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The first 50 Home Challenge — Solvang participants to complete extensive home energy-efficiency projects will be recognized by city and county officials Monday, April 23, at Solvang City Hall.

Mayor Jim Richardson and Santa Barbara County 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann will present plaques to homeowners Peter and Jutta Aichinger and Meagan and Eric Tambini recognizing their commitment to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship, a spokesman for the 50 Home Challenge said.

The presentation will take place during the City Council meeting scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.

Preceding the ceremony, community members can join a reception with light refreshments in the lobby, where they can speak with the homeowners about their experience and the positive results as well as find out how they can participate in the program, the spokesman said.

“Our house is much more livable,” Peter Aichinger said about the changes they made in home efficiency. “It just feels continually comfortable.

“When it heats, the temperature changes are smoother and more uniform. It’s not blasting on, blasting off.”

The Aichingers and Tambinis worked with an emPower energy coach to identify some common, energy-efficiency issues in their homes, including outdated heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, insufficient insulation and numerous cracks and gaps.

The emPower program connected them with qualified local contractors and available rebates that saved them thousands of dollars on their retrofits, the spokesman said.

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The 50 Home Challenge is a joint initiative of Santa Barbara County’s emPower Central Coast program and the nonprofit Community Home Energy Retrofit Project, or CHERP, to engage an entire community and retrofit 50 single-family homes to make them more energy-efficient.

The emPower program was established by the county to offer incentives, financing and free technical advice to make home energy upgrades easier and more affordable for single-family homeowners.

For more information or to schedule a home consultation with an emPower energy coach, visit

This report was compiled by News Editor Mike Hodgson. He can be reached at