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I spy wasted energy

Posted in Appliances, Construction, Electronics, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting, Recycling on May 28th, 2014 by Susan – Be the first to comment

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 – Be the first to comment

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 – Be the first to comment

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.

No hazardous waste collection this year

Posted in Energy conservation, Environment, Recycling on September 25th, 2013 by Susan – 1 Comment

Chelan County will not be hosting its annual, one-day hazardous waste collection this fall. But if you hang onto your old paint and fluorescent light tubes a little longer, you’ll be able to take them to a permanent facility on a regular basis.

Photo of rusted paint canBrenda Blanchfield, Chelan County Solid Waste director, said the county plans to build a Moderate Risk Waste Facility within the next year. It will function like a transfer station and be open two to three days a week. You’ll be able to drop off household materials including paint, motor chemicals, pool chemicals, garden pesticides, compact fluorescent light bulbs and fluorescent tubes.

“We’ll try to make it as useful as possible for people without duplicating any services already offered in the community,” Blanchfield said.

Grants totaling $600,000 from the state Department of Ecology will be used to acquire property and build the facility, which tentatively is being called the Clean Collection Center. The location hasn’t been determined yet, Blanchfield said, although Cashmere is being considered.

No collection events were scheduled for 2013 because a new facility was supposed to have been built by now. Plans to build a collection center at Olds Station fell through, she said.

While you’re waiting for the new center, Blanchfield suggests a few options:

  • Household compact fluorescent light bulbs can be taken to Home Depot or Lowe’s for recycling.
  • Fluorescent tubes can be recycled using mail-in services from Total Reclaim or Waste Management.
  • Motor oil, antifreeze and automotive batteries can be dropped off for free at the county’s Chelan and Dryden transfer stations.
  • To dispose of latex paint, add kitty litter or sawdust until the paint is the consistency of oatmeal. Let it dry, then throw it in the garbage. The Habitat for Humanity Store will take new or fairly new paint. The best way to get rid of paint, Blanchfield adds, is to use it up.
  • Old gasoline can be a problem, she said, but some gas stations will take it. Some propane companies will take back propane tanks.
  • Refrigerator recycling is available at the Chelan and Dryden transfer stations for a fee. Chelan PUD offers a $30 rebate to customers who recycle fridges but the units must be in working order.

Blanchfield said she understands that “people want to do the right thing, and it’s frustrating when you can’t find a way to do it.”

County-wide recycling information is available on the Solid Waste website.