Energy Watch Partnership

Brian Crawford, Community Development Agency
View a Printer Friendly Version of This Page
Marin Energy Watch Logo

The Marin Energy Watch Partnership provides resources and incentive funds to help residents, businesses and public agencies become more energy efficient. The Partnership is funded by California utility ratepayers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

Public Agencies, businesses of all sizes, and residential properties located in Marin County that are currently Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) or Marin Clean Energy customers can participate in the program.

What's New


Public Agencies

Since 2004, the Marin Energy Management Team (MarinEMT) has been providing free energy management services to Marin's public agencies including local governments, schools, and special districts.

Acting as your Energy Manager

The MarinEMT was conceived in the idea that energy management services could be more cost effectively provided to small public sector institutions if their needs could be served in aggregate, as a collaboration. MarinEMT staff act as energy management for local governments and school districts in Marin County. The team acts as an extension of public agency staff, helping to reduce and manage energy use, improve the comfort and productivity of staff and students and save scarce dollars. We sit on the agency’s side of the table, helping them to understand how much energy their facilities use, to evaluate how they can be more efficient and to finance and implement energy-efficiency projects. We also help staff find products, contractors, engineering and other public or utility-sponsored programs.

For additional information contact Dana Armanino, MarinEMT coordinator, via email or phone (415) 473-3292.


Community Energy Services Corporation/SmartLights Logo

Smart Lights is specially designed to help small businesses upgrade their buildings to be more energy-efficient. The program offers no-cost start-to-finish technical assistance and cash rebates to help defray the cost of installing energy-efficient lighting, limited refrigeration products and HVAC measures. There is also financing available if needed.

Call (510) 981-7750 or visit the for more information to request a no-cost, no-obligation energy evaluation.

Why Energy-Efficiency?

  • Lighting can constitute as much as 50% of your energy bill. Energy-efficient lighting can be a good way to reduce energy costs.*
  • Door closers and refrigeration controls are low-cost improvements that reduce refrigeration energy costs
  • Packaging multiple energy efficiency improvements can provide deep energy savings cost effectively  

Who's eligible for the program?

  • Marin small businesses.
  • Small institutions in Marin.
  • Common areas of multifamily buildings (5 or more units).
  • Both MCE and Pacific Gas and Electric customers

What does Smart Lights give me?

  • No-cost no-obligation lighting evaluation
  • Typical financial incentives range from 25%-75% of total project costs depending on measures implemented.
  • Negotiated discounts with qualified installation contractors.
  • Rebates paid directly to contractor to help defray your out-of-pocket costs.
  • No-cost start-to-finish project management.

Financing Options

Businesses now have access to several financing tools to help them complete their energy efficiency projects:

  • MCE Green Business Loan Program is an on-bill-repayment financing program that eliminates the up-front costs of energy efficiency upgrades. The loan is financed through River City Bank and is repaid directly on your monthly PG&E bill. Visit for more information or contact MCE directly by phone at (415) 464-6033 or by email.
  • PG&E is offering 0% interest loans for qualifying energy efficiency projects. Loan terms and monthly payment amounts are determined based on your estimated monthly savings from the new products. Business customers may qualify for loans between $5,000 and $100,000, with loan periods of up to five years. Click here for more information.
  • Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) - Property owners can secure upfront funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects which they repay through an up to 20-year special line item on their property taxes - instead of traditional consumer credit. Currently, the program is open to property owners in the unincorporated portions of the county and properties located in Corte Madera, Fairfax, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael and Tiburon. You can learn more, check your eligibility and find a participating contractor at

The First Step

The first step is a no-cost, no-obligation evaluation of your existing building. Call Smart Lights at 510-981-7750 or visit Smartlights for more information.

* These energy saving estimates are based on typical small businesses in MCE and PG&E’s service territory. Actual savings will vary, including but not limited to the actual equipment installed, building construction, customer operation, age of existing equipment, and location.


California Youth Energy Services (CYES)

California Youth Energy Services logo

CYES is a program of Rising Sun Energy Center, a green workforce development non-profit organization that has provided residential efficiency services in the Bay Area since 2000. For seven weeks each summer, Rising Sun hires young adults ages 15 to 22, and trains them to serve communities across the Bay Area with no-cost Green House Calls.

At each Green House Call, they check the home for efficiency, install energy and water-saving equipment, and provide personalized recommendations for further savings. CYES Energy Specialists may install equipment like energy-efficient lighting, high-efficiency aerators for bath and kitchen, showerheads, clotheslines, powerstrips, and more – all at no cost to the resident.

Any PG&E or MCE Clean Energy customer in Marin County. Renters and owners, of all income levels, are eligible.

Click here to schedule a NO COST Green House Call or call (510) 665-1501 ext. 5. For more information, please view our Green House Call video.

Additional Resources for Residents

Energy Upgrade California logo 

Energy Upgrade California - a new whole-house energy efficiency program available to property owners in Marin County.

 Marin Clean Energy Logo

To help you determine what energy improvements can be made on your home and what the cost savings of implementing these measures could be, MCE Clean Energy has created a simple online tool to help you evaluate your options and maximize your investment. The tool will help you develop an energy action plan customized to your needs. Once you’re ready to go forward with your energy upgrade plan, the online tool can link you to qualified contractors and rebates and incentives.

Resilient Neighborhoods Logo 

Resilient Neighborhoods has helped 550 Marin residents save money, make their families safer, and reduce over 2.6 million pounds of carbon emissions. The program is fun and effective because it's done with a team of households. Each household goes on a low-carbon diet to reduce 5,000 lbs. in 10 weeks. At five facilitated meetings, team embers learn about actions they can take like simple ways to trim energy and waste, conserve water, drive ecologically, and prepare their homes and neighborhoods for emergencies. The program works well even for people who have already done a lot. You can sign up for a team or get more information on the website, or contact them directly at

Pacific Gas and Electric Logo 

PG&E's Home Money Saver program offers rebates to home owners who install energy efficient items.

Success Stories

Greening the County Fairgrounds

In 2010, all of the lighting fixtures were replaced with energy-efficient bulbs and fixtures in the Marin Veteran's Memorial Auditorium. Thanks to support from the CA Energy Commission, the 39-year old HVAC was replaced with a modern, energy-efficient unit. Together, these improvements result in an estimated annual savings of 160,700 kWh and cost savings of $20,000 annually.

All of the lighting fixtures in the Exhibit Hall and Meeting Rooms were replaced with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs. This lighting retrofit creates savings of nearly $20,000 per year, while improving lighting levels and quality. The 35-year old HVAC units in the Exhibit Hall were replaced with five new energy-efficient units, resulting in cost savings of about $28,500 per year, while improving comfort and reliability; and energy-efficient LED lighting was also installed on the marquee reader board on Highway 101.

Mill Valley Middle School Lighting Retrofit

Mill Valley Middle School Lighting before retrofit.
Before Lighting Retrofit

Mill Valley Middle School Lighting after retrofit.
After Lighting Retrofit

From a City of Mill Valley press release (8/11/10)...Students and teachers returning to school this fall at the Mill Valley Middle School will be learning and teaching in classrooms with new, energy efficient lighting. The lighting in all classrooms- about 1300 lamps-was replaced with energy efficient lights. The retrofit is estimated to reduce energy use by 125,000 kWh annually, which will save the school district about $18,750 each year.

"The quality of the light from the new lamps is amazing. And we have achieved this improvement to our learning environment while reducing our energy use and saving money," said Tim Ryan, director of maintenance and operations for the Mill Valley School District.

Several school officials echoed Ryan's appreciation for the quality of the lighting and the improvement of the learning environment, including Matt Huxley, Principal of the Mill Valley Middle School who said, "If you could see the difference in the before and after, you would be amazed. This will be a wonderful enhancement to the learning environment."

Anna Lazzarini, Assistant Principal noted that, "The whole inside of the building looks like it has been renovated- that's how dramatic the difference is between the old and new lights!"

The lighting upgrade was made possible by an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant to the City of Mill Valley from the California Energy Commission. "We are pleased to have been able to secure the funds for this retrofit.," said Carol Misseldine, Mill Valley's Sustainability Director. "Reduced energy use translates into reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and we're hoping the School District's success will inspire others to install energy efficient lighting."

Numerous local, state and federal agencies were involved in the project including the City of Mill Valley, the Mill Valley School District, the Marin Energy Watch Partnership (a program of the County of Marin and PG&E), the California Energy Commission, the Department of Energy, and HMW International.

"This is a great example of inter-agency cooperation, and we are grateful to all the individuals and agencies that facilitated this cost effective and educationally sound project," said Ken Benny, Superintendent of the Mill Valley School District.

Students Offer Free Energy Audits

Student checking a lamp for an energy efficient bulb.

From the Marin Independent Journal - 8/1/2008: Students offer free energy audits to Marin homeowners... Marin residents are being invited to go green without spending any green.

The California Youth Energy Services program, put on by the Berkeley-based nonprofit Rising Sun Energy Center, is offering free summer home energy audits to Marin residents.

The program, featured professionally trained youth energy specialists, often from impoverished communities, who visit homes, install energy-saving equipment, provide energy efficiency tips and give out free compact fluorescent light bulbs, showerheads and clothes lines. By the end of the program, organizers estimate they will have visited about 450 Marin homes.

"It's a free service to the community," said Alex Cotton, outreach manager. "We're training young people Energy audit of a home in San Rafael and getting them on a green career path. The future of the economy is green."

On Friday, San Rafael homeowner Patricia Lord had her incandescent light bulbs changed out, water pressure assessed, faucet aerators replaced and other home features evaluated.

"Anything you can do to cut down on extra waste is good," said the 68-year-old retired nurse, who has lived in her Sun Valley home since 1976.

The students, who moved from room to room evaluating fixtures and performing change-outs, said it was a great way to spend the summer.

"I like doing what I do, educating the public about being green," said San Francisco State University student Cynthia Beltran of Novato, who audited Lord's home on Friday.

Her partner, Harry Regan, a San Marin High School graduate who will be attending the University of California at Santa Cruz in the fall, said he felt like he was giving back.

"I just actually feel like I was doing something with my summer - helping the environment, saving energy, doing a good thing," he said.

The California Youth Energy Services program runs through Friday, Aug. 8. Marin residents can schedule a free appointment by calling 510-665-1501.

This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by PG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. "PG&E" refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation. © 2013 Pacific Gas and Electric Company. All rights reserved.

Additional Energy Efficiency Opportunities and Incentives

Energy Upgrade California logo

Energy Upgrade California - a new energy efficiency program available to property owners in Marin County.

North Marin Water District Logo

North Marin Water District offers Water Smart Home Surveys and Rebates for its customers. Visit: for more information.

Marin Municipal Water District Logo 

Marin Municipal Water District offers Water Smart Home Surveys and Rebates for its customers. Visit: for more information.


Pacific Gas and Electric Company Logo

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) - PG&E's Home Money Saver program offers rebates to home owners who install energy efficient items.

Disclaimer: Funding is limited. Services and incentives are provided on a 1st-come, 1st-served basis and only while funding lasts. CA consumers are not obligated to purchase any full-fee service or other service not funded by this program. This program is funded by CA ratepayers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. “PG&E” refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation. © 2013 Pacific Gas and Electric Company. All rights reserved.