed oil. Even though two seed companies recently moved out of state, you’ll still find plenty of Yolo County farmers growing giant, cheerful blossoms. 

Sunflower viewing is one of our favorite summer activities at VCE! Here are a few suggestions for how to charge up your own Instagram feed with some solar (flower) power: 

Where to See Flowers

  • I-80 and Route 113 are great starting points for your flower-hunting adventure. You’ll have better luck seeing the fields up close, however, once you hit the byroads. 
  • You can often find plenty of sunflowers on the county roads between Winters and Davis and on the outskirts of Woodland. (In fact, Bullseye Farms south of Woodland participates in VCE’s AgFIT program!) 
  • If you’d prefer a birds-eye view, take a sunrise flight with Yolo Ballooning Adventures. The excursions depart from downtown Winters.  

Flower Photography Tips

  • If you’re driving on a two-lane road and spot a field that would make a great backdrop for a sunflower selfie, park very carefully and pay attention to fast-moving traffic. 
  • Remember: Farmers make their living from these sunflowers! Don’t enter the fields and damage economically important crops.
  • The golden hour – early evening, before sunset – is usually the best time to photograph sunflowers. Not only will your pictures turn out better, you’ll stay cooler by avoiding the noontime glare!

Want to Bring Sunflowers Home With You?

If you’ve spent the afternoon taking sunflower photos but don’t want to return home without a bouquet, Killdeer Farms in West Sacramento and Park Winters in Winters host pick-your-own-bouquet afternoons on weekends. Spots book up fast, so make your reservation a few weeks in advance. 

At VCE, we’re proud of Yolo County’s role in producing this colorful crop – and our agricultural sector in general. Solar power in action!

7 Ways You Can Take Action on World Environment Day

Steps you can take at home and in your community to improve the environment — and how VCE can help you do more.

In 1972, the United Nations declared June 5 “World Environment Day.” Since then, people all over the planet have gathered together on World Environment Day to clean up their communities. 

As part of a statewide movement to change the way California generates and delivers energy, Valley Clean Energy is grateful to the organizers of that first World Environment Day for inspiring efforts like ours. 

As a not-for-profit local agency, we also share the proceeds of our work with the community. The 2024 Rate Discounts we’ve just announced will result in $1.6 million in savings this year for our customers. Our mission isn’t just to source electricity from clean, renewable sources while saving customers money. We also want to help everyone in Yolo County reduce their carbon footprint.

On our website, you can learn about our e-bike incentives and the Electrify Yolo Project, which is building a stronger network of EV charging stations in our community. 

Here are 7 steps you can take to make a difference in your home and in Yolo County:

Make a Difference at Home

  1. Ditch the car when you can. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, transportation is responsible for 29% of America’s greenhouse gas emissions. You don’t always need a gas-powered car to get around! You can take Yolobus around the county or as far as Sacramento. Bicycling is a fun way to get around the community, and electric bikes can help you go even farther. And an electric vehicle is the biggest step of all in cutting down your use of fossil fuels. 
  1. Buy second-hand. It takes a lot of energy to make and transport new clothes and household goods. When you shop at places like Big Blue Barn Thrift Store or use the Davis & Yolo County Thrift Store Guide, you’re not just saving money — you’re saving energy and reducing your environmental impact, too.
  1. Improve your home’s energy efficiency. Even in Northern California’s mild winters, it takes a lot of energy to heat and cool our homes. Replace both your furnace and air conditioner with an electric heat pump, and you’ll likely see your monthly energy bill drop. Dual pane windows can also make your home more comfortable all year round. 
  1. Opt up to UltraGreen. VCE’s goal is to source 100% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Until then, you can sign up for our UltraGreen option to power your home with 100% renewable energy for a few dollars extra a month. Small cost to you, big benefit for the planet. 

Take Action in Your Community

  1. Check out the Yolo Basin Foundation. The UN’s theme for the 2024 World Environment Day is “Generation Restoration.” Join the global effort to restore our forests and waterways right at home by giving tours, teaching classes, or helping with wetlands restoration projects at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. In the process, you’ll learn more about our region’s natural habitats and all the wildlife they support. 
  1. Explore the Yolo County chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby. The news about climate change can feel overwhelming. How much of an impact can just one person make? This nonpartisan group gathers to discuss solutions — and find ways for individuals to take action together.
  1. Connect with the UC Davis Sustainability Office. Are you a UC Davis student? If so, the university can help you find study, volunteer, or internship opportunities around the region. You may find new passions, or even a lifelong career, as you work to protect the planet.

On this 52nd World Environment Day, it’s clear that there’s still so much work to be done — and so much each of us can do to reduce our carbon footprint and improve air and water quality. At Valley Clean Energy, we’re committed to making progress on World Environment Day and every day!

California Reaches a Major Energy Goal

VCE was honored to be part of an event headed by Governor Gavin Newsom to celebrate California’s achievement of a major energy goal: 10,000 megawatts of battery storage. This is a 1250% increase since 2019!

The celebration took place at the Putah Creek Energy Farm outside of Winters, from which VCE buys 100% of the electricity generated. The facility is a 3 MW single-axis tracking photovoltaic system with 3 MW (4 hour duration) of battery storage. Recently California reached a record of battery storage discharge exceeding 6,000 MW in a day. Batteries will continue to play a huge role in California’s grid stability as we make progress toward VCE’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2030.

During the celebration event, the Governor was joined by key Administration energy officials and local legislators, as well as VCE Board Vice-Chair and Davis City Councilmember Bapu Vaitla. Also attending on behalf of VCE were former Board Chair and Winters City Councilmember Jesse Loren, and Mitch Sears, VCE’s Executive Officer.

Not only did we celebrate California’s leadership in sustainability and renewable energy, it showcased a local energy project and acknowledged the ability of CCAs to contribute to California’s energy reliability and greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The Power in Your Money: How the money you pay is reinvested in your community

If you’ve taken a look at your electric bill recently, you may have noticed that rates have gone up. Do you ever wonder where that money goes? At VCE, we get this question pretty often, and we’d like to provide some insight on the various costs included in your electric bill (spoiler alert: VCE electric generation is a much smaller percentage than you’d think!)

Valley Clean Energy (VCE) is committed to investing in the communities we serve. We’re keeping  electricity costs lower for our customers while we transition to providing 100% renewable energy for all customers by 2030. Our Board of Directors recently made the decision to provide $1.6 million in rate relief to our customers, in the form of a discount on your monthly electric bill. 


Commitment to Lower Rates

As energy prices continue to increase, VCE stands firm in its commitment to provide lower rates for our customers. We understand the importance of accessible clean energy, and we offer a 3.5 % discount for low-income and medically vulnerable customers, on top of their state-provided discounts. All other customers receive a 1% discount. 


Community Impact Through Reinvestment

Being a public, not-for-profit agency sets us apart. We reinvest your dollars back into the community, not the pockets of shareholders. This means that some of the money you pay for your electric bill contributes to programs such as rebates for electric vehicles and incentives for energy efficiency upgrades. Knowing that a portion of your dollars directly benefit our community adds a meaningful dimension to paying your electric bill. When VCE negotiates new power contracts, we make sure that hundreds of thousands of dollars are set aside for workforce development, and that pollinator habitat is available in projects sited near agricultural land. You can feel good about where your money goes when it’s supporting programs and power contracts that result in more renewables on the grid, and put more dollars back in everyone’s pocket.


Positive Change Since 2018

VCE has offered a choice of electricity suppliers since 2018, putting the control back in the hands of our customers. Our reinvestment into community-benefiting programs and energy generation projects has made an enduring impact. From generating 378 MW of clean energy to delivering over $1.5 million in savings to our customers, we take pride in  providing more clean energy with cost savings for our customers. Paying your electric bill isn’t always easy, but we hope to make it a little easier, knowing you’re directly supporting important programs and initiatives right here in Yolo County. 


For anyone struggling to pay their electric bill, please see several programs for which you may qualify here: https://valleycleanenergy.org/financial-assistance/.

3 Ways You Can Make a Difference on National Renewable Energy Day

Renewable energy isn’t just about solar and wind versus coal. It’s about more jobs, and healthier jobs, for our community. At VCE, our goal is to be 100% renewable by 2030 – an ambitious goal in the face of ever-rising power costs. But it’s important to us to make a meaningful impact on climate change in the best way we know how – through our power portfolio.

The climate crisis is making the need for renewable energy solutions increasingly evident. We need to switch our reliance on dirty, polluting fossil fuels to cleaner sources that naturally replenish themselves. Various organizations, environmentalists, and advocates joined forces to establish a day dedicated to promoting and celebrating clean and sustainable energy. National Renewable Energy Day has evolved and gained traction as a way for communities nationwide to recognize the importance of individual action contributing to the collective actions that can drive the necessary change toward a more sustainable future.

As we celebrate National Renewable Energy Day, it’s crucial to go beyond just acknowledging the importance of clean energy sources. It’s an opportunity for each of us to take actionable steps that keep our air and water cleaner.


Reduce Energy Consumption

One of the most effective ways to support renewable energy is by minimizing overall energy consumption. Simple actions like turning off lights and appliances when not in use, investing in energy-efficient technologies, and practicing energy conservation at home and in the workplace can make a significant impact. If you are able to, unplug the plugs not in use (or shut off power strips) to decrease “vampire load.” TVs, desktop computers and gaming consoles are the main culprits in using electricity while plugged in but not in use. This can also help you save money on your electricity bill.


Invest in Renewable Energy

Consider energy choices like UltraGreen, where you can opt to receive 100% renewable energy for your home or business. The average cost for a household to opt up is only about $7-10 per month, a small price to pay for the long-term benefits of cleaner air and a reduced carbon footprint. By choosing renewable energy options, you directly contribute to the growth of the renewable energy sector and help build a more sustainable energy infrastructure for your community.


Promote Renewable Energy Education

Raising awareness about the benefits of renewable energy is crucial for fostering a collective commitment to a cleaner future. Share information within your community through various channels such as organizing educational events, webinars, or social media campaigns. By empowering others with knowledge, you play a vital role in encouraging the adoption of renewable energy practices. Highlighting the positive impacts of sustainable energy sources not only educates but also inspires individuals to make informed choices that contribute to a cleaner climate.

Reducing energy consumption, promoting renewable energy education, and investing in clean energy sources are 3 easy ways to contribute to a sustainable future. By taking small actions now, you can become a driving force for positive change, inspiring others to join the movement toward a healthier planet.

Get to know our Community Advisory Committee Members

The Valley Clean Energy Community Advisory Committee (CAC) serves as a key driving force for community engagement, offering insights and recommendations regarding VCE policies, operational objectives, and goals. Collaborating closely with both the VCE staff and the Board of Directors, the CAC embodies a spirit of teamwork and commitment to the communities VCE serves. In this blog, we’re thrilled to introduce you to some of our CAC members – individuals who generously volunteer their time and expertise to further our clean energy mission.

Rahul Athalye

Rahul Athalye has been a valued member of the CAC since the summer of 2022 and currently serves as the CAC’s Vice Chair. Rahul and his family have taken steps towards greener living, with plans for solar installation on their home in December 2023. Although he’s not an Electric Vehicle (EV) driver currently, he and his family are interested in making the transition to electric vehicles in the future. Rahul embraces sustainability in his bike-friendly community of Davis by using a cargo bike for transportation for school and recreational activities. Rahul is also a participant in the OhmConnect demand response program, actively reducing energy consumption through his thermostat.

Rahul’s motivation for joining VCE stems from a desire to actively participate in his local community, helping to make Davis and Yolo County even more sustainable. He views VCE as the perfect platform in which to share his expertise, and to have a significant impact on the journey towards sustainability. As a CAC member, he aspires to assist VCE in its transition to 100% carbon-free electricity while also working to lower electricity rates, ensuring that renewable energy and sustainability are accessible and affordable to community members. Additionally, he aims to support VCE’s community engagement efforts through various programs and incentives, solidifying his commitment to a greener, more sustainable future for all.

Rahul serves as the Technical Director of Codes and Standards at NORESCO, where he leads a team of engineers and analysts specializing in consulting and technical analysis support for entities like the California Energy Commission, as well as other jurisdictions across the United States. With a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering, Rahul’s expertise lies in building science, modeling, and energy policy, making him well-equipped to contribute to VCE’s mission.

Danielle Ballard

We’re excited to introduce the newest member of the CAC, Danielle Ballard, who joined the committee in September 2023. As a homeowner in Woodland and a Valley Clean Energy customer since its inception, Danielle brings a fresh perspective to the table. Being mindful of her transportation choices, Danielle drives a hybrid Ford Maverick, which not only offers excellent gas mileage but also proves to be a versatile and enjoyable vehicle for navigating the fields of the farm where she works.

Danielle’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond her choice of vehicle. She actively practices composting at home, recognizing it as one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint. Her dedication to making environmentally responsible choices is a testament to her passion for creating a greener world. This passion for sustainability, coupled with a desire to become more engaged in her community, led Danielle to join the CAC. Her alignment with VCE’s goals and her belief in the value of Community Choice programs have fueled her desire to contribute to the ongoing improvement of her community and the world at large.

Danielle’s biggest goal is to be a strong advocate for the agricultural sector. Recognizing the significant local power consumption of farms, she sees an opportunity for the sector to make a substantial impact and is excited about the potential for collaboration and positive change. Her farm’s participation in VCE’s Agricultural Flexible Irrigation Technology (AgFIT) program, a groundbreaking program that provides growers automation incentives and a dynamic rate tariff to save them money and shift electric load off peak, is evidence of the fruitful relationship between agriculture and sustainable energy initiatives. We can’t wait to see the impact Danielle’s leadership will have on VCE and her community.

Dr. Keith Taylor, MPA

Keith Taylor joined the CAC in 2021, and chairs the Programs and Outreach Task Group of the CAC. As a UC Davis Professor specializing in community economic development and rural cooperative businesses, Dr. Taylor aims to contribute diverse perspectives to the utility landscape. One of his primary goals is to explore ways in which we can promote equity among customers who aren’t homeowners. Through his involvement with VCE, he hopes to foster innovative solutions that benefit not only traditional homeowners but also lower-income and marginalized individuals, enabling them to transition to cleaner energy options like electric vehicles.

When it comes to sustainability, Dr. Taylor is committed! He is an avid composter and takes pride in his conscious consumer habits, understanding that every effort, no matter how small, contributes to positive change.

Dr. Taylor’s involvement with VCE is driven by his expertise in electric cooperatives. He recognized a significant opportunity to leverage his knowledge and connections to support the growth and development of clean energy within his community.

Dr. Taylor brings ambitious aspirations for his time serving on the CAC. He aims to facilitate the maturation and expansion of CCAs by fostering connections with the national electric cooperative sector. He is also dedicated to helping VCE and other CCAs evolve into world-class utilities, ensuring they provide top-tier services and clean energy solutions to their communities.

Diccon Westworth

Diccon has been a valued member of the CAC since July 2023. He joined us with a desire to contribute to the green electric transition in his community. His passion for sustainability and commitment to a zero-carbon lifestyle aligns perfectly with VCE’s mission.

Diccon’s commitment to sustainability shines through in every aspect of his life. He is not just an advocate for green energy, but a living example of it. With a zero-carbon home powered by solar energy sourced through UltraGreen from VCE, a heat pump HVAC system, and an induction stove, he is making significant strides in reducing his carbon footprint. The addition of a heat pump water heater in January will further solidify his commitment to a greener lifestyle. Diccon’s home proudly sports an UltraGreen VCE lawn sign, representing his partnership with VCE and dedication to a sustainable future.

As an EV driver, he makes sure his Model 3 is charged with zero-carbon electricity. He takes a conscientious approach to waste management, as he not only composts but uses a Food Cycler, ensuring that his kitchen scraps go back into his garden as immediate, usable compost, all while preventing methane emissions.

Diccon has adopted a vegan diet and significantly reduced air travel. He plays a vital role in promoting sustainability as a director at the Veterinary Sustainability Alliance, a non-profit organization, and as a lead clinician at his VCA veterinary hospital, where he actively champions sustainability in veterinary medicine. Diccon’s influence doesn’t stop at his workplace; he travels around the United States to deliver lectures on the subject, choosing eco-friendly transportation whenever possible. Diccon also volunteers as an active member of the Climate Reality Sacramento Chapter, advocating for climate action and working towards a sustainable future.

During his time as a CAC Member for VCE, Diccon is excited to support the transition to 100% renewable, 100% carbon-free electricity for the entire VCE community and beyond. Additionally, he is enthusiastic about promoting the electrification of homes and vehicles, striving to create a zero-carbon community, which includes advocating for EV adoption and EV charging infrastructure development. Diccon’s dedication and vision for a sustainable future are truly inspiring.

We are honored that the members of our CAC choose to volunteer their time with us. Their expertise and opinions are greatly valued by staff and leadership within our organization. We have a deep appreciation for the time they dedicate to their roles with VCE. Their actions make a difference within our communities.

Learn more about our Community Advisory Committee including available seats and public monthly meetings here.

5 Budget-friendly Ideas to Keep Cool in Late Summer While Reducing Energy Consumption at Home

It’s no secret that even late summer can be hot in California. Known for its heat waves, Californians are no strangers to Flex Alerts this time of year and the need to stay cool. We have five budget-friendly ideas to help you stay cool this month and use less energy at home, double win! The most important part of getting out of the house to conserve energy is to be sure you set your thermostats above 78 degrees while you’re away from home. Statistics show that every degree above 78 can potentially lead to a cost savings of up to 2%.

Visit a Community Pool

When the temperatures soar, a community pool can be an oasis of relief. Many towns and neighborhoods offer public pools with affordable entry fees, and some even have free entry days or discounts for residents. Taking a dip in a refreshing pool not only helps you stay cool, but it’s also a great way to exercise and unwind with friends and family. Plus, by heading out to a community pool, you can give your air conditioner at home a much-needed break, thus reducing your energy usage.

We found a few local community pools that offer recreational swim hours:

Catch a Summer Movie Special at Your Local Theater

Beat the heat and indulge in some cinematic magic by catching a summer movie special at your local theater. Many theaters offer discounted tickets during the summer months, making it an economical way to stay cool and entertained. The cool air-conditioned environment will be a welcome escape from the sweltering heat outside. Regal Theaters in Davis offers a few promotional specials including Mystery Movie Monday ($5), Summer Movie Express series ($2), and Regals Crown Club Value Days.

Visit a Local Museum

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to keep cool while enriching your mind, consider visiting a local museum. Museums are often well air-conditioned, and many offer free or reduced admission on certain days. Explore the fascinating exhibits, learn about art, history, or science, and let your imagination wander while enjoying a cool and comfortable atmosphere. Not only will you stay refreshed, but you’ll also gain new insights and knowledge in the process.

Try some of these local favorites:

Spend the Day at Lake Solano

Nature has a way of providing natural coolness, and spending the day at a nearby lake can be incredibly rejuvenating. Pack a picnic, bring your favorite summer read, and enjoy the serene surroundings while dipping your toes into the water to cool off. Lakes and natural bodies of water offer a refreshing escape from the heat, and the best part is that they don’t rely on electricity, making it an eco-friendly option for beating the heat without increasing your energy consumption.

Lake Solano is a great option for a day well spent outdoors during the summer. Day use is available year round and the campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Canoes and kayaks are allowed on the lake and available for rental if you don’t own one. Fishing is also permitted! We recommend checking the website prior to visiting to ensure you’re familiar with the rules and regulations for using the lake.

Cook Outside

During the scorching August days, cooking inside can raise the temperature of your home significantly. Instead, take advantage of the warm weather and cook outside on a grill or have a picnic. Grilling not only keeps your home cooler, but it also adds a fun and enjoyable outdoor dining experience. Prepare some delicious summer recipes and invite friends and family over for a potluck-style gathering. Not only will you avoid using your oven or stovetop, but you’ll also create wonderful memories. You could stay entertained throughout the day with outdoor lawn games, card or board games, or an evening neighborhood bike ride.

Pro Tip: A take and bake pizza will fit perfectly on a traditional briquette-style BBQ grill. An easy summer dinner for the whole family!

Staying cool without skyrocketing your energy consumption is possible with these budget-friendly ideas. So, beat the heat while having a great time visiting a community pool, catching a summer movie, exploring local museums, enjoying the serene beauty of Lake Solano, and cooking outside. Embrace these creative ways to keep cool and save energy, and you’ll have a fantastic and eco-conscious month!

A Look Back on 5 Years of Service

Valley Clean Energy is proud to be the clean electricity provider for Yolo County. Over the past five years we’ve grown to serve over 60,000 customers and fulfilled our mission to provide clean electricity, product choice, and greenhouse gas emission reductions — all with local control at competitive prices. Since inception we’ve hit the ground running and made sizable impacts on the communities we serve.

The Beginning

In 2018, Valley Clean Energy was born out of a need for an alternative energy solution to investor-owned utilities for the residents and businesses within Yolo County. These communities hold a true passion for the option to take control of the type of energy they use and reduce the amount of greenhouse emissions they deploy. It made sense for a CCA to answer this need and take the lead.

The path to getting started wasn’t always smooth. VCE overcame challenges to secure funding in our early years that would continue to serve our customers as time passed. We’ve invested in public EV chargers, provided EV rebates, and offered clean energy at competitive rates. Our diligent and committed leadership, staff, board members, and CAC members are the true heroes of the VCE story. Without the hard work of these individuals, our organization would not have been able to make as big of an impact as it has so far. We are truly proud to be part of a community that cares so deeply about clean energy.

We’re Making a Difference

It’s hard to believe that we’re already in our fifth year of service and it is incredible that we’ve been able to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time. We’ve expanded our service territory, secured contracts to ensure clean energy for our customers, launched our AgFIT pilot program (and won an award for it!), and serviced over 60,000 customers. Not to mention, we’ve contracted for many new energy generation projects including 243 MW of renewable energy, 128 MW of battery storage, and 7 MW of demand response. Our local projects serving Yolo County have created jobs for local residents and kept money in our local economy. The best part? We are just getting started! It is our goal by 2025 to bring an additional 13 MW of solar energy generation and 13 MW of battery storage to Yolo County. These installations will keep money in our local economy all while providing more clean energy throughout the county.

Providing clean electricity to our customers is our mission, however we also believe it is our responsibility to support our customers along the path to a clean energy future. Over the past five years, VCE has secured $1 million for irrigation automation, launched a successful Ultragreen program with nearly 500 opted-up customers using 100% clean energy, and saved CARE and FERA members throughout our service territory over $1.5 million on electricity bills.

In Fall of 2022 we launched our EV Rebate Program. Since then, we’ve been able to grant nearly $120,000 in rebates to new EV owners throughout Yolo County. We are proud to have been able to help our customers save even more money on their investment in an electric vehicle. This is just one more way we’re committed to reducing greenhouse emissions. VCE will remain committed to this cause and we plan to release phase two of our EV rebate program this year.

Celebrating in Central Park

June marked Valley Clean Energy’s fifth anniversary and in commemoration of this milestone, we took the opportunity to connect with the communities throughout our service area. We hosted two customer appreciation events, one in Woodland and the other in Davis. These events gave members of the community an opportunity to meet our team, converse with other VCE customers and EV drivers, hear from leaders within our state government, connect with local businesses, receive a free meal from a local food truck, and enjoy an afternoon outdoors.

At the Davis event, we offered an EV ride and drive and facilitated 60 new EV experiences! Participants were given the option between a Kia EV6 or a Ford Mach-E. We also partnered with Friends of Yolo County Animal Services to host a pet adoption during the event. Because, who can resist cute puppies?

We were honored to have been presented with a Special Recognition Congressional Certificate by special guest Rep. Mike Thompson, California, 4th District Congressman. We were also thrilled to have special guest speakers Siva Gunda, Vice Chair of the California Energy Commission, Darcie L. Houck, California Public Utilities Commissioner, and VCE’s Chair, Tom Stallard. We are grateful for their recognition, congratulatory words, and continued support. If you missed the Davis event, you can catch snippets of their speeches in this video. We’ll continue our celebration with another customer appreciation event in Winters this coming July. Check our events page or follow us on social media for event updates.

It’s safe to say that although we’re excited about our accomplishments, we’re even more excited about our future as Yolo County’s clean electricity provider. VCE will continue to expand our customer base and keep providing cost-saving programs for our customers. As we move forward in our goal towards less fossil fuels and more abundant clean energy, Valley Clean Energy remains steadfast in our commitment to our community. Cheers to five years, and many more to come

10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Make Your Home Energy Efficient for Summer

Have you ever noticed that your home seems to hold in heat during the summer? Is your air conditioner constantly running to keep your home cool? Not only can energy bills rise with the temperatures, the demand on the power grid is much greater. Improving your home’s energy efficiency is a sound investment that can save you money and even increase the value of your home. 

Here are 10 actionable ideas to make your home more energy-efficient this summer. From budget-friendly and DIY updates, these considerations can make a big impact.

  1. Feel the Breeze Use natural ventilation to let the outside air flow! If you live in a place where temperatures outside are cool in the evening and early morning hours, open your doors and windows to naturally cool your home. Create a cross ventilation by opening windows at opposite sides of the home so the fresh air can circulate.

  2. Ceiling Fans are Cooler than You Think Ceiling fans have the ability to provide effective cooling while consuming minimal electricity. By running a ceiling fan, you can feel cooler without necessarily lowering the room temperature. This allows you to set your thermostat at a higher temperature, reducing the workload on your air conditioner and ultimately lowering your energy consumption, and your electricity bill!

  3. Power Strips – The Cure for Energy Vampires Making use of power strips throughout your home can >help reduce power when electronics are not in use. If they remain plugged in, many electronics continue to draw power even when they’re turned off. Plug them into power strips and switch off the power strip when not in use to eliminate standby power consumption (aka Energy Vampires!)

  4. Keep Your Energy and Money from Slipping out the Door The simplest and easiest, yet very effective solution is replacing weatherstripping on drafty doors. Door seals are available at local hardware stores and are easily installed.

  5. So long Thomas Edison, hello Nick Holonyak, Jr. It is estimated that 15% of your home’s total energy usage is attributed to lighting. LED light bulbs, which were invented by Nick Holonyak, Jr. in 1962, are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs because they use 90% less energy and can last up to 25 times longer than incandescent. On average, households can save over $200 per year by switching all of their lights to LEDs.

  6. Hot or Knot: Keep it Cool with Thermal Curtains Thermal drapes or curtains are made using thick materials that block the heat from coming in. As a result, the temperature in the home stays cooler and there is less of a need to use the air conditioner. Keep the curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day for best results. Looking for something other than curtains? There are several types of window coverings that are proven to be energy efficient. Some include exterior window attachments. Depending on your budget, you can find the option that suits you.

  7. Sealing Round Two There are several effective ways to seal your windows and improve energy efficiency in your home. One option is to use weatherstripping, which involves applying adhesive strips of foam, rubber, or vinyl to the edges of the window frames to create a tight seal when closed. Another method is to use caulk to seal any gaps or cracks around the window frames. Silicone caulk is a popular choice because it is durable and provides a waterproof seal. Additionally, applying window film can help insulate your windows by reducing heat transfer and preventing drafts. Window film can be easily installed and is available in different thicknesses and styles. Window insulation kits are also available which typically consist of plastic shrink film and double-sided tape which create one more layer of protection from outdoor weather. These kits are affordable and easy to install, helping to minimize drafts and save on heating costs during the winter. By employing these methods, you can effectively seal your windows and create a more comfortable and energy-efficient living environment.

  8. Schedule a Professional Home Energy Audit A home energy audit is an assessment that measures the energy efficiency of your home. The auditor is a trained professional that can provide a report that should be used as a roadmap for improving your home’s efficiency. Home energy audits do a thorough evaluation of your home from top to bottom, including a determination on how air-tight your home is. This tells you how much air is escaping or entering your home through unsealed windows or doors.

  9. Regulate the Temperature Smarter, Not Harder It is estimated that a smart thermostat can save you 10% each year. Using a smart thermostat allows you to have complete control over temperatures 24/7, even if you aren’t home. By setting smart thermostats to recognize when you are away from your home, you can automatically regulate to a higher temperature so your air conditioner doesn’t run unnecessarily. Additionally, some smart thermostats include options to lower usage during peak times. This reduces energy consumption and helps save money.

  10. Keep Your Attic Cool Not all homes have attic insulation. If you’re unsure if your attic is insulated, or how much insulation it has, you can have this addressed during a home energy audit. By adding more insulation to your attic, you are essentially adding a seal or lid over your home to keep temperatures more regulated. Proper home insulation is an investment that will benefit your home’s efficiency year-round.
We hope these simple tips inspire you to make your home more energy efficient.

Stacking Electric Vehicle Rebates Can Make EVs Accessible

Electric vehicles (EVs) are fun to drive, simple to charge, and cost less to fuel and maintain – not to mention being better for the environment, especially when powered by the clean energyValley Clean Energy (VCE) provides. That’s why VCE is supporting customers in the transition by providing rebates for EVs.The initial cost of switching to an EV makes the transition more challenging for some-fortunately, there are various incentives and rebates available that can help make EVs more accessible and affordable.We recently had the chance to speak with a VCE customer, Christina Chang, one of the first recipients of the VCE EV rebate. Christina had been considering an EV for over a year as part of her commitment to the environment. Previously she was driving a minivan that wasn’t getting great gas mileage and it was time for a change. After a bit of research on vehicles and incentives, Christina decided the Chevrolet Bolt EV was the best fit for her.

A major factor in Christina’s decision to finally make the switch to electric was the availability of several incentives for which she qualified. Christina was able to stack state incentives on top of receiving the full $4,000 rebate from VCE. Additionally, at the time of purchase, Christina took advantage of a $5,000 price reduction and in-home charger installation offered by the manufacturer. In all, Christina drove off in her new Bolt with thousands of dollars in savings!Christina shared she had great interactions with the VCE team throughout the rebate process(thanks, Christina!)and is happy to have received the rebate to help offset the cost of the vehicle. All in all, Christina loves everything about the Bolt, including the fact that she never has to visit gas stations.

If you’re a VCE customer and considering an EV purchase, check out the VCE EV rebate program to see if you’re eligible.