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Old technology can be draining

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation on October 7th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

Photo of heat pump water heater garage installationDiscounts make new heat pump water heater technology affordable

If you’re feeling a little drained by an old inefficient water heater, check out the new technology of a heat pump water heater. By upgrading to a super-efficient heat pump water heater, you can reduce your electric water heating costs by up to 50 percent and save every month.

Upgrade by December 3, 2014, for $400 instant savings on a GE GeoSpring 50-gallon heat pump water heater, then save again with a Chelan PUD $300 rebate.

Lightly logoThe $400 markdown at the store combined with the PUD’s $300 rebate drops the price by $700, making the final cost around $500.  Participating stores are Lowes, Sears, Ferguson and some independent retailers.

Handy homeowners can install these units themselves; use this tip sheet for help with installation. Or you can find a contractor here.

Heat pump water heaters can be placed in a variety of heated and unheated locations such as a garage, basement or utility room. But before you buy, review these facts:

  • Space – Most units require at least 800 cubic feet of air-flow around them; this is the equivalent of 10′x10′x8′ of space.
  • Sound – Heat pump water heaters generate sounds similar to a freezer.
  • Cold air – While in operation, heat pump water heaters release cool, dry air.
  • Size/height – Heat pump water heaters are slightly taller than standard electric water heaters.

Get help evaluating whether a heat pump water heater is right for you at smartwaterheat.org. Find GeoSpring product details on the GE website.

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)

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.

 

More chances to save on water heaters

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation on May 23rd, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintManufacturers promote new technology with markdowns and rebates

Heat pump water heaters offer significant savings, cutting water-heating energy consumption by 50 percent compared to a standard electric water heater. Three manufacturers are offering rebates that bring down the cost of this new technology, and all qualify for Chelan County PUD rebates.

Photo of GE GeoSpring hot water heaterThrough May 28, GE is offering a $300 instant markdown on the 50-gallon GeoSpring. The GeoSpring is available at the Wenatchee Lowe’s. The markdown makes the out-the-door price as low as $699 (individual pricing may vary). The PUD rebate shaves off another $300.

Through June 10, The Home Depot is offering a $300 markdown on the 50-gallon Rheem EcoSense  (HB50ES). This unit is not available at the Wenatchee store but a quick search of the company website showed availability in Seattle. Consumers should check with the local store to determine whether the EcoSense can be ordered online and shipped locally.

The GeoSpring and EcoSense are Tier I heat pump water heaters. While professional installation is recommended, homeowners can follow do-it-yourself guidelines to install the units themselves.

Through 2014, AirGenerate is offering a $500 rebate on its heat pump water heaters (models ATI66, ATI66DV and ATI80). The rebate can be redeemed through an online processing portal on AirGenerate.com. Chelan PUD’s rebate is an additional $500. These units, which are Tier II units, require professional installation by a plumber. They are not available locally but can be ordered through GenPac.

Before you buy, review these requirements:

  • Type – Tier 1 units 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 and EcoSense 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. Click here to find a contractor. Apply for Chelan PUD’s rebate here.

Electricians are sparking a surge in solar

Posted in Renewable energy, Solar on April 23rd, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

PrintLeavenworth Electric’s venture into the solar business three years ago is largely responsible for the growth in solar installations in Chelan County.

Electrician Mark Karnofski proposed diversifying with solar and owner Mike McComas quickly agreed. “Mark had such a heart for it,” McComas said, that he was easily convinced.

Leavenworth Electric became an installer and distributor for Silicon Energy, the Marysville firm that gathers the components to manufacture the solar modules that now grace most of the newer installations in the county. Because Silicon Energy is located in Washington state, producers who use their panels are eligible for the largest state incentive available to individuals, 54 cents per kilowatt hour.

Photo of Mark Karnofski, left, and Mike McComas

Mark Karnofski, left, and Mike McComas have set up Washington-made solar modules and inverters at about a dozen homes in Chelan County.

 Payments from Chelan PUD’s Sustainable Natural Alternative Power (SNAP) program are “the cherry on top of the cake” for these producers, Karnofski said. Leavenworth Electric has completed about a dozen installations in Wenatchee, Manson, Cashmere and Leavenworth and has been tapped as the contractor for the proposed 14-kilowatt, 72-panel community solar project at Icicle River Middle School. 

The average size of Leavenworth Electric’s installations is 24 panels. “We can design a system to fit your budget,” McComas said. Installed cost is $7 to $8 per watt. So a 24-panel configuration that generates 4800 watts would cost $33,600 to $38,400. 

Spendy, but investors expect to recoup their costs and more due to the state and SNAP programs, McComas said.

The state’s Renewable Energy System Cost Recovery Program is set to expire in 2020 but could be extended by the Legislature. The SNAP program has no expiration date. 

Silicon Energy panels come with a 30-year warranty. Leavenworth Electric contracts with Mark Pulse Construction to build the handsome structures that hold the panels, including artistic A-frames and deck coverings that meld form with function.

Sixty-two sites are producing solar, wind and small-hydro power under the SNAP program. For a summary of activity in 2014, see our SNAP Annual Report.