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Energy conservation

Evaluating the benefits of smart-grid technology for business

Posted in Energy conservation on August 20th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

Smart metering network graphic

A study in 2015 will help determine whether smart-grid technology would benefit Chelan County PUD business customers by providing tools to manage and monitor power use and conserve.

Lightly logoThe analysis will focus on the PUD’s “Top 500” industrial and commercial customers, many of whom have asked for these advanced services.

John Stoll, Customer Utilities managing director, said the PUD has built a solid foundation of software, systems and automated equipment over two decades to support a smart grid and the benefits that the technology can offer.

“Our plan is to take prudent, pragmatic steps toward smart grid technology and to adding programs that make the most of its benefits,” Stoll said. “We want to help customers with technology to use energy efficiently as well as help the District control costs.”

The plan is to use technology such as the District’s fiber network as a base for adding other systems to provide more information for decisions about reliability, power quality and customer services. The analysis planned for 2015 would include a look at updates for the District’s customer billing software and at how best to manage the increased data generated by advanced meters.

A consultant will be hired this fall to help determine requirements.

If the analysis shows customers would benefit, two-way meters would be installed in 2016 for the PUD’s “Top 500” business customers, which represent about 40 percent of the electric load.

About one third of the PUD’s residential customers have automated meters, including 2,000 just installed in Cashmere during upgrades made after the District purchased the city electric system. PUD water customers have had automated meters since 2006.

Related
Chelan PUD could make its grid smarter (Wenatchee World)

Passive-design home takes shape at Lake Chelan

Posted in Construction, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Sustainability on August 15th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

Lightly logoSeattle architect Brett Holverstott has updated his blog with photos showing the progress of the passive design house being built on Lake Chelan.

Mike Schramm of Green Gables Construction

Builder Mike Schramm takes a break during construction of the passive-design home on Lake Chelan.

The photos document some of the extra measures being taken to tightly seal the home using extra caulking, tape and dense-pack cellulose insulation. The south-facing home on the lake’s north shore will incorporate 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. The home will not need a furnace. A passive home can consume 85 percent less heating/cooling energy than a typical home.

Brothers Mike and Mark Schramm of Green Gables Construction, Chelan, are the builders. The home is owned by Rick and Jacque Hyler of Renton, who will move to it permanently after retirement.

View updates on Holverstott’s blog from July 24 and July 4. Read the original story about Holverstott and the passive design home here.

Thanks for saving energy!

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting on August 6th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

Lightly logoConservation efforts pay off for all customers

Hats off to Chelan County PUD customers, who helped the PUD reach half of a two-year conservation goal in just six months.

Andrew Grassell, Energy Development and Conservation manager, said there has been great response by customers to the rebates offered by Chelan PUD on energy efficient appliances, heat pumps, windows, insulation and LED lighting.

Photo of Kent and Annie Chalmers

Kent and Annie Chalmers of Cashmere are enjoying the benefits of adding insulation through Chelan PUD’s rebate program.

Under the state’s Energy Independence Act, the two-year target for the PUD is 2.08 average megawatts (aMW). By the end of June, the PUD had achieved 1.18 aMW – well above the 1.08 aMW target for all of 2014. The savings so far this year are enough to power about 400 Chelan County homes.

The Conservation group takes the energy-saving targets as a minimum, Grassell said, and will continue to offer programs that appeal to customers. Rebates on refrigerators, clothes washers and LED retrofit kits, along with window and insulation incentives, are the most popular.

Industrial customers also are actively participating, installing lighting, cold storage and other energy-saving upgrades with help from the PUD.

Grassell noted that savings extend beyond program participants. All customers benefit because energy that is saved is sold on the wholesale market, helping to support low, stable electric rates. The local economy is supported, too, through the purchase of products and services in our communities.

 

Hybrid water heater discounts available

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation on August 6th, 2014 by Susan – 2 Comments

PrintGE is offering discounts on its GeoSpring 50-gallon heat pump water heater which, combined with Chelan PUD’s rebate, makes the cost of these units comparable to traditional storage water heaters.

A $400 markdown at the store combined with the PUD’s $300 rebate drops the price by $700, making the final cost around $500. Promotions at individual stores may drop the price even lower. Lowes, for example, has a discount running through Sept. 7 that drops the final cost to around $299.

HPWH2Participating stores are Lowes, Sears, Ferguson and some independent retailers. The promotion runs through Dec. 3. For promotion details, visit GeoSpring.com.

Heat pump water heaters can be installed by a homeowner. Use this tip sheet for do-it-yourself installation. Or find a contractor here.

Before you buy, review these requirements:

• Type – Tier 1 units like the GeoSpring are well suited for unconditioned spaces, such as garages. Tier 2 units are well suited to colder climates and can be ducted to move cool air generated by the unit to the outside, allowing for installation in conditioned and unconditioned spaces.

• Space – Tier 1 units like the GeoSpring require at least 1,000 cubic feet of air flow around them. This is the equivalent of 10′x10′x10′ of space.

• Sound – Heat pump water heaters generate sound similar to an electric fan. If your existing hot water heater is silent, this may be bothersome at first.

• Cold air – While in operation, heat pump water heaters release cool, dry air into the surrounding space.

• Size/height – Heat pump water heaters are slightly larger than standard electric water heaters.

Learn more about heat pump water heaters at smartwaterheat.org.  Remember to apply for Chelan PUD’s rebate.

Cool savings on heat pumps

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling on June 25th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintChelan County PUD is offering rebates of $500 and $1,400 to customers who install high-efficiency air-source heat pumps.

Photo of chicken atop heat pump

Saving energy is no joke: Upgrade or convert to a high-efficiency heat pump and get a rebate of $500 or $1,400.

Customers who upgrade existing heat pumps are eligible for the $500 rebate. Heat pump upgrades include replacing an existing heat pump, replacing the heat pump portion of a ground source heat pump system, upgrading from zonal (wall and baseboard heaters) to an air-source heat pump, or adding a heat pump to a system with gas back-up.

Customers who convert from an electric forced-air furnace to a high-efficiency air-source heat pump are eligible for a $1,400 rebate.

In both cases, the new heat pumps must have a minimum 9.0 HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) and 14 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio).

HSPF is a measure of heating efficiency while SEER is a measure of cooling efficiency. In general, the higher the SEER, the higher efficiency — and cost. However, the energy savings can return the higher initial investment several times during the heat pump’s life. The most efficient heat pumps have SEERs of between 14 and 18.

Before making a purchase, ask your contractor whether the equipment you’re contemplating meets the rebate requirements. A list of licensed and bonded contractors serving Chelan County is available on the PUD website.

Eligible heat pumps can be found by searching the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute’s website and the ENERGY STAR website for Air Source Heat Pumps. Eligible heat pumps can be found by searching the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute’s website and the ENERGY STAR website for Air Source Heat Pump

Read a brief overview of the rebate program, then apply for the heat pump rebate here.

The Department of Energy offers a detailed explanation of heat pumps on its website.