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News / Life / Clark County Life

Energy Adviser: Utility increases incentives

By Clark Public Utilities
Published: August 15, 2020, 6:02am

If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your home’s heating and cooling system or installing new windows, now is a good time to make that investment.

Clark Public Utilities has raised incentive amounts for heat pumps and ductless heat pumps as well as double and triple-pane window replacements for customers with electrically heated homes.

“Our utility is committed to helping our customers through this difficult period in our community,” said Clark Public Utilities Energy Services Project Manager Matt Babbitts. “By increasing these incentives, we hope to make these money-saving energy efficiency projects more affordable to our customers while also spurring economic activity in our community.”

A typical household spends about half its utilities budget on heating and cooling. Residents of homes built before 1990, when the state codified stricter building standards, may spend even more. But just because a home is a little older doesn’t mean it has to be inefficient or expensive to heat and cool.

Heat pumps will yield big savings on a home energy bill. Clark Public Utilities customers can save about 30 percent on their electric heating costs when they switch from zonal heating (like cable ceiling or wall heaters) to a ductless heat pump.

Not only are heat pumps more economical, they heat the home quieter, quicker and more comfortably than resistance heaters. As an added bonus, they offer air conditioning for year-round home climate control.

The initial investment can be steep, depending on your home’s circumstances. But the newly raised incentives offered by the utility will make them more affordable. The rebate amounts depend on the current electric heating system. For example, customers will receive a $300 incentive when replacing an old ductless heat pump with a new one. Customers with electric furnaces may get $2,000 toward replacement with a centrally ducted variable speed heat pump.

Double or triple pane windows can offer up to three times the insulating value of their single pane counterparts. Plus, modern vinyl window frames lose significantly less heat than older metal frames. New windows make noise outside the home quieter, help your home stay comfortable longer and reduce heating and cooling costs. Homeowners with single pane or metal framed windows may qualify for $6 and $8 per square foot rebate on double or triple pane windows, respectively.

Homeowners have to meet a few qualifications to receive the incentives. In addition to having electric heat, all the work must be performed by a contractor participating in the utility’s Contractor Network. The network isn’t an endorsement, warranty, or guarantee for any company. It’s a list of contractors the utility knows to be well-versed in the current rebates and weatherization programs, maintain all necessary licenses, bonds, insurance and all necessary professional certifications. Participating contractors also meet the utility’s customer service standards, which includes social distancing guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The contractors will take care of the paperwork required by the utility. When the time comes, the contractor will complete the forms and all the customer has to do is sign on the dotted line.

“As generous as these incentives are, we realize that a new heating system or windows replacement is a big investment for any homeowner,” Babbitts said. “The utility does offer great financing options, to help put these money-saving upgrades within reach of as many customers as possible.”

Rebates for commercial customers have also been increased. To find out more, call the Clark Public Utilities Energy Counselor of the Day at 360-992-3355.

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.