A BayREN Labor of Love: 1940s Home Gets Energy Efficient Upgrade


As real estate agents often say, every house has a story to tell. In a quiet community-driven neighborhood in Oakland, there's a 1940s home that has been given a new lease on life.

When Emily Alvarez, BayREN(link is external)’s Green Labeling Program lead, and her husband chose to buy their fixer upper in 2016, they knew that it would be an opportunity to create a home that is comfortable and cozy. Seven years later, she is now showcasing it as a green home to a group of real estate agents as part of their training.  

Before embarking on any upgrades, Alvarez sought to understand the energy efficiency landscape of her home. She obtained a BayREN Home Energy Score(link is external) (and an associated rebate), which rates a home's energy efficiency on a scale of 1 to 10. In 2019, their home scored a five. 

Acting on the recommendations, Alvarez  and her husband made a series of changes that ultimately boosted the score to a perfect 10 in 2023. 

Read more about how they did it(link is external).

BayREN is a coalition of the Bay Area’s nine counties — a network of local governments partnering to promote resource efficiency at the regional level, focusing on energy, water and greenhouse gas reduction. BayREN has helped mitigate 156 tons of carbon, upgraded 60,695 housing units and provided $55.4 million in incentives to make help make the region more environmentally friendly.