Energy Adviser: Homeowners reap rebates, incentives

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With spring comes not only tax season, but also home energy-efficiency improvement season. Don't think that because federal tax incentives are melting away that there's no way to recover some of the costs of your projects.

If you're planning on making your abode more energy efficient, check with Clark Public Utilities to determine if they offer a rebate, incentive or loan for that pending project. The utility has incentives on appliances, weatherizing, solar heating, heat pump systems and other means of saving energy.

Find the current rebates the utility offers by visiting the website at http://www.clarkpublicutilties.com. Or call the energy counselor of the day at 360-992-3355 with your rebate questions.

Get an immediate $25 back at the register when you purchase Energy Star refrigerators and freezers of 7.75 cubic feet or more from participating Clark County retailers. Get another $30 off your utility bill if you let Clark Public Utilities recycle your old fridge or freezer.

Buy a qualifying Energy Star clothes washer rated at 2.2 or better and get $50 back from participating Clark County retailers.

The site also lists utility-approved contractors for heat pump installation and weatherization. Homeowners are assured of a job well done, because an independent third party randomly inspects each contractor's work.

Homeowners with electric heat can receive $500 back after an approved contractor installs an energy-efficient heat pump. Owners dependent on cable-ceiling heat, baseboards or wall heaters are eligible for up to $1,000 back for installing ductless heat pumps.

The utility also offers financing for installing heat pumps, weatherizing and adding solar panels. Loans less than $5,000 have a $225 loan-processing fee and larger loans a $350 fee. Interest is 5.25 percent. Repayment times depend on the amount borrowed.

"With our loans, there's no prepayment penalty; so homeowners can use the financing and pay it off as quickly as they like," said DuWayne Dunham, energy counselor for the utility.

Incentives are available for weatherization. For floor, attic and wall insulation, you can get 50 percent of the total cost, up to $400 for each. Sealing heat ducts gets up to $500 back. Air sealing the envelope of your house can earn you as much as $100 back. New windows garner as much as $500 back.

Natural gas customers

If you use natural gas heating, you also are eligible for energy-efficiency rebates and incentives. NW Natural Gas offers rebates through the Energy Trust of Oregon. A few of the rebates available include:

• Sealing air leaks brings a $150 rebate.

• Windows, per square foot installed (U-Value of 0.25 or less), $3.50.

• Duct insulation, 50 percent of cost, up to $100.

• Installing attic and ceiling insulation snags rebates from 25 cents to 30 cents per square foot.

• New energy-efficient gas furnaces (90 percent AFUE) yield $100 back

To find out more go to http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=WA143F or visit www.energytrust.org/washington.

The Department of Energy website at http://www.dsireusa.org/ is the place to go find out about federal rebates and incentives. Even as federal tax credits fade away, you might find a rebate that fits your needs. Just click on the "search" button and make the selections that fit your situation. This will return a list of current incentives for you to consider.


Energy Adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to ecod@clarkpud.com or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98668.