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Sun power on the snowy mountain

Posted in Renewable energy, Solar, Sustainability on August 14th, 2014 by Susan – Comments Off

Lightly logoStevens Pass Mountain Resort is producing power for Chelan PUD’s solar program

When you think of skiing or snowboarding you think snow, right? But at Stevens Pass Mountain Resort they’re thinking sun. As in solar, and solar power.

The resort installed a small solar system at the top of its Skyline Chairlift that should generate electricity most of the year, said John Meriwether, manager of Environmental Sustainability.

Photo of solar system at Stevens pass Moutain Resort

Stevens Pass Mountain Resort has added a solar system along the Skyline Chairlift and expects to churn out sun power up to 10 months of the year.

“In summertime we’re pretty high and exposed to the sun, really for eight, nine, 10 months out of the year,” he said. The eight-panel, 1.9-watt system is on a fixed pole and won’t track with the sun, which in hindsight might have been a better option. “Something I learned (recently) is that we probably should have put it on something that tilted, because January-February-March it’s in the shade. If it tilted toward snow we could possibly have gotten some reflective light.”

The installation was delayed by a year when the Tumwater, Wash. engineering firm hired for the project declared bankruptcy. A Seattle contractor was called in to take over, and the installation was connected to Chelan PUD’s grid on July 10. The resort is now part of the PUD’s customer-based SNAP program.

A $5,000 grant from the National Ski Area Association helped Stevens Pass pay for the project. More solar is planned. “Chairlifts have lift stations that need maintenance and upgrading, and once they come around in our maintenance rotation, we’ll plug a solar component into that,” Meriwether said. Prime south-facing locations include the Double Diamond chairlift and the spot where the  Jupiter and Tyemill lifts come together.

Stevens Pass has won several regional and national environmental honors, including the National Ski Area Association’s Golden Eagle Award for environmental excellence in 2012. The resort has an aggressive sustainability program, Meriwether said, that takes in recycling, composting and energy and water conservation. A facilities audit conducted a few years ago resulted in a road map for the resort to make efficiency improvements “and we’ve been clicking away at those projects,” he said. Upgrades made at its three lodges include insulating doors, adding occupancy sensors for lighting, sealing elevator shafts against heat loss and installing low-flow toilets.

Resort staff also helped bring an electric vehicle charging station to Stevens Pass. A former staff member on that project, Ross Freeman, is now the sustainability manager for the city of Mercer Island, where a “solarize” campaign is under way with Northwest SEED.

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.

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.

Energy rebates continue in 2014

Posted in Appliances, Construction, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting, Recycling on December 9th, 2013 by Susan – 2 Comments

PrintNow here’s something to look forward to in 2014: Our rebate programs on energy-efficient windows, insulation and appliances will continue.

Photo of customer Ora Jansen with refrigerator and freezer to be recycled

All of Chelan PUD’s energy-efficiency programs — including recycling of old refrigerators and freezers — will continue in 2014.

Chelan County PUD’s rebates in 2014 will stay at the same level as 2013 with one exception: The incentive for LED retrofit kits will drop to $10 beginning January 1. (The current rebate is $25 per kit.)

This past year was one of our best ever for conservation, with nearly 400 customers adding energy-efficient windows and/or insulation to save money and improve the comfort of their homes. Check out what three satisfied customers say about their energy-saving improvements in this video.

In the last four years, Chelan PUD has saved 7.3 average megawatts through conservation efforts — enough to power about 2,940 local homes.

Here are the rebate amounts for 2014:

  • Energy-efficient windows: $6 per square foot
  • Insulation: 50 cents per square foot
  • Refrigerators and freezers: $50
  • Clothes washers: $30-$75
  • Water heaters: $25-$100
  • Heat pump water heaters: $300-$500
  • Ductless heat pumps: $750
  • LED retrofit kits: $10

We’ll continue to offer refrigerator and freezer recycling next year, too. Our contractor will haul away and recycle old refrigerators or freezer at no charge, plus provide a $30 rebate.

The PUD also offers free duct testing and sealing for manufactured homes.