SILVER REEF — The Museum at Silver Reef is sponsoring a “Geology Walk and Talk” Feb. 22 led by geologist Marc Deshowitz. The presentation is free to the public and will begin at 10 a.m. at the Cosmopolitan restaurant next to the museum, 1903 Wells Fargo Road in Silver Reef. The walk will lead to a view of the White Reef, about a half-mile, gently uphill).
A state incentive program that gives cash to people who trade in their old, energy inefficient appliances is coming to a close.
Cash for Appliances, a popular program that has helped more that 12,000 people cut energy costs by upgrading to Energy Star rated appliances, has less that 10 percent of its funds remaining. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and operated by the Utah State Energy Program.
Applications for the program are available at www.cashforappliancesutah.com and must be completed, signed and accompanied by all required documentation including model and serial numbers for all new appliances.
A wet and gloomy Monday, the sun nowhere in sight, was the setting for the announcement at Hillside Middle School that 73 solar panels will be installed atop 73 schools across Utah.
The solar photovoltaic arrays will be placed on the roof of at least one school in each of Utah’s 41 school districts to generate renewable energy for the schools and teach schoolchildren about energy efficiency and alternatives.
“I think it’s really cool that as a school, we can make a difference by being ‘green’ and not wasting as much energy,” seventh-grader Annie Connolly said. “It’s cool that we are different from other schools that pollute the earth.”
“This is an incredibly exciting day,” said Gil Sperling, a U.S. Department of Energy senior adviser for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “As far as I know, Utah is the first state in the country to systematically implement this kind of program.”
Educating students and teachers about energy is one of the main goals of the Solar for Schools programs.
“Solar for Schools gives us an opportunity to educate students about the role of energy in their lives,” said Elise Brown, renewable energy coordinator for the Utah Department of Natural Resources. “It is our hope that students who benefit from this program will go on to inform and inspire others about this very important topic.”
More than 200 Utah teachers will attend a class this year sponsored by the National Energy Foundation. They will learn how solar, wind and geothermal energies work, with a special focus on the implications of renewable energy in Utah.
Sperling said the Solar for Schools program has four major benefits — strengthening the economy by reducing dependence on imported oil, offsetting carbon emissions by the increased use of solar energy, creating jobs, and increasing awareness and education about energy efficiency.
The DOE estimates that over a 20-year span, the effect of the Solar for Schools program will be the equivalent of planting 11,000 trees.
“This program is about educating students, teachers, parents and the community at large,” Sperling said. “People are going to look at these panels and say, ‘This is what we ought to be doing.’ ”
Two Utah school districts have received federal stimulus money to make energy-efficient improvements to their buildings, and several more recipients will likely be announced in the weeks and months to come.
The grants and loans were awarded through the Utah State Energy Program — a section of the Utah Geological Survey — which allocated $5 million for green school improvements.
“I feel very fortunate that our grant was accepted and we were able to move forward so quickly,” said Christopher Eppler, energy specialist for Canyons.
The district wrapped up work last weekend on switching out lights and light fixtures in the classrooms and hallways of Alta High. Canyons, the first of the awarded districts to complete a project, has two other projects in the works with plans to replace the lights at Jordan High and make improvements to Eastmont Middle School next summer. In addition to being more efficient while running, the classroom lights have motion sensors and turn off automatically when people leave the room.
Districts statewide submitted applications to the Utah State Energy Program in March. Applications for the Formula Grants were reviewed by a committee consisting of members of the Utah Geological Survey, the State Office of Education and former staff of the State Energy Program, among others. Districts could choose to accept grant money or take grant money coupled with a zero-interest loan. Both Canyons and Park City opted to take the grant/loan combination.
“We had an outstanding response,” said William Chatwin, energy-efficiency coordinator for the State Energy Program. Seventeen of the state’s 41 districts submitted applications, proposing a total of 71 projects. The State Energy Program has awarded about 10 districts funding to implement more than 35 energy-efficient projects, though most of them aren’t finalized.
nvironmentalists long have dreamed of a time when the massive coal-fired plants that generate much of the nation’s electricity will fall idle, replaced by small, nonpolluting power production on individual homes and businesses.
For a slowing growing number of Utahns that dream no longer seems so far-fetched.
When Doug Shipley of Intermountain Wind & Solar opens the power bill for his 2,400 square-foot home in Farmington, most of the time it shows he hasn’t taken any energy off of the state’s power grid during the month.
Instead, the 24 solar panels on his property — installed at a cost of approximately $24,000 — produce all the electricity his family needs.
Paying for home improvements that increase energy efficiency just got easier for Utah residents. A new program, Utah Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, will pay cash rebates to Utah homeowners to help offset the cost of retrofits that save energy and money.
Jason Berry, Utah State Energy Program Manager oversees Utah Home Performance. He anticipates high demand for the program which covers up to 50% or 80% of the energy-efficient home improvements.
“We expect to perform almost 2,800 comprehensive, Home Performance assessments across the state,” Berry said.
“Having a Home Performance assessment is a great opportunity for Utah residents to find out how they can make their homes more comfortable and healthier for their families. These assessments let homeowners know what improvements will provide the greatest savings.”
The Utah Renewable Energy Rebate Program, managed by the Utah State Energy Program (USEP), can cover up to 25 percent of the cost of a professionally installed system, and may be used with other state, federal and utility incentives. “This incentive is an excellent opportunity for consumers interested in investing in renewable energy. Prices for installed systems are very reasonable by historic standards, further benefiting consumers,” said Chris Tallackson, USEP Incentives Coordinator.
Rebate reservations are processed on a first come, first served basis until funds are exhausted, so consumers should contact a Utah licensed professional installation contractor to begin the rebate reservation process.
Since launching on April 19, more than 275 applications have been approved for projects that will stimulate investment of $11 million within Utah. The projects will generate more than 1.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity. A typical household consumes 850 kilowatt hours per month.
For additional information and a rebate reservation form, visit the Renewable Energy Rebate Program or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN THE MEDIA
If you’re thinking about replacing that old water heater, clothes washer or other appliance, now is a good time to think about doing that. Starting May 12, the Utah State Energy Program has more than $2 million available for rebates on energy-saving appliances.
This is part of the federal economic stimulus program, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, that has been going on for the past couple of years. This one operates similar to Cash for Clunkers — the program that helped remove old vehicles off the road. Now we have Cash for Appliances.
The federal government is distributing $300 million in all 50 states to urge people to replace older, energy-eating appliances.
• $30 rebate on ENERGY STAR® qualified room air conditioners
• $300 rebate on ENERGY STAR® qualified gas furnaces with an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of at least 90%
• $300 on ENERGY STAR® qualified gas tankless water heaters with an energy factor (EF) of at least.82
• $50 on gas storage water heaters with an energy factor (EF) of at least .67
Salt Lake Tribune
First, there was Cash for Clunkers. Now, there’s Cash for Appliances.
States have been given $300 million in federal stimulus money to create rebate programs that encourage consumers to make energy-efficient appliance upgrades.
Utah’s $2.3 million portion is going toward a Cash for Appliances program that starts Wednesday and will provide rebates of $30 to $300 to those who purchase energy-efficient washers, room air conditioners, water heaters or furnaces. Each state’s program is different, with various rebate amounts covering different items.
Although some other states are offering rebates on purchases of a longer list of appliances, including refrigerators and dishwashers, Utah officials say they wanted to hone in on a more select group of power-gobbling appliances.
“We’re focusing on where most of the energy is used in the home,” said Chris Tallackson, incentives coordinator with the Utah State Energy Program.