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Thanks for saving energy

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting on January 28th, 2015 by Susan – Be the first to comment

PrintPopular programs help PUD exceed conservation goal by 40 percent

Here’s a hearty pat on the back to our customers: Chelan County residents taking advantage of energy-efficiency programs saved 13,052,400 kilowatt hours of energy last year – enough to power about 504 local homes.

The savings helped Chelan County PUD surpass its mandated 2014 conservation target by 40 percent and meet a “stretch” goal of 1.49 average megawatts of savings.

Photo of clothes washers

Rebates on energy-efficient clothes washers continue through 2015.

Some 1,490 residents took advantage of programs to save energy and money including rebates on appliances, windows, insulation, ductless heat pumps and air source heat pumps; duct sealing for manufactured homes; and refrigerator/freezer recycling. Thirty-one businesses installed energy-efficiency improvements with help from the PUD.

Rebates and services continue through 2015; check out the many options.

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.

Thanks for saving energy!

Posted in Appliances, Energy conservation, Heating and cooling, Lighting on August 6th, 2014 by Susan – Be the first to comment

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.

 

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.

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 – Be the first to comment

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.