HEAT Program Summary – September 2012
The HEAT program began in October 2009 with the purpose of providing free energy assessments for homeowners, businesses, and public entities; to improve energy efficiency and lower the cost of building operation. The service was available to all Ferry County residents and to all customers of Ferry County P.U.D., and continued through September of 2012.
Ferry County Extension Director Dan Fagerlie wrote the grant for the HEAT program and it was funded with a $55,000 grant from Ferry County PUD for two years of operation, which was stretched to nearly 3 years. A thermal imaging camera, blower door and duct analysis equipment were purchased to assist with energy analysis of buildings. A second thermal imaging camera was purchased for use by the PUD to assist in troubleshooting and evaluation to improve the reliability of electrical distribution equipment. A carbon monoxide tester and radon detectors were also purchased to allow testing of indoor air quality. Jerry Graser was hired to coordinate the program and perform energy audits, and he received training and certifications in thermal imagery, energy auditing, blower door testing and the Washington State Energy Code.
County wide mailings (see above flyer), newspaper ads, posters and presence at county fairs advertised the program, resulting in 266 requests for energy evaluations, of which 218 evaluations were able to be completed. About 10% of these were commercial buildings, the rest residential. The evaluations resulted in at least 46 weatherization projects to improve efficiency, most of which were partially funded by Ferry County PUD weatherization rebates.
In addition, about 1/3 of the buildings audited (80 structures) received tests for radon and carbon monoxide. Elevated radon levels were found in 10% of these tests, and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) literature describing the problem and how to deal with it was distributed to the owners.
A special project to identify energy cost savings for the Ferry County Courthouse was also undertaken by the HEAT program. A range of conservation options, costs and benefits were presented to the Ferry County Commissioners on at least 2 occasions. A Spokane area Energy Service Company (McKinstry) was contacted to assist with grant writing and to perform an investment grade energy audit. At this time, the commissioners have decided not to employ McKinstry to move this process forward; but the savings potential and means to achieve it are, at least, much more clear.
HEAT Program Benefits to the Community:
• Building energy losses pinpointed to allow prioritization of expenditures.
• Increased knowledge of building heat loss sites through thermal imaging.
• Increased knowledge of weatherization, and energy retrofit applications.
• Energy conservation savings by participants completing weatherization or energy retrofit projects.
• Improved position to receive Federal, State, and local energy project assistance.
• Less carbon loading into the atmosphere.
• Increased reliability of the PUD electrical grid through identification of faulty transformers, connections, and other components of the electrical system