Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 10:39 pm | Fair 52º


Goleta Home a Beacon of Energy Efficiency

Rebecca and Bill Golgert are local pioneers in embracing whole-house energy upgrades

Walking from room to room in Rebecca and Bill Golgert’s house used to be like entering a chilly air-conditioned grocery store.

The Golgerts would set their thermostat to 78 degrees, Rebecca Golgert said, but their 4-year-old son’s room would be about 60 degrees when they would wake him up in the morning.

“It was freezing in our son’s room in the morning,” she said. “I didn’t like that he was in a room that was so cold.”

So after weighing some options, the Golgerts headed to Earth Day two years ago to learn about energy efficiency. Now, they are one of the first families in Santa Barbara County to perform a “whole house energy upgrade” and participate in the Energy Upgrade California rebate program.

“I could walk through my house and not brace myself for the chill that was going to come,” Rebecca Golgert said.

The Golgerts invited the media, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, Lucas Johnson, manager for Allen Associates’ Building Performance Specialists Division and Barriere Energy Marketing Manager Erika Weber into their house Tuesday to share the changes.

While their initial issue was keeping the bedrooms warm and the house from overheating during summer, the Golgerts decided to do a full slew of upgrades.

Allen Associates helped them retrofit the attic, including asbestos removal, air sealing and insulation. They replaced their heating system with a new furnace and duct work, swapped the hot water system with a tank-less alternative, installed a skylight and SolaTubes to incorporate natural daylight, put in LED can lights in the kitchen, and replaced the bath fans.

“If the only motivation to do this was to save money, it would’ve been hard to justify,” Bill Golgert said. “But now we’re more comfortable in our home.”

The Golgerts were able to reduce their homeowner’s insurance and utilize Energy Upgrade California rebates, which helped them do the project all at once rather than in increments, he said.

Many questions circle around the payback period, or when the energy efficiency savings offset the upgrades, but that view is too simplistic, Johnson said.

“We need to move this industry beyond the simple payback conversation because it doesn’t holistically capture all of the benefits and value,” he said. “We need to look at the total cost of ownership, deferred maintenance, their furnace and heater would’ve failed in the next five years. Those costs need to be taken into account as well.”

Energy efficiency upgrades also create local jobs and helps the United States be more self-sufficient, said Capps, who advocates more federal subsidies.

“There are new jobs in our community as a result of this new emphasis on efficient use of energy,” she said. “It saves the homeowner money, but also provides jobs in the community, aids our economy, helps our energy needs and gets us off foreign sources, it’s a real win-win.”

The improvement to the Golgerts’ home drastically increased indoor air quality by eliminating asbestos and carbon monoxide sources, boosted fixture durability, reduced natural gas usage by 50 percent, lowered energy consumption and cut down carbon impact, Johnson said.

“They were the first full-house upgrade client that we’re aware of in Santa Barbara County, and the first Energy Upgrade California rebate program client in the county, so you are definitely taking leadership here,” he said. “This house now represents absolute best practices while still using some natural gas.”

While the Golgerts’ home was built in 1962, it’s one of the most technologically advanced on the block.

“We’re more comfortable in the meantime,” Bill Golgert said, “and we’re spending less money on fuel to be more comfortable.”

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Dianne and Brianna Johnson
Dianne and Brianna Johnson
"We are committed to making our clients feel special by providing the concierge level service they deserve."

Full Profile >