Truckee is taking action on energy efficiency. While the Town explores new local building requirements through a reach code (to learn more about reach codes, visit our Reach Code FAQs), our local utilities and the State are offering money back on home and business energy improvements, as well as incentives for contractors to install efficient electric technology. The aim of these incentive programs is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from building energy use while improving public health. Read on to learn about the incentives and how you can take advantage of them!
Community GHG Emissions Sources. From the Town of Truckee’s 2016 GHG Emissions Inventory
WHAT ARE THE INCENTIVES?
From the Truckee Donner Public Utilities District
- Money back on Energy Star rated electric appliances, heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, induction cooktops, EV chargers, electric panel upgrades, efficient toilets and building envelope upgrades. You can now apply online for these rebates. For more information about the available technology, see section below.
- Money back on water leak repairs
- FREE remote home energy audits that provide homeowners with tips to save on their energy bills and reduce energy use (COMING SOON)
- Energy Savings Assistance Program for income-eligible customers. Provides an energy assessment along with installation of qualifying home weatherization measures (Currently undergoing updates – STAY TUNED!)
- Commercial rebate programs (COMING SOON in Spring 2022)
From Liberty Utilities
- FREE home and business energy audits that provide home or business owners with tips to save on their energy bills and reduce energy use. Includes an energy efficiency toolkit with LED lightbulbs, advanced energy strips and more.
- Money back on EV charger installations for residents and small business customers
- Commercial rebates for upgrading to energy efficient lighting, cooling, commercial kitchen equipment and refrigeration.
- Energy Savings Assistance Program for income-eligible customers. Provides an energy assessment along with installation of qualifying home weatherization measures.
From the Statewide TECH Incentive
- For single-family dwellings, enrolled contractors can earn $3,000 for any Heat Pump HVAC installation, and $3,100 or $1,000 for any HPWH installation, depending on gas or electric replacement, respectively.
- Click for additional program details and to enroll as a contractor
- Provides FREE assistance to local residents wanting to electrify their homes. Services include:
- Electrification roadmap consults (1 hour visit to your home or building to help you understand your best path to electrify)
- Recommendations for specific equipment replacements, provided by a registered Mechanical Engineer
- Lending of induction cooking ranges to “try before you buy”
- Answering typical FAQs – “what about the grid, what about power outages, etc.”
WHY SHOULD I WEATHERIZE MY HOME?
Making your home as efficient as possible will reduce the work that your heating system needs to do, thereby reducing your utility bills. A tight building envelope will also increase indoor air quality during wildfire season. Building envelope improvements include:
• Adding weather stripping around doors and caulk around windows.
• Adding insulation to your attic and walls.
• Properly sealing the ductwork throughout your home.
• Properly insulating the ducts in crawlspaces and attics.
• Installing and setting programmable thermostats to automatically lower the temperature at night in the cooler months and raise it in the warmer months, and adjust the temperature while you are away. Programmable thermostats can save you 10 percent annually on your energy bills.
Complete one of TDPUD or Liberty’s home energy audits to get tips on what measures will work best in your home, then take advantage of TDPUD’s rebates to weatherize your home.
WHAT IS THE TECHNOLOGY?
Heat pumps are electric heating and cooling systems that move heat indoors in the winter and draw heat outdoors in the summer. Instead of burning fossil fuels, they are powered by electricity to move, rather than to create, heat. Since heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling, they are a good option for residents who are replacing their furnaces and who also wish to install AC. Heat pumps have a reputation for not functioning well in cold climates (a legacy of old technology); however, today’s cold climate heat pumps are up to 400% efficient, while gas furnaces are only 82% efficient. Heat pumps can provide efficient heating at outdoor temperatures as low as -15 F.
Though a heat pump will not function when the electricity goes out, most gas furnaces will not either. Gas furnaces require electricity to run their circuit boards, relays and blower motors. Thus, it is important to maximize your home’s building envelope and to be prepared with back-up heat, regardless of whether you have a gas or electric heating system.
Click here to access a list of local contractors experienced with heat pump installations
Heat pump water heaters
Heat pump water heaters also use heat pump technology to transfer heat from one place to another, extracting heat from the air and moving it into a tank to heat water. As a result, heat pump water heaters are about 3.75 times more efficient than gas furnaces in Truckee’s climate zone, and 2-3 times more efficient than electric resistance heaters. These efficiency improvements translate to on-bill savings. Per pound of carbon dioxide avoided, switching from a gas to a heat pump water heater is the lowest cost way to reduce your home’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Due to Truckee’s relatively cold climate, it is recommended to utilize a 240V/30A heat pump hot water heater which has electric-resistance backup, and the largest tank size available – typically 80 gallons.
Click here to access a list of local contractors experienced with heat pump water heater installations
Induction uses electromagnets to heat pots and pans directly, so the stove will stay relatively cool even as the pot heats up. Benefits of induction stoves include zero toxins, faster cooking times, more precise temperature control, higher energy efficiency, (and thus lower utility bills) and ease of cleaning due to the flat cooktop. Induction cooktops are also safter to operate since there is no open flame and they shut off automatically once the cookware is removed. Though most pots and pans will work on induction stoves, cookware made solely of aluminum, copper, or glass will not.
By: Sara Sherburne, Sustainability Program Analyst