ENERGYSMARTS GRANTS HELP QUALIFYING MEMBERS SAVE ENERGY
What is an EnergySmarts Grant?
United Cooperative Services is committed to helping members use energy more wisely through Energy Innovation. Educating members about ways to manage energy consumption is a top priority and United believes that on an individual basis, taking measures to live more energy efficiently is the quickest response one could give to energy prices.
Through its EnergySmarts Grant Program, United Cooperative Services provides grant funding to eligible members served by United for the installation and implementation of energy efficiency measures and some renewable distributed generation applications.
EnergySmarts grants help members implement projects to help offset rising energy costs, reduce energy consumption, protect our environment and control Texas’ growing demand for electricity. United will award EnergySmarts grants to members served by United. The grants will cover up to a maximum of $1,000 for residential efficiency measures and $250 for residential solar-powered distributed generation applications. The EnergySmarts Grant program operates on a first-come, first-served basis. United will award grants until a combined $100,000 in grant disbursements is exhausted.
Residential Grants—Members at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and own or are in the process of purchasing a home, are eligible to apply for one residential grant. Renters are ineligible to receive grants. The home undergoing retrofit/new construction must be served by United. Energy audits are required to identify and/or validate potential energy conservation measures, respective costs, energy savings and payback periods. Projects must be completed prior to receiving the grant. The member must demonstrate a financial need to qualify for a grant and must select the vendor responsible for completing the work. Grants are capped at $1,000.
Residential DG Grants—Residential members who install approved photovoltaic/solar DG systems at the residence in which they receive electric service from United are eligible for one grant per unit at a maximum of two grants per member. The DG installation must be completely installed and operational in the calendar year the grant is provided, meet United’s DG specifications and be inspected by a United representative prior to receiving a grant. The DG installation must be on property served by United. Existing DG units and rental properties are not eligible for grant funding. Invoices are required for grant funding approval. Grants will be capped at $250 for PV/solar applications. The interconnected DG capacity must meet or exceed 1,000 watts (1 kilowatt).
Commercial & Industrial or Agricultural DG Grants—Commercial & Industrial, as well as Agricultural members who install approved photovoltaic/solar DG systems at the location in which they receive electric service from United are eligible for one grant per unit at a maximum of two grants per member. The DG installation must be completely installed and operational in the calendar year the grant is provided, meet United’s DG specifications and be inspected by a United representative prior to receiving a grant. The solar DG installation must be on property served by United. Existing DG units and rental properties are not eligible for grant funding. Invoices are required for grant funding approval. Grants will be capped at $500 per application, maximum of two grants. The interconnected solar DG capacity must meet or exceed 5 kilowatts.
Commercial Grants—Commercial and Industrial members seeking to implement energy-saving measures (e.g., energy efficient lighting, etc.) may apply for a grant. Grants will be capped at $1,000. The facility in which the energy-saving measures are being implemented must be served by United. Energy audits are required to identify and validate potential energy conservation measures, respective costs, energy savings and payback periods. Projects must be completed prior to receiving the grant. Grants are limited to one grant per year, and one grant per project. For example, a business’ lighting retrofit project this year would qualify only for one grant even if the project was completed in phases over several years because the project objective is “lighting retrofit.”
How to Apply
Members seeking an EnergySmarts Grant must complete the EnergySmarts Grant Application, including a description of the proposed energy efficiency upgrades, cost estimates from a licensed installer/builder/contractor. Part of the application process will include a pre-retrofit/construction audit by a United Energy Expert. Grant applicants must submit proper documentation noting goals and tasks or deliverables. Residential energy efficiency grant applicants are required to submit prior year’s financial information, such as a W-2 tax form.
Peace of Mind
After members have completed energy efficient upgrades and upon request, United experts will be available to provide a post-retrofit evaluation.
To obtain an EnergySmarts Grant application, click
Insulation and the Law of Diminishing Returns
Insulation values exceeding R-38 (United’s recommended level) in an average home do not yield a sufficient return on investment. The Department of Energy recommends R-49. However, as the graph illustrates below (energy usage at left, and energy cost at right, for an 1,800-sq.-ft. home using either a 10 or 14 SEER heating unit), the return on investment by increasing insulation levels from R-30 to R-49 are marginal and may not warrant the additional investment.
Increasing insulation does make sense in most cases. For an 1,800-sqare-foot home with R-11 insulation and using a 14 SEER heating system, increasing insulation levels to R-38 would reduce energy usage from 985 kWh to 821 kWh per month and reduce energy costs by $20 per month. See charts below.
Energy Savers – Tips on Saving Energy and Money at Home
(Produced by the US Dept. of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy)
Electricity is an important part of our lives. The computer you’re using right now would be worthless without it. In fact, electricity is so easy to take for granted, we sometimes overlook the fact that we’re still in the driver’s seat when it comes to controlling the amount we use.
Here are some of the most proven ways to control your energy use:
Thermostat setting – 68 and 78 are numbers to remember
In the summer, keep your thermostat set at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winter, the recommended setting is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. For each degree below the recommended setting in the summer – or above the recommended setting in the winter – energy consumption increases by about six to eight percent. Consider a programmable thermostat that raises or lowers the temperature by about five degrees when your home is unoccupied.
Keep air conditioning filters clean
Check your filters every month. A filter clogged with dust and lint won’t operate as efficiently – plus, you’re more likely to have service problems with the unit.
Schedule a tour of your ductwork
If you’ve never inspected your ductwork, make plans to tour the attic – preferably before the weather gets too hot or cold. Look for leaks where the air duct attaches to the air conditioning unit and where ducts are joined together. You can seal duct joints with special duct tape. Supply ducts should be insulated and vapor sealed when located in a space that is unconditioned.
And while you’re in the attic . . .
Proper attic ventilation will help remove unwanted heat in the summer and unwanted moisture all year long. Make sure you have eave vents used in conjunction with ridge, gable or roof vents.
Take time to caulk and roll (with a roll of weather-stripping, of course)
One of the least expensive and most effective things you can do to prevent energy waste is to seal cracks around doors and windows. Make sure there is full weather-stripping around doors, windows and the attic stairway opening. Use caulk to seal small cracks around windows.
Plant a tree or two or three
Homes with numerous windows should use blinds, solar screens, shades, draperies or awnings to block direct sunlight. If you have many windows on the west side of your house, consider planting trees or shrubs to block the sun’s rays. Remember, all heat buildup in your home has to be removed by the air conditioners.
Shopping for a new air conditioner? Check its rating
Manufacturers are required to publish efficiencies based on the SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. We recommend a minimum SEER of 16.0 for central air conditioners and heat pumps.
Insulation is the key
On a chilly night, a blanket helps keep you warm by trapping a layer of heated air next to you. Insulation works the same way, only in the summer, it works in reverse by keeping heat outside the home. If your home is not insulated – or doesn’t have the proper level of insulation for your climate – you can reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home by adding insulation. Insulation is available in blankets, batts or pouring or blowing wool. Obviously, the best time to insulate a home is when it is being constructed or remodeled.
Fire away at energy loss
A fireplace is an attractive addition to any home, but it can be a real energy waster if you forget to close the damper when it isn’t being used. A glass door for your fireplace will also help prevent energy loss.
Stay out of hot water with these tips
Anywhere from 14 to 20 percent of the total energy used in a home is used in heating water. To make sure that energy isn’t being wasted, make sure your faucets aren’t leaking. Also, showers generally use less hot water than baths. Your main unit should be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a separate water heater for the bathroom, keep it set at 110 to 120 degrees to save energy. If your water heater is located in an unconditioned area, install an insulation blanket around it. These blankets can cut energy for heating water by up to 10 percent.
Most appliances and other electrical equipment have a nameplate that indicates the power requirements.
To calculate the wattage for any appliance, use the formulas below:
For single phase equipment (any residential equipment):
Watts = volts x amps
For three phase equipment (found in some commercial and most industrial equipment):
Watts = volts x amps x 1.732 (1.732 is the square root of 3)
To determine the cost of running an appliance, use these formulas:
Wattage x Hours Used / 1000 = kWh
KWh x cost of electricity = cost