Archive for February, 2011

Residential Retrofit Guidelines

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The Department of Energy announced the release of the new Workforce Guidelines for Home Energy Upgrades.  Energy improvement programs and homeowners can adopt these guidelines to increase the consistency and effectiveness of energy upgrades, and training providers can use them to improve course curricula and training materials.  These guidelines were developed through a collaboration between energy efficiency contractors, building scientists, health and safety experts, technicians and trainers in the weatherization program, and other professionals in the building and home energy upgrade industry.

The Workforce Guidelines include standard work specifications required for high-quality work, a reference guide for technical standards and codes, analysis of the job tasks involved in completing various energy efficiency improvements, and the minimum qualifications workers should possess to perform high quality work.  Identifying the knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform efficiency upgrades represents an important step in developing a nationwide framework for training program accreditation and worker certification.

New Hampshire Enhances Pellet Heat Rebate Program

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has made some improvements to their Residential Bulk-Fuel Fed Wood-Pellet Central Boilers and Furnaces program to allow more systems to qualify. If you live in the state of New Hampshire and are interested in installing a automated wood pellet boiler (like the Greenwood Denali Series), you may be eligible for a $6000 rebate from utility company.

Basically, a system must now only achieve an 80% efficiency and may also now require  some routine cleaning. In the rebate’s prior version, a unit must have been 85% efficient and self-cleaning. Judging from the limited success of the program, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission wants to get some traction with the program.

To qualify, residents of New Hampshire must complete a two step application process. The first is to complete a pre-approval application and the second is to request the rebate. There are only enough monies in the program for 80 to 100 rebates so if you are interested, you should visit the Residential Bulk-Fed Wood-Pellet Central Boilers and Furnace Rebate Program website.

No More Easy Green for Homeowners

Anyone contemplating a big home improvement project to make their homes more energy efficient has missed a rather significant window. Beginning January 1st, the federal government slashed the tax credits for energy efficiency home upgrades from 30 percent to 10 percent and reduced the total available credit to $500. For more check out the 2011 Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency.

As a manufacturer, we like to stay on top of these developments and are also interested in how these changes in incentives will change buying behaviors. Suzanne Shelton, a contributor to Fast Company magazine, summarizes the impact as, “approximately one third of the population who made their home more energy efficient would likely not have acted or would not have purchased the more efficient unit if it weren’t for the incentives offered.”

I guess that leaves it to creative marketers, manufacturers and local utilities to create the proper motivation for purchasing greener appliances.

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