Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning


City and Regional Planning


College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Michael Boswell

Advisor College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


This professional project estimates the upfront costs and utility savings expected from greening an approximately 1,100 square foot home built in the 1950s in the San Francisco Bay Area. Two sets of upgrades (alternative and original) were compared for costs and benefits. The alternative set (which included ceiling insulation and omitted upgrading to dual-pane windows) clearly out performed the original set. The alternative set would be expected to reduce resident utility bills by 28% annually, and to prevent approximately 2,700 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions annually. The water efficiency upgrades were the best performing group of upgrades, as they had the lowest upfront cost and shortest payback period. (These water efficiency upgrades consisted of modifying toilets, faucets, and showerhead, as well as upgrading the dishwasher and clothes washer to efficient models.) Future very low-budget greening programs, in nearly all cases, should include a full-set of water fixture modifications, weatherstripping, and clotheslines. As budgets allow, other upgrades from alternative upgrades list are recommended, such as ceiling fans, programmable thermostats, and ceiling insulation. Whenever possible, workforce development labor should be used to simultaneously reduce labor costs and multiply the social benefit of each project dollar by providing entry-level green collar jobs.