With budgets tight, it’s always nice to find relatively easy ways to save money. For many homeowners, taking advantage of the HomePLUS energy audit is a way a little money spent now can save a lot of money in the next few years.
This program is available through Grays Harbor PUD and Greater Grays Harbor Energy (a division of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc.).
“I would definitely recommend it to other homeowners!” said Rebecca Watters of Montesano. “You will get money back just by doing small measures. It is well worth it and it costs more money to do this somewhere else, and it is absolutely no hardship on the homeowner,” she said.
The HomePLUS Energy Audit costs a homeowner $95, (after the instant $200 rebate from Greater Grays Harbor Energy), and takes about three or four hours of energy experts thoroughly looking at your home. The experts will tell you in person and show you through a 17-page report, specific steps that can reduce energy costs. The report even provides a cost-benefit analysis so a homeowner can tell how long it will take them to get a return on any investment they choose to make on energy-saving strategies.
To learn more, or to sign up for the program, contact Rick Jackson, energy program coordinator with Greater Grays Harbor Energy at 532-7888, or Anna Woehler, the PUD’s energy services coordinator at 538-6383.
CAN YOU SAY REBATE?
Once you’ve had your energy audit, there are some great rebates for undertaking energy-saving measures. These incentives from Grays Harbor PUD are only available to customers whose homes have permanently installed electric heat as the primary source.
Windows – If you replace older, non-thermal windows with energy efficient vinyl windows, you can receive a rebate of $6 per square foot (up to $1,500).
Insulation – The rebate for adding insulation to your ceiling, floor or walls is 50 cents per square foot.
Ductless Heat Pumps – Beginning April 1, the rebate for installing a new ductless heat pump will be $900. That’s lower than the current rebate, but certainly worth filling out the paperwork.
Ducted Heat Pump – If you are upgrading to an energy efficient heat pump with ducts, you can receive a $700 rebate.
Duct sealing – There are rebates for having a PTCS-certified contractor seal the ducts for your electric furnace or heat pump system. The amount is $400 for a mobile or manufactured home and $500 for a stick built home.
Appliances – While it’s not a lot of money, there are still rebates available for certain Energy Star rated appliances. You can receive $50 for a clothes washer, $25 for a water heater and $15 for freezers and refrigerators. (Pre-approval is not required, but you might want to check with the PUD ahead of time to ensure that you buy an appliance that meets the program requirements.)
HEAT PUMP WATER HEATER
About 25 percent of a home’s energy use is from heating water. (That number is probably higher if you have a house full of teenagers!)
A heat pump water heater can save 25 to 50 percent off of your electric hot water costs. The PUD now offers $300 or $500 rebates for this new technology – depending on the efficiency of the heat pump water heater.
By transferring heat rather than creating it, heat pump water heaters deliver hot water twice as efficiently as standard electric water heaters.
One difference, however, is that a heat pump water heater needs more space than a traditional water heater, so it works best if it’s placed outside of the conditioned space, such as in an unfinished basement or an attached garage.
Still, if you’re looking to replace your water heater – they typically last about 15 years—or are building a new home or remodeling, you may want to look into a heat pump water heater.
BUSINESSES CAN BENEFIT FROM ENERGY AUDIT
A PUD energy audit is also available for commercial businesses. PUD’s energy advisors can evaluate your office or facility and identify energy efficiency improvements, including upgrades to lighting, heating and cooling systems, building envelope measures, etc.
One of the more successful rebate programs is for installing energy efficient lighting in commercial and industrial buildings. The PUD offers a lighting upgrade incentive that could cover up to 70 percent of the project cost. On top of that, Greater Grays Harbor Energy offers an additional rebate of up to $2,000 toward materials to implement a lighting upgrade through its “lighting buy down” program. Talk about a day brightener!
“The cost of energy not only affects homeowners, it also affects commercial buildings,” said Rick. “In commercial buildings, lighting is one of the biggest uses of energy.”
Rick said that the energy advisors at the PUD have conducted energy audits in everything from huge industrial plants to small offices for doctors and dentists.
One of the businesses that took advantage of that program was Sandy Dunsire of Dunsire Printers in Aberdeen.
“I had about $8,000 worth of lighting upgrades done and I received $3,000 in rebates,” he said. “The energy savings are $150 to $200 a month and the new lights are brighter. That’s better for my work space and my customers really like it.”
For commercial and industrial businesses that are interested in having an energy audit and more information on energy efficiency incentives, contact Grays Harbor PUD Energy Services department at 538-6383.
Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is the executive director. This is a non-profit organization committedto creatingsafe and affordable housing for all residents of Grays Harbor County.
Do you have questions about home repair, renting, remodeling or becoming a homeowner? Call us at 533-7828, write us or visit us at 710 E. Market St. in Aberdeen.