Energy Conservation

Solar panels on roofAt its most efficient, green building is a whole system approach to design, construction and operation of buildings. It is the convergence of three fundamental objectives; improve energy efficiency, improve indoor air quality, and conserve natural resources.

Grants Pass Employer Leading the Green Way
Oregon Business magazine reported that Encore Ceramics in Grants Pass, owned by Barry and Debbie Russell, has gotten a lot of attention recently for an ambitious solar power system that produces 29 kilowatts of clean energy by way of panels on the factory roof, the 6th largest facility in the Pacific Northwest.

The company became 100% green when it began purchasing renewable energy credits from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation last summer. You can read more about Encore Ceramics and their renewable energy system online at Advanced Energy Systems.

Green Building

Green buildings have well insulated building envelopes. They control air leaks / infiltration yet have plenty of fresh air without drafts. They are built to take advantage of natural day lighting, heating and cooling. They catch, and reclaim storm water for on-site use or for return to the earth. They protect soils and use native/climate appropriate plants for landscaping. Green buildings use environmentally sound construction practices and sustainably produced materials to create comfortable, healthy living and working spaces. They are built to last and designed for deconstruction, so materials can be used again and again.

Tax Credits
The time is right to make a move toward committing to green building. There are a number of new federal tax credits, expanded state tax credits and utility company incentives. Energy Trust of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Energy both offer energy saving programs that homeowners and builders can tap into. Energy Trust of Oregon offers cash incentives for installing solar systems and other energy efficient measures to Oregon residential and business customers of Pacific Power.

Existing homeowners can take advantage of cash incentives through the installation of qualifying improvements and equipment such as heat pumps, gas furnaces, clothes washers, compact fluorescent light bulbs, insulation, duct insulation and sealing, water heaters and air sealing.

Energy Star
If you are a new home builder or developer, there are a number of incentives if a home is built to Energy Star specifications with incentives ranging from $75 to $700 for heating systems, lighting and clothes washers. Homes with the Energy Star label are designed to meet the highest levels of efficiency, featuring increased insulation, tightly sealed ducts and the most energy-efficient appliances, windows and lighting. For new homes that aren’t built to Energy Star specifications there are stand-alone incentives for heating systems and efficient ducting.

Energy Trust also provides incentives for renewable energy generation to homeowners and builders for generating their own electricity with solar electric systems. They offer up to $10,000, which can lower the total cost of a new residential solar electric system by approximately 40%. Cash incentives are also available to help offset the installation cost of a new solar water heating system which will lower the costs for hot water heating.

Energy Efficient Appliances
The Oregon Department of Energy offers residential energy tax credits for qualifying appliances such as clothes washers, refrigerators, dishwashers and water heaters. There are credits for solar heating and electric systems as well as wind systems. In addition, they offer low-interest, long-term, fixed rate loans for projects that save energy and produce energy from renewable sources.