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It takes you to Tango

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting, Uncategorized on April 30th, 2013 by Susan – Comments Off

photo of Tango CardHave you heard about the new Tango Card? Using a Tango Card good at 17 major retailers is one option for customers receiving appliance rebates from Chelan County PUD.

The PUD is offering rebates for energy-efficiency upgrades on several products for your home:

  • LED downlight retrofit kits, $25
  • Electric storage water heaters, $25-$125
  • Clothes washers, $30-$75
  • Refrigerators and freezers, $50
  • Line voltage zoned thermostats, $115
  • Heat pump water heaters, $300-$500

If you choose the new Tango Card, you can redeem it immediately for your choice of gift cards at 17 premier retailers such as Amazon, Starbucks and Home Depot. Or you can donate your rebate to your choice of eight charities such as Habitat for Humanity. You can also elect to get a good old-fashioned check, with a quick turn-around of 7 to 10 business days.

All ENERGY STAR refrigerators, freezers and clothes washers are eligible for rebates. Amounts vary because they’re based on the energy-efficiency of the model selected.

Find complete information on the program here.

Come see us at the home, sweet home show

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting, Uncategorized on March 5th, 2013 by Susan – Comments Off

Photo of PUD show boothGadgets, gizmos and lots of good stuff for your home and garden await you at the KPQ Home and Garden Show, March 8-10 at the Town Toyota Center.

Chelan PUD staff will be on hand with information on new programs including appliance rebates, refrigerator recycling and duct testing and sealing for manufactured homes. Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter and receive your choice of an LED night light or a compact fluorescent light bulb. Interested in paperless billing? We can help with that, too.

More than 150 exhibitors will set up displays inside and outside the center.  Learn the latest in home construction, decor and — of course — energy savings and green living.

WSU Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions, share about the Xeriscape and Community Education gardens, and diagnose problems you may be having in your backyard. Need a pair of gloves or a Day by Day Resource Guide on what to do in your garden when? You can get both at this year’s show. A schedule of seminars and workshops is available here.

Show hours are Friday, March 8, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 9, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, March 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

See you there!

This WestSide story has a happy ending

Posted in Construction, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting, Uncategorized on January 23rd, 2013 by Susan – Comments Off

No Sharks, no Jets — just super-cool systems for saving energy in new high school building

Students moving across Ninth Street to a remodeled WestSide High School this fall will be treated to state-of-the-art concepts in lighting and energy efficiency not available at any other buildings in the Wenatchee School District.

It’s a little gift to students and staff at the alternative school. They’ll enjoy the very best after being housed in what has been the worst of student facilities in the district.

Photo of WestSide High building before construction

It's not much to look at yet, but a remodeled WestSide High School will feature open rooms, skylights, LED lighting on daylight sensors and other energy-efficient equipment. The recessed area in the concrete floor used to hold the Eagles Lodge dance floor.

A swap with Wenatchee Valley College provided the 18,000-square-foot building, which is the former Eagles Lodge. The school district’s WestSide property – originally built 50 years ago as dormitories for the college – is now in WVC’s hands.

The school district is using reserves of more than $4 million to fund the move: $1 million for the property exchange (the Eagles building had higher value in the swap) and $3 million to remodel it into the new WestSide High School. An $810,000 state grant is paying for energy measures that will make the high school super-efficient.

The building has been gutted in preparation for construction work that will begin in mid-February. But Bryan Visscher, director of Facilities and Risk Management, has no trouble picturing what’s to come.

“Architects developed an open concept for common areas,” he said, pointing to the high ceiling. The building will feature “team rooms,” he said, gesturing toward the center of the vast open building, which will use movable, convertible walls as space for working on team projects. Classrooms, offices and counseling rooms will dot the perimeter. Students will get a real kitchen for the first time, along with a classroom kitchen for instruction in cooking and life skills. The new WestSide also will include art rooms and a resource center with computers and electronic library.

The entire building will be outfitted with light-emitting diode (LED) lighting on daylight sensors. As daylight increases, lights dim. As sunlight wanes, lights grow brighter.

The building will get plenty of natural light, Visscher said, through new windows and skylights.

Other energy benefits include an advanced, low-maintenance, highly efficient VRF (variable refrigerant flow) system for heating and cooling. In addition to offering superior comfort and efficiency, the system can take excess heat not being used in the building and heat domestic water, Visscher said

“We’ve taken an already cool design and just put it over the top,” Visscher said.

He’s planning an energy dashboard near the main entrance to display energy savings to visitors.

On a scale of 1 to 100 used by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager program, the old building scored a 6, Visscher said. He’s hoping to take that to a 75 or higher, which would give the school district one more Energy Star award to add to its collection of six awards received under Visscher’s supervision. The awards recognize outstanding improvements in the energy efficiency of schools, churches, hospitals and other public and commercial buildings.

WestSide Principal Kory Kalahar said a new school has been planned for many years. Forte Architects visited with WestSide staff several times, he said, to get ideas and feedback. “They really wanted the new building to help students maintain the atmosphere and culture they’re used to,” Kalahar said, noting that WestSide does not use bells or lights to let students know when periods end and begin. “It’s a more relaxed atmosphere. We have standards, and they’re high standards, but the atmosphere is different” than a traditional high school.

Staff should be able to move into the remodeled building in mid-August, with students following on Sept. 1.

Get started on your energy diet

Posted in Energy conservation, Lighting, Uncategorized on January 12th, 2013 by Susan – Comments Off

Thinking about going on an energy diet in 2013? Here are some links and tips to help you get on the road to reducing your energy use.

Photo of CFLs vs. Incandescents

One easy energy-saving step is to replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs. If you're willing to spend a little more, consider LED lighting.

Switch to CFLs: In the average U.S. home, lighting accounts for about 20 percent of the electric bill. The easiest way to start saving energy is to change your light bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Visit chelanpud.org to learn about lighting, calculate how much you could save by switching to CFLs, and find local stores that offer discounted pricing on CFLs and low-flow showerheads.

For super energy savings — but at a higher retail cost — you may want to look into LED lighting.

Add insulation and/or upgrade windows: Chelan PUD has extended its double rebate offer through 2013. Receive a rebate of 50 cents per square foot for added insulation and $6 per square foot for installing energy-efficient windows. Learn the details here.

Seal air leaks: Stopping leaks through a home’s outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors and floors can greatly improve energy efficiency and comfort. This is a relatively inexpensive step that can reap big benefits in comfort. Find help shopping for products and video demonstrations in our how-to guide.

Visit the House of Savings to view energy-saving opportunities in a typical home. See what PUD customers did in their homes to reap average savings of 19 percent in our  Reduce Your Use contest.

To pinpoint potential savings in your own home, take an online energy assessment.

Good luck!

Thanks for the (holiday) memories

Posted in Energy conservation, Lighting, Uncategorized on January 9th, 2013 by Susan – Comments Off

Customers share energy-saving tips and holiday recollections

Last month Chelan County PUD sponsored a drawing on its website for energy-efficient holiday LED lights, asking customers to share their best tips. We got plenty of good ideas and some warm Christmas memories. Here’s what some of our friends and neighbors said.

Photo of wreath

Homes decorated simply with greenery "shine" during the day if not at night, one customer suggests

Sandra T. - Just say NO to leaving the lights on when you are not using them, and always use energy-efficient bulbs. Do not leave the TV on when not watching it.

Dean P. - Don’t put lights on your Christmas tree. Save electricity.

Mike O. - Never leave a portable heater plugged in overnight.

Jennifer T. - To save water: replace your old toilets with water saving ones, replace your lawn with eco-lawn, and repair leaks around faucets right away.

Laurie R. –  Shovel snow by hand rather than using a snowblower and you save gas and get fit at the same time.

Elsa M. – In order to save electricity on the outside of our house, I just decorate with a green wreath on the entrance door. It is simple. I know our house does not shine at night but during the day it looks very nice.

Greg M. - Turn off your outside Christmas lights before going to bed. This will save electricity and also may prevent a fire hazard as you are sleeping.

Dorothy J. - Out Christmas shopping or partying for an extended period? Turn your thermostat down before you leave.

Chris S. (the drawing winner) –  Safely put up the lights and enjoy. They don’t have to be perfect.

Kirk E. – The best thing I ever did was to buy a timer for my outside Christmas lights — once I set it to turn on/off, I don’t have to worry about remembering to do that in the evening when I’m tired and often forget about it.

Betty R. – Some of my most favorite holiday memories are of taking holiday light-seeing excursions, with friends and family,with a nice hot drink, and Christmas music playing. That, to me, is what makes the holiday special

Our personal favorite:
Al H. – Growing up, we had a foil-covered cardboard star for the top of the Christmas tree. Over the years the foil had become quite shabby, so one year my father bought a fancy angel for the tree top. My sister and I didn’t like it because it wasn’t a star, so my mother re-covered the star with aluminum cooking foil. At age 70, I still have that star, which my wife and I use every Christmas.

Thank you to our contest participants. Keep those tips coming in!