There are many ways to save energy including reducing your use of energy-intensive devices, using energy more efficiently, or producing energy yourself. The prices of many efficient appliances and technologies are dropping, and multiple incentives, rebates, and assistance programs are available. Energy efficiency saves money, contributes to carbon-reduction goals in the City’s Climate Action Plan, and helped the Bellingham Energy Prize win third place in a national competition.
I’m new to energy efficiency – where do I start?
Local community or utility programs provide a comprehensive look at your home’s energy use and provide recommendations on savings measures and reliable contractors.
- Community Energy Challenge (CEC) – Whole Home Energy Assessment
- Opportunity Council’s – Conservation Education and Weatherization
Puget Sound Energy (PSE) Programs
PSE has a wide variety of energy programs and incentives available. To learn more, see links below, call a PSE Energy Advisor at 1-800-562-1482, or contact EnergyAdvisor@PSE.com.
Cascade Natural Gas Programs
Cascade Natural Gas (CNG) helps homeowners and businesses improve energy efficiency by providing cash rebates on qualified upgrades to space and water heating equipment, insulation, duct sealing, and appliances. Click the following links for incentives available for households and businesses, call 1-866-626-4479, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opportunity Council’s Conservation Education and Weatherization Programs
For income-qualifying households, the Conservation Education and Weatherization services are provided as a grant and are at no cost to the household (renter or homeowner.) The goal of the Conservation Education and Weatherization program is to increase the energy efficiency of your home thereby reducing the energy costs while ensuring health and safety.
Weatherization offers a range of services to address existing home safety and health concerns, increase the durability of your home, improve indoor air quality and home comfort and reduce energy costs by increasing energy efficiency. You may be eligible for services if you own or rent your home and your household’s income is at or below the current qualifying guidelines. To apply, contact Opportunity Council’s Home Improvement Department at 360-734-5121 ext. 5.
Community Energy Challenge
The Community Energy Challenge is a joint project between Sustainable Connections and the Opportunity Council. This program provides homes with a full energy audit at a discounted rate, a comprehensive report detailing cost-effective measures, ongoing consultation, quality assurance, and financial incentives. Learn more here.
Renewable Energy Incentives
Renewable energy is moving from the sidelines into the mainstream as technology improves, prices drop, and incentives reduce the cost of projects. Bellingham has been recognized as a Northwest Solar Community by Governor Inslee for its streamlining of renewable energy permitting.
Puget Sound Energy supports net-metering where excess electricity production is returned to the grid as a credit that can be used later by the generating customer. In addition, there are state-sponsored production incentives that pay you for each kilowatt hour produced. For further information see the following links or call a PSE Energy Advisor at 1-800-562-1482.
Federal Energy Tax Credits — Efficiency and Renewables
There are a number of federal tax credits available for qualified energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including efficient stoves and furnaces, windows and insulation, and solar panels and small wind systems. For more information, see the EnergyStar page on Tax Credits for Residential Efficiency.
Tips for efficiency improvements
- City of Bellingham – Rebates and Water Conservation Kit
- Cascade Natural Gas – Practical Energy Saving Tips
- Puget Sound Energy – Savings and Energy Center
- Design your home remodel to maximize efficiency – ZeroHomes.org