Early Success Drives Additional Savings

Ductless Heat Pumps use an indoor air handling unit called a "head" that move air in the main living space.

The Cold Cash for POW&R (Propane, Oil, Wood & Rentals) Promotion has seen such rapid adoption, that additional funds were allocated and the rebate program continues!

The only significant change is that the incentive for single-head ductless heat pump (DHP) systems has been reduced to $800. Customers that received a Confirmation ID# (up through CCPOWR33) from Thurston Energy at the original $1,500 rate will still be eligible for that rebate amount.

Thurston Energy has gotten strong interest in this promotion from a wide array of customers that are historically less likely to make energy efficiency improvements with the use of rebates. Homes that are heated by propane, oil or wood generally do not qualify for as many utility rebates, because they do not use the utility’s fuel for heat. Rental property owners do not have the direct incentive of reduced heating bills or improved comfort, because they do not live in the home and pay the utility bills. Yet, there are many rental property owners now coming forward and making improvements based on the cash incentive for ductless heat pumps and weatherization.

 

Is a single-head ductless heat pump (DHP) system right for you?

A DHP is a highly efficient heating and cooling system that consists of two parts: an outdoor compressor unit and in indoor air-handling unit called a “head”. The two parts are connected by a tube that passes the heat through a refrigerant fluid. The head uses a blower to move air around within the open space of a home. An ideal candidate for a single-head DHP is a home up to around 1,500 square feet where much of the living space is in a single open area. Closed rooms such as bedrooms will often benefit from additional, auxiliary heat.

Many people love DHPs because they provide an even and steady heating or cooling through the living space. The cost to operate a DHP is only a fraction of the cost of propane or fuel oil, and they require far less effort than wood-based stoves.

For a comprehensive set of Questions & Answers about DHP systems, visit www.goingductless.com/consumer/FAQs.

 

Want to make your home even more comfortable?

Regardless of how you heat your home, there are great benefits to properly air sealing and insulating your home. Insulation is like a sweater for your home … it holds the heat in. But when the wind blows and you’re walking outside in a sweater you still feel the chill. You need a wind-breaker … and that is where air sealing comes in for your home. When you seal the cracks and holes, the air stays put and you are more comfortable inside.

Cold Cash for POW&R includes a rebate of 40% of the price of qualifying air sealing and insulation measures up to $2,000 for qualifying homes heated by propane, oil or wood, and/or rental properties.

Contact Thurston Energy today with any questions, or to get started: 360-528-2112.

Cold Cash for Home Performance Deadlines Extended!

Cold-Cash-page-graphic

Participants need to submit proposals to Thurston Energy by October 31, 2014 and all work must be completed no later than March 31, 2015 in order to qualify.

Thurston Energy and our partners are thrilled that so many customers wanted to take advantage of this promotion, that energy evaluators and contractors participating in the program are too busy to meet the original deadlines for their customers.

But remember … time is still of the essence! Rebate payments will be processed and fulfilled in the order that they are received, so don’t wait to schedule your work.

Join Us for an Info Session

cOLD-CASH-BANNER

You are invited to a Cold Cash for Home Performance Info Session!

Join Thurston Energy at one of our 3, free information sessions to ask questions and learn more about what kinds of upgrades qualify:

When:

Saturday, September 6th at 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM at the Tumwater Library

Monday, September 15th at 6:30 – 8:30 PM at Olympia City Hall

Thursday, September 18th at 5:30 PM – &:00 PM at the Lacey library

As you may know, Thurston Energy is a non-profit organization and part of the Thurston Economic Development Council. Thurston Energy does not provide contractor services directly, but works with vendors who operate in Thurston County to provide weatherization services.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to become more comfortable in your home while you save energy and save money!

These events are FREE and open to all.

Please contact Thurston Energy with any questions: 360-528-2112

 

Super Sustainable Saturday 2014

Super Sustainable Saturday addressed both housing and transportation in terms of lowering energy usage, reducing waste, and reducing toxicity. On Saturday, June 7, 2014, the volunteer-based Sustainable South Capitol, in partnership with the South Capitol Neighborhood Association (SCNA) and Thurston Energy, held the first ever “Super Sustainable Saturday” at Lincoln Elementary School, and around the neighborhood in homes open for tours. The event drew many visitors on a beautiful sunny day to learn from a variety of community nonprofits and businesses that are focused on sustainability.

At the “Sustainability Hub” at Lincoln, displays included Thurston Energy, SCNA, a display of homemade nontoxic cleaners, South Sound Solar, Thurston Solid Waste, Intercity Transit, Sustainable South Sound, the Olympia Heritage Commission, the Warm Window Project, and Northwest EcoBuilding Guild.

Two companies gave hands-on demonstrations at their tables: Eco Woodworks demonstrated how to restore wood windows, and ECHO Energy demonstrated how to seal ducts (see “Duct Seal Demo” video above).

Along the home tour route, residents shared their experiences with energy efficient ductless heat pumps, tankless hot water heaters, solar photovoltaic energy systems, bee keeping, rain gardens, backyard chicken coops, and fruit trees. Some of the tours included instructional lessons given in living rooms, while others were walk-by wonders.

Said Jack Rice, one of the neighbors: “I also saw fascinating old trees, interesting and lovely yard presentations, kids playing, contented appearing adults working in their surrounds. I had a fine and most stimulating day.”

There was also a car show, as several neighbors showed how their electric cars and electric bicycles worked. The Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt have both been gaining traction as reliable vehicles, and following the path that the Toyota Prius has blazed over the past ten years as a car that is easy on the environment, while being fun and practical to drive.

Guests even enjoyed freshly made Lupe’s Hot Tamales, and the serendipitous timing and placement of a plant sale also being held at the school. All in all, it was a beautiful day to learn how to lighten our impact on the environment, whether staying put at the Sustainability Hub, or moving around to enjoy the tours.

Warming Up A Historic Home

Tudor

PHOTO:  Homeowner Greg Tudor (right) and Thurston Energy Manager Mark Rentfrow observe the Tudor’s historic home, and discuss techniques for removing siding, filling walls with additional cellulose insulation, and then replacing the siding.

Kate and Greg Tudor and their family moved into their historic home in 2009 and the pipes promptly froze.  They quickly determined that they needed some form of weatherization, so they got an energy evaluation from Thurston Energy.  “Essentially, our home was like a moderately protected carport,” recounts Greg.

So after replacing the knob and tube wiring in the basement, they insulated the underfloor with foam and sealed the ducts with mastic.  “For the first time, we could actually lay on the floor without freezing,” says Greg.  “And when we cleaned the ducts, we filled a 30 gallon trash bag with toys, blocks, doll clothes, a bow tie, and other things that were dropped down a vent in a child’s room over the years.”

They also insulated the room above the porch and sealed the doors, windows, and attic “to keep the wind from blowing through the house,” quipped Greg.  The family has noticed that the furnace runs a lot less often, and for shorter periods of time.  Next on the energy improvement list is more insulation and air sealing in the walls and attic, once they replace the rest of the knob and tube wiring.

 

 

Story of Spree … One Lucky Dog

Spree

The Story of Spree … One Lucky Dog

Sometimes there’s more to savings and comfort than simply installing energy efficient heating equipment. No one knows this better than Spree … a fifteen year old dog whose owner recently went through an energy improvement in their home in Olympia.

This home had a history of being uncomfortably cold. No matter what the owner did to try to improve the situation, she never felt that she was receiving the full heating benefit that she had paid for.

“It just seemed like, regardless of what the thermostat for the furnace said, that the home just wouldn’t heat up to a comfortable temperature.”

Generally, even the garage was more comfortable than the home’s interior.

Spree had located the vent closest to the furnace and had made a habit of camping out over it in the mornings when the furnace would first come on.  However, Spree’s owner also noticed that Spree, who has a previously existing medical condition, would also start coughing when sitting on top of the register. “She was coughing and hacking so much that I thought her heart was going to stop!” she said.

With winter approaching this year, Spree’s owner was determined to take action. She had previously contracted with a firm to assess her home’s energy use and performance, but the experience left her feeling that it fell far short of her expectations without any conclusive results, thereby making more evaluation necessary. After all, the home already had a newer, energy efficient furnace and a service technician verified that it was currently working properly. The furnace performance and thermostat both checked out as normal. Still something was missing (the heat!).

Spree’s owner knew that something must not be right and decided to check inside the vent to try and locate the problem. What she saw was the tip of an iceberg. Inside of eight separate elbows throughout the home, she found fistfuls of insulation clogging the vent pipes at every turn. These vents were likely pushing the insulation fibers into the air causing respiratory problems not just for Spree, but for her as well.

After contacting an energy advisor at Puget Sound Energy about ways to become more energy efficient and comfortable, she was given a referral to contact ECHO Energy. Kyle Kennemore from ECHO arrived to provide a free PSE HomePrint™ assessment. This in-home service provides customers with a better understanding of their home’s basic energy consumption, cost effective ways to use less energy, and useful information on ultimately improving the comfort and efficiency of their homes. After spending a considerable amount of time underneath the home checking all of the insulation, duct lines and connections, Kyle emerged with photos and information to provide a synopsis of what was happening in the crawl space, as well as three different levels of resolution for mitigating the problems.

Spree’s owner was determined to do as much as she could within reason to make good improvements to her home. The PSE HomePrint™ report was the blueprint that ECHO Energy used to help her initiate changes to her home’s ducting and insulation.

“I got such a good vibe from Kyle about how passionate he was to do right by the homeowner that I decided to hire ECHO to help me complete the necessary upgrades.”

She went on to say that “from the day they installed the new ducting, Spree quit coughing.” That was the most immediate indicator that ECHO had located the source of the problems and made the appropriate fixes. The other was, of course, the fact that the house had warmer air!

The experience that Spree and her owner had with their home is unfortunately not unique. Many folks that are uncomfortable in their homes have no idea why, despite doing things “by the book.” The type of building science that ECHO Energy used to evaluate the home is what will help a contractor and homeowner identify the root causes of these types of heating issues. Whether it’s an issue of air sealing around the furnace plenum to prevent warm air leakage (something that had not been done in this garage) or sealing the ductwork to ensure that all of the warm air created by a furnace is being properly distributed throughout the home’s interior, building science diagnostic tools and techniques can often make the difference between a warm and comfortable winter or a chilly one.

“Having this type of weatherization process done on my home has given me piece of mind that I’m doing the right thing for myself and for Spree. Kyle made it pretty painless and was very comprehensive in giving full explanations of what he was doing, as well as handling all the PSE rebate paperwork for me. ECHO didn’t make me feel like they were pulling a fast one and I came out at the end of the experience feeling as positive – if not more so, than I did going into it.  Kyle (ECHO’s) mantra is to really know their business, do quality work while being professional and considerate of the client.  The real deal!”