The Windsor Efficiency PAYS® program received national recognition in January for modeling an exceptional efficiency program that saves both energy and water.

The ‘Program of Promise’ award came from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Alliance for Water Efficiency. The two organizations collaborated to recognize a total of 12 top programs across the US, Canada and Australia including five exemplary award winners and seven honorable mentions. Windsor Efficiency PAYS® was one of the seven honorable mentions, as was the City of Santa Rosa for its ozone laundry program.

Windsor Efficiency PAYS® offers water and energy upgrades to Windsor homeowners and renters without upfront costs. The PAYS® program works because it allows participants to ‘Pay As You Save,’® with no loan and no debt associated with repayment for select upgrades. Possible upgrade measures include high efficiency clothes washers, refrigerators, toilets, hot-water recirculation pumps, showerheads, and drought-resistant landscaping. After installation, participants pay a surcharge on their water bill with the assurance that their estimated savings on combined utility bills (energy and water) will exceed the bi-monthly water surcharge.

Windsor Efficiency PAYS® is mainly focused on single-family home owners. However, renters may also participate, one of the unique aspects of the program. In the first few months of the program, 219 multi-family units installed efficiency upgrades, quickly exceeding the program’s goal of 200 multi-family units.  The number is expected to exceed 300 units in the next few months. This kind of success is uncommon for efficiency programs across the US.

Interested Windsor residents are encouraged to contact a Windsor Efficiency PAYS® Certification Agent at the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program at (707) 565-6472 or to visit the program web site at

The Windsor Efficiency PAYS® program is a joint effort of the Town of Windsor, Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Program partners include: Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP), Climate Protection Campaign, Bottom Line Utility Solutions, Water Management, Inc., Sonoma Mountain Landscape, Niagara Conservation, Standards of Excellence, and Chilipepper Sales.

Using water bills to implement PAYS® was an idea originated by Climate Protection Campaign technical consultant Ned Orrett while working on Sonoma County’s Community Climate Action Plan in 2007. PAYS® is one of three powerful financing tools on which Sonoma County is focusing. SCEIP and Sonoma Clean Power are the other two. More information about this is available at


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