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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.

I spy wasted energy

Posted in Appliances, Construction, Electronics, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting, Recycling on May 28th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintHome energy audits can help detect air leaks and other issues

If you don’t like people nosing around your house, don’t invite Greg Jourdan in. He opens closet doors, lets the water run in the bathroom sink, feels around your windows, switches lights on and off and even points a gun, albeit an energy-friendly “thermal gun.”

Photo of home energy audit - Greg Jourdan and John Eder

Greg Jourdan shows homeowner John Eder how a thermal imaging camera finds cold spots in his home.

It’s all for a good cause. Greg Jourdan, an energy consultant and Wenatchee Valley College instructor, navigates through local homes upon request to sleuth out wasted energy. He starts by using diagnostic equipment, including a gun-shaped thermal imaging camera, to identify places where energy is being lost. He supplements his investigation with a big blower fan that he sets up in an exterior entry door to create a large negative air vacuum in the home, to find the air leaks. Then he does a complete walk-through, looking at a home’s insulation, windows, ductwork, heating and cooling, lighting, electronics and appliances. To finish, he issues a report that includes recommendations on how homeowners can make improvements.

John and Linda Eder welcomed Jourdan into their home earlier this month. The Sunnyslope couple won Chelan PUD’s drawing for a free home energy audit at the KPQ Home and Garden Show this spring.

Although it’s 26 years old, their home rated high on Jourdan’s scale of efficiency. The Eders have upgraded to vinyl-framed windows and have adequate insulation. They’ve replaced the incandescent bulbs in their recessed fixtures with LEDs, taking advantage of Chelan PUD’s rebates. They use a heat pump for heating and cooling, and just had it serviced.

Photo of Greg Jourdan with blower door

This fabric door and fan create negative pressure in the house to help measure air leaks.

The Eders use more electricity than might be expected because they heat and cool John’s workshop, bringing their total conditioned space to 3,600 square foot. But on a watts-per-square-foot basis, their energy use is relatively low.

Jourdan did make some general recommendations which apply to most homes, including:

• Set the thermostat  for cooling as high as possible while maintaining reasonable comfort levels while home. Set it to 84 degrees when away from home, or install a programmable thermostat to do that automatically.

• Conversely, place thermostat settings for heating as low as possible while maintaining reasonable comfort levels. Set it to 60 degrees when away, or install a programmable thermostat. (Note: If you have a heat pump, make sure you install a “smart” thermostat that will warm the house back up gradually and minimize the use of inefficient strip heat.)

• Replace air filters every two to three months or as needed to keep the indoor unit coil clean.

• Reduce the temperature setting on the water heater to 120 degrees or less.

• Install low-flow showerheads in bathrooms.

• Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.

• Minimize use of spare refrigerators and freezers. If not needed, consider recycling through Chelan PUD’s free recycling and rebate program.

You can perform your own energy audit by following this checklist. Learn about professional home energy audits here. Jourdan can be reached at gjourdan@msn.com.

Sprucing up this spring? Think rebates

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting, Recycling on April 16th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintWindows, doors, ductless heat pumps, water heaters, appliances… Don’t buy any of these this spring until you’ve checked out our rebates.

Chelan County PUD has expanded its energy-efficiency programs and now has rebates on:

  • Super-efficient windows (U factor of .22 or lower; usually triple-pane) – $8 per square foot
  • Insulated exterior doors – $40
  • Energy-efficient manufactured homes – $850 (call 509- 661-8008 for info)

    Photo of ad featuring a chicken crossing the road.

    Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Chelan PUD’s energy-saving rebates!

Rebates on ENERGY STAR appliances continue in these amounts:

And don’t forget:

Check out the details for each program using the links above. Or call us at (509) 661-8008.

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, cambrian-design.com. 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.