Category Archives: Energy Efficiency

Cash-for-clunker appliance funds go quickly

If you haven’t taken advantage of the rebate for energy-efficient appliances yet, you may be out of luck.

The manager of the rebate program, Brenda Buchan, says less than $3 million of $17.5 million in rebates remained up for grabs on Friday. She expected the rest to be gone by Saturday morning.

The “Cash for Appliances” program offers a 20 percent rebate off the price of new energy-efficient appliances, including washers, dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators. There are also $75 rebates for recycling appliances.

The program launched at 11 a.m. Friday and was to run through April 25 or whenever funds ran out.

NASA joins FP&L in solar venture

Space just got a little brighter.

NASA joined Florida Power & Light Company to commission the Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center. The new solar photovoltaic power facility is the result of a unique public-private partnership between NASA and FPL and demonstrates both organizations’ commitment to bringing clean-energy solutions to Florida.

The Center is located at Kennedy Space Center and is producing an estimated 10 megawatts of clean, emissions-free power, which is enough energy to serve approximately 1,100 homes. Continue reading

An all-consuming Florida

Last month, I did a post on Tampa Bay ranking at the bottom of the “Green Cities” list.

Turns out, Florida (as a state) doesn’t fare so well either. It ranks third in overall energy use nationwide, only behind Texas and California. The report was issued by the New York State Energy Research Development Authority, which looked at both energy use and energy efficiency.

New York is the second most energy-efficient state in the United States on a per-capita basis, behind Rhode Island. The least-efficient states are Wyoming and Alaska, ranked 50th and 51th, respectively. The study includes Washington, D.C.

Rebate website revealed

If you’re looking to buy new appliances, take to the stores next week when the Energy Star appliance rebate program kicks in. (Check out this post for an update on what qualifies)

Dont’ forget to register online first, though.  Because there is a limited amount of available rebates, Crist is urging consumers to visit the Web site www.rebates.com/florida to begin reserving rebate funds by obtaining a priority number. Based on the amount of funds reserved, the Web site will countdown the remaining available rebates.

Florida is offering $17.5 million in rebates on about 68,000 different appliances purchased April 16-25.

“Making these purchases this month will benefit consumers, businesses and our entire state economy, as well as increase energy and water savings for years to come,” Crist said in a news release.

Consumers can receive rebates of up to $1,500 per household. Rebates will be given in the form of a prepaid American Express card, which can be exchanged for a check or electronic funds transfer.

Green for everyone

One of the most common talking points with “green” experts is all about tackling the myth that green equals expensive, and that green is for the rich.

To the contrary, simple home adjustments can save homeowners of any economic status lost of money. And now there is research to prove it.

The 21st Century Living Project took a sample of 100 representative families in London and gave them 500 euros to  spend in any way they wished; the only caveat was that it must be spent  in order to reduce their environmental footprint.

From BusinessGreen.com:

The project, which was carried out by retailer Homebase, Cornwall’s Eden Project, green consultancy Acona and the University of Surrey, found that over 80 per cent of the households took action to curb their energy use, while average recycling rates for the group rose from 58 per cent at the start of the project to 63 per cent by the end.

Speaking to BusinessGreen.com, Rosi Watson, head of corporate responsibility for Homebase’s parent company Home Retail Group, said the project also revealed that households took a similar degree of action regardless of their attitude towards the environment.

“The big conclusion from the research is that this is a mass market opportunity,” she said. “There’s always been this big confection that this is a niche middle class market, but we found over 80 per cent took some action to save energy and it was actually lower income households that took the most action.”

The study also found that households delivered the most significant improvements when they received personalized advice from energy efficiency experts and were supplied with a thermal image of their home revealing where the most energy was being wasted.

“People really wanted personalized advice tailored to their home,” said Watson. “The challenges vary so much from building to building that generic advice can be pretty ineffective.”

This is the sort of project I’d like to see around this area… it’s a practical and real way to reach the middle class that the green movement really needs to catch on.

Energy efficiency programs needed for all

State House Rep. Joe Gibbons recently addressed the critical need that low-income utility customers have for expanded energy efficiency programs.  As demonstrated in a  recent study by Florida Power & Light , low-income residents participate in energy efficiency programs at the same rate as other income groups.  A few excerpts from his essay.

“A failure to achieve greater energy efficiency hurts all of Florida’s electricity customers, particularly low- and fixed-income customers, because it deprives them of the help they need to reduce their electricity bills.”

“Making efficiency programs available to low-income residents is especially valuable because those groups pay a greater share of their income on energy bills compared with more affluent residents. Efficiency saves twice – cutting utility bills and helping the homeowner or renter cut energy waste.”

“What’s more, implementing energy efficiency creates jobs – especially critical in a state approaching 12-percent unemployment. Improving efficiency requires a work force of electricians, air conditioning installers, carpenters, roofers and more to deliver the services and products that reduce customer bills. Efficiency can add nearly 20,000 Florida jobs by achieving 15-percent energy savings by 2020, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.”

“Any way you look at it, efficiency should play a larger role in the lives of Floridians. The savings are especially critical to lower-income customers. While the PSC has taken a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to make efficiency opportunities even more widely available to customers.”

You can read the whole essay, published in the Tallahassee Democrat here.

SPC to soak up sunshine

This is a Creative Loafing repost.

St. Petersburg College will begin installing its first photovoltaic system on the Clearwater campus today.

The system, which will generate renewable power for the electrical grid, will be installed on the roof of the LEED Gold Natural Science, Mathematics and College of Education building, already one of Tampa bay’s most environmentally friendly buildings. Installation should take about a week.

“The 3.5 kilowatt thin-film solar blanket will be the first commercial installation of the new generation of solar collection systems installed in this area,” said Jason Green, SPC Sustainability Coordinator. “The installation demonstrates St Petersburg College’s dedication to finding solutions to the global warming issue.” Continue reading