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Heating and cooling

Hooray for the heat pump

Posted in Energy conservation, Heating and cooling on March 11th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintCustomers who have been waiting to move up to a heat pump or upgrade their existing units won’t have to wait much longer. Chelan County PUD is working out the final details of a new program to provide rebates from $500 to $1,400 on energy-efficient air-source heat pumps for single-family homes.

Photo of heat pump

Rebates will be available to customers who upgrade to high-efficiency heat pumps. (Photo from Lennox website)

The heat pumps are among several new rebate programs to be unveiled later this spring including:

  • Super-efficient windows with a U-factor of .22 or lower – $8 per square foot
  • ENERGY STAR exterior doors – $40 per door
  • Super-efficient manufactured homes – $1,000
  • Surge suppressors for electronics – $12

For air-source heat pump/variable speed heat pump upgrades, the unit will need to be rated as having a minimum of 9.0 Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) and 14 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). Heat pump upgrades will include upgrading an older heat pump that has gas back-up, replacing an existing heat pump, replacing the heat pump portion of a ground source heat pump system, or upgrading from zonal to air-source heat pump.

For conversions of electric forced- air furnaces to air-source and variable speed heat pumps, the heat pump again must have a minimum 9.0 HSPF and 14 SEER. The installation must convert an electric forced-air furnace to a high-efficiency heat pump.

To get a jump-start, look for eligible heat pumps on the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute’s website and/or the ENERGY STAR website for Air Source Heat Pumps.

Stay tuned for a formal program announcement within the next few weeks.

Win a free energy audit of your home

Posted in Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting on March 5th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintEnter a drawing to win a free, expert evaluation of potential energy savings in your home at the KPQ Home and Garden Show March 14-16 at Town Toyota Center.

Chelan PUD is hosting a booth at the show to spread the word about how to save on electric bills. The PUD is introducing new incentives for homeowners including rebates on air-source heat pumps, electronics’ surge suppressors, super-efficient windows, exterior doors and energy-efficient manufactured homes. For businesses, new programs include rebates on heat pump water heaters, commercial clothes washers, commecial dishwashers and ductless heat pumps.

Photo of older home

An energy audit identifies trouble spots where a home may be wasting energy.

One lucky winner will receive a free energy audit from Greg Jourdan of Jourdan HVAC/R Consulting, Wenatchee. Jourdan will check insulation, inspect the furnace and ductwork, and use diagnostic equipment and a thermal imaging camera to pinpoint trouble spots. Following the evaluation, Jourdan will suggest measures the homeowner can take to upgrade energy-efficiency, saving money on electric bills and improving home comfort.

The energy audit is valued at $300. You must be a Chelan County resident to enter the drawing.

Chelan PUD is among more than 150 exhibitors who will set up displays inside and outside the center. Learn the latest in home construction, landscaping, decor and green living.

Show hours are Friday, March 14, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 15, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, March 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

No furnace? This home won’t need one

Posted in Appliances, Construction, Energy conservation, Environment, Heating and cooling, Sustainability on March 5th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintSeattle architect Brett Holverstott is putting the finishing touches on the design of a passive house to be built on the shores of Lake Chelan this year.

The home will be located on the north shore of the lake and will face south, which Holverstott says helps make its an ideal candidate for passive design. A passive house incorporates super-insulated floors, walls, and roof; air-tight enclosure; high performance windows primarily oriented to the south; and a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) which uses the outgoing air to precondition the incoming air.

Sketch of passive-design home

The architect’s sketch of the sustainable, passive house to be built on the north shore of Lake Chelan this summer.

“The combination of these devices, effectively used, produces a house that requires no furnace and almost no ductwork, has fantastic indoor air quality, no annoying drafts, and can be heated with a light bulb,” Holverstott states on his website, A passive home can consume 85 percent less heating/cooling energy than a typical home.

Construction is scheduled to start in late May or June. Brothers Mike and Mark Schramm of Green Gables Construction, Chelan, are the builders.

The home will be 1,150 square feet. The basement/foundation will be buried in the earth. The home will feature a large shed roof that lifts toward the lake view. An entry court between the house and garage will serve as a view deck, providing “a moment of pause” before entering the home, Holverstott said.

The exterior walls will be a foot thick and of double-wall construction, with a 2′ x 6′ wall with structural plywood sheathing on the exterior side, and a 2′ x 4′ wall with the drywall on the interior side. “The resulting cavity can hold a lot of insulation,” Holverstott noted.

Some of the decisions about building materials are still being made, but Holverstott said he would like to use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified lumber and plywood. The insulation in the walls will be densely packed cellulose, a byproduct of newsprint, which contributes to air-tightness. The insulation in the roof cavity will be blown-in fiberglass, because of its lighter weight.

The home is the retirement dream of  Rick and Jacque Hyler of Renton. Rick just retired from Boeing and Jacque is a part-time tutor. It will be their permanent home, not a second home, Holverstott said.

He said the home will be a demonstration of affordable green design.

“The cost of the design is targeting $200,000 including all ‘soft costs’ such as utility hook-up fees, permit fees and architect fees,” he said. “This is a difficult target to reach in today’s dollars, and we have had to reduce the square footage of the house from 1,500 to 1,150.

“The super-insulation and air-tightness of the house are not significant up-charges, on the order of less than 10 percent. But passive-house grade windows are easily two to three times the cost of traditional windows. We have done a lot of research to find the best deal on these windows, which are provided by local and international manufacturers. High ceilings also add to the construction complexity and cost.”

The owners have opted to save some money by bargain hunting and installing interior finishes themselves. But they’re committed to acquiring top-of-the-line energy efficient appliances to contribute to energy savings. They’ll take advantage of Chelan PUD rebates where possible. 

Holverstott established Cambrian Design last year after working on science laboratories, commercial interiors, single and multi-family housing and even a jazz venue. This is his first independent venture.

You can learn more about this project on the Cambrian Design blog.

What’s not to like about free?

Posted in Energy conservation, Heating and cooling on March 3rd, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintCommunity Action agency continues to offer free weatherization services for eligible families

The Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council wants to remind residents that it’s open for business, providing free insulation and sealing against drafts for eligible households. 

Joanne Knouf, program coordinator, said her agency can improve the comfort of homes by installing energy efficient measures such as attic, wall, floor, water-pipe and duct insulation. Some  heating system and ventilation improvements also are available.

Community Action logo“The weatherization program is primarily a low-income assistance program,” said Knouf. “We help people improve their quality of life by giving them a more healthful home environment, educating them on safety and health concerns, and showing them how they can get more for their energy dollar.”

Services include:

  • Sealing cracks, gaps and holes around doors, windows, pipes and wiring that penetrate the ceiling, floor, and other areas with high potential for heat loss.
  • Sealing furnace ducts, which can account for 20 percent of heat loss.
  • Installing or replacing dryer vents, which can allow moisture and air into the home if not vented properly.
  • Providing proper ventilation to the home to prevent moisture buildup.
  • Installing insulation in walls, floors and ceilings, around ducts, pipes and water heaters, and near the foundation and sill.

To be eligible, customers must live in Chelan or Douglas county in either single- or multi-family homes. Incomes must be at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The program is open to homeowners and to renters with landlord permission.

Both Chelan and Douglas PUDs provide funding for this program. The agency also receives state and federal funding.

To apply for weatherization services, call (509) 662-6156.

Energy savings are adding up

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting on February 3rd, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintCustomers taking advantage of energy-efficiency programs saved 20,761,200 kilowatt hours of energy last year – enough to power about 1,000 homes in Chelan County. 

The savings helped Chelan County PUD surpass its 2013 conservation goal by about 40 percent.

Photo of Sav-Mart

Appliance rebates continue through 2014. (Thank you, Sav-Mart, for supporting our program.)

Some 1,890 homeowners took advantage of programs to save energy and money including rebates on appliances, windows, insulation and ductless heat pumps; duct sealing for manufactured homes; and refrigerator/freezer recycling. Thirty-five businesses installed energy-efficiency improvements with help from the PUD. And 94 low-income households received weatherization help using PUD funding through the Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council. 

Saving energy is a winning proposition for everyone. Customers save money with lower electric bills, reduce energy waste and in many cases, improve the comfort of their homes. When customers save energy, more power is available to sell at wholesale rates on the open market; those revenues help keep local retail rates low. Customers also help the PUD meet state-mandated targets under the Energy Independence Act

Surveys of customers who participated in programs last year showed high satisfaction with their products and PUD customer service. There’s still time to participate this year as all programs are continuing. Check them out here.