Posts Tagged ‘Energy Star’
» posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 at 10:56 am by Woody Wilson viewed 153 times
By Sarah MaxJuly 6, 2010: 8:43 AM ET
(Money Magazine) — 1. Federal appliance rebates are going fast …
The government’s Cash for Appliances program, which lets you score rebates for about $50 to $500 swapping energy guzzling appliances for more efficient models, has gotten lots of attention.
But don’t count your greenbacks just yet. The incentives, which are administered through the states, are typically doled out on a first-come, first-served basis, and in many locales the money is already gone. Florida’s program, for example, closed just 36 hours after it opened. But some states, such as Michigan, still had plenty of cash in their coffers at the end of May, and other initiatives didn’t launch until June. To check the status of the program in your state, go to energysavers.gov/financial.
2. … But most states offer their own programs too
Even if you can no longer qualify for a Cash for Appliances rebate, you may still be able to get cash back from the more than 600 programs run by utilities and over 100 state programs that offer incentives for boosting your home’s energy efficiency, says Justin Barnes, policy analyst with the North Carolina Solar Center. In Oregon, for example, you can get a $75 rebate on an Energy Star washer, and $30 for recycling an old fridge. See dsireusa.org for info on your area.
3. And you may have two more chances to get federal funds
Through the end of 2010, you can claim a $1,500 federal tax credit for up to 30% of the cost of many energy-related improvements.
There’s also the so-called Cash for Caulkers bill, which was passed by the House in May and could soon become law. It would give homeowners hefty rebates on a variety of energy saving projects.
Even if you take the tax credit this year, you may still qualify for a Cash for Caulkers rebate, says Ronnie Kweller, a spokesperson for the Alliance to Save Energy, a nonprofit group.
4. Before you grab a rebate, do the math
Getting cash back might help you justify the purchase of, say, that snazzy new stainless-steel fridge you’ve been eyeing. But other projects may give you greater savings. “If your home has bad insulation, a super efficient heating system won’t do much,” says Mark Cannella, partner with Pro Energy Consultants, an energy auditing firm.
Not sure where your money is best spent? A comprehensive home energy audit, which will pinpoint your leaks, runs about $400. But some states or utilities conduct basic audits for free or will reimburse some of that cost.
5. Don’t forget that small projects can still pay big
There are plenty of ways to save energy without spending a lot. Every degree you go up or down on your thermostat will knock 2% off your annual heating and cooling costs; replacing your five most frequently used bulbs with compact fluorescents can lop $70 a year off your energy bill, says Lizzie Rubado, a senior project manager with Energy Trust of Oregon.
Finally, ditching that old fridge you’ve relegated to the garage for storing extra drinks will save about $200 or more a year. You may find you can justify an appliance upgrade after all — rebate or not.
» posted on Sunday, May 9th, 2010 at 5:30 pm by Woody Wilson viewed 158 times
By MIKE HOEFT • firstname.lastname@example.org • May 9, 2010
DE PERE — Brian Stoller of De Pere hopes to see lower utility bills next year after winning a home energy makeover contest that includes $23,000 worth of energy-efficient home improvements.
The improvements begin Tuesday with an energy evaluation that tests for air leaks and energy use in his 42-year-old Silver Street home. Insulation will be added where needed.
Stoller, 25, will win Energy Star qualified products including a refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer and 40 compact fluorescent light bulbs.
He’s owned his home for a year. He said his fiancee, Nicki, was happy and amazed at the prospect of getting new appliances.
“Buying new appliances was one thing we didn’t do after we bought,” Stoller said.
He’ll also be interviewed by Tom Mahoney, chief meteorologist from WFRV, Channel 5, about the journey toward energy efficiency. Viewers can watch each step on the Home Energy Makeover Web site at www.myfocusmakeover.com and learn how they can benefit from energy-efficiency improvements to their own homes.
The contest is meant to draw attention to the importance of energy efficiency.
“We look forward to helping another WPS customer realize the energy savings potential in their home,” said Cheri Salmon, manager of energy resource optimization for WPS.
Home improvements were sponsored by Temperature Systems Inc., Tempstar, First Supply, A.O. Smith Water Products, Duerst Insulation Technicians, Whirlpool, Van Vreede’s, General Electric and Panasonic.
» posted on Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 at 11:39 am by Woody Wilson viewed 303 times
By Bryan Macias/For the Avalanche-Journal
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Story last updated at 4/20/2010 – 12:38 am
Jim Betts of the 1400 block of Monticello Avenue said the solar panels on his 2,800 square-foot house produce the energy he uses during the day, while the electricity he needs to draw from the power company at night is paid for through credits he earns from excess voltage production. He has a 100-percent solar-powered house.
“It’s free, it doesn’t create CO2, and you’re putting less demand on the grid,” Betts said, referring to the network, or grid, that is the system by which electrical power is distributed through a region.
He said that while he doesn’t usually pay out of pocket for electricity, he usually still receives a bill for assorted taxes and fees from his power company, the South Plains Electric Cooperative. That bill that usually amounts to about $19.
In addition, during heavy use periods such as a Christmas visit from 15 family members, Betts said he may pay small amounts.
In February, Betts said, his system generated the 400 kilowatts of power used in his home plus an additional 680 kilowatts of energy. He said his power consumption was lowered and the surplus increased by the installation of energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs in his home. This extra energy does not go to waste.
“For every kilowatt he used, he was producing two,” said Cris Been, president of Therma Breeze Inc., the company that installed the solar-power system on Betts’ house.
Betts’ initial plan was to have 75 percent of his home’s electricity come by way of solar power, but the high efficiency of newer solar panels allowed him to move that number up to 100 percent at a fraction of what it once cost.
A system known in the energy industry as net metering allows Betts to send excess energy he produces back onto the grid. The co-op then credits him at retail price for the energy he has produced. The credits offset the cost of electricity used at night when his system is not producing power.
Additionally, the co-op charges Betts a discounted rate for electricity because of his status as a “green” customer.
Despite the advanced technology of the solar-power system, Been said, the assembly requires little upkeep. He said all the panels really require is to be washed once in a while if dirty — although dirty panels usually only decrease by efficiency 2 percent to 3 percent.
“It’s as close as you can get to maintenance-free,” Betts said.
As good as this may sound, Betts said the system was not without cost: a little more than $46,000 to be exact, including sales tax. Betts said he was helped by a federal tax credit for 30 percent of his purchase, but found no other incentives to help cover the cost of switching to renewable energy.
“Unfortunately for the state of Texas, there are no incentives,” Betts said. “There are no tax incentives. There are no programs available for the local resident statewide.”
He compared this to California, which offers incentives on the state, city and even county levels for those wishing to invest in renewable energy for their homes or businesses.
Despite the cost, Betts said, he had calculated that the system would pay itself off completely within three or four years.
“A lot of people just don’t know,” Betts said. He said when he mentions the price tag, most people assume he will be paying off the system for the next 10 or 12 years. When he explains, most are shocked.
“These kinds of things just don’t depreciate,” Been said. He said the solar panel system will retain its value and add to the value of the home, both of which are a plus.
Nonetheless, Betts is happy with the solar-power system installed on his house and looks forward to seeing more people taking advantage of systems like this. He said at least one neighbor has come by to ask about getting a solar system of his own.
“To me, this is just dollars and cents,” Betts said. “I’m trying to save money. I want to be a good steward with my finances and the resources that I readily have. I’m saving money, and the good additional point is that I’m reducing CO2, and I’m reducing demand on the grid and doing my share to try to conserve what resources we have.”
Been also pointed out that cheaper systems are available for individuals wishing to take smaller percentages of their power from the solar-power system.
Been said that Lubbock Power and Light does not allow its customers to install and use distributive power sources such as solar panels.
Chris Sims, public information officer at LP&L, said that though the company has not taken a position on the matter, one important note for customers is that LP&L cannot give credit for or buy excess energy from customers. He said this would violate the company’s contract with Xcel Energy, the sole provider of energy to LP&L, and added that buying power from customers could make for an unstable electrical grid.
“If we buy from a wholesaler, we’re guaranteed the amount of power we need,” Sims said. He said without guaranteed power and a constant voltage, the grid could become unstable, leading to increased problems.
Currently, Lubbock customers are unable to switch between the two power companies. Both are run on separate lines that do not cross and operate in different portions of the county.
» posted on Saturday, April 17th, 2010 at 3:33 pm by Woody Wilson viewed 132 times
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ENERGY-EFFICIENT APPLIANCES | Customers go wild for energy rebate program
It’s not often people line up at 4 a.m. to buy a refrigerator.
Then again, it’s not often the government offers 15 percent rebates on appliances.
(Joseph P. Meier/Southtown Star)
Retailers throughout the Chicago area reported long lines and booming sales as customers proved eager Friday to take advantage of the federal stimulus program, which states administered, offering rebates to consumers buying energy-efficient appliances, such as refrigerators and clothes washers.
Customers gobbled up the $6.2 million in available rebate money in 11 hours, ending the program nine days before its scheduled close April 25.
Yet several retailers said Friday they will continue to offer their own discounts on energy-efficient appliances for limited periods.
On Friday, Sears stores opened early, at 6 a.m., expecting a crowd, and some shoppers arrived at 4 a.m. When the doors opened at Sears’ Orland Square Mall store, more than 100 shoppers were lined up, but they couldn’t take advantage of the rebates until the government program officially kicked off at 8 a.m.
“This is like Black Friday on steroids,” Sears salesman Stan Dawson said, referring to the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally among the biggest sales day of the year for retailers.
Doug Moore, president of Sears Home Appliances, said he had seen customers in the stores prior to the rebate day, writing down notes on appliances they had researched on the Sears Web site and intended to buy.
Moore said Sears had seen increased traffic on its Web site, on which it provided details about cost savings.
Sears is also offering an additional 30 percent price cut on qualifying Energy Star appliances for another eight days.
“We’re doing 10 times the business. It is amazing,” Dawson, of Oak Lawn, said.
Sears counted 130 customers lined up for the rebate at its Oak Brook store; 100 at Fox Valley in Aurora, and 60 each at West Dundee and at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg.
Record sales were reported by 78-year-old Plass Appliance, which has eight stores in the Chicago area, including one in Tinley Park.
“This is our best day ever. Outstanding. We knew it would be big, but this is better than our expectations,” Bill Burn, director of sales for the chain, said.
Abt Electronics in Glenview had 1,000 people lined up outside. By 10:30 a.m., the 73-year-old business had set a record for appliance sales in a day.
Abt and retailers Home Depot and Lowe’s said they would continue to offer their own discounts on qualifying appliances for periods ranging from a few days until late April.
David Vite, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said participating retailers, who will be reimbursed by the state, finished the day with total sales of $45 million. Vite credited the program’s success in part to Illinois’ decision to let retailers offer percentage-off instant rebates at the sales counter.
Steve Metsch is a reporter for the SouthtownStar.