By Josh Mitchell
Residential Energy Adviser
If you’re considering building a home in Chelan County, I’ve got two questions for you: Are you interested in building the least efficient home that code inspectors will allow you to occupy? Or are you interested in building a home that saves on your electric bills, is healthier to live in and will be easier to sell when you’re ready to move?
If you answered “yes” to the last question, Chelan PUD is ready to help you build a better home, and provide a $2,000 incentive for doing so.
Chelan PUD has created a pilot program to encourage homebuilders to go beyond energy codes. The PUD is offering $2,000 each for up to 10 homes each year over the next two years. To qualify, builders need to show, by modeling energy use, that the home will use 20% less energy than a home that meets current energy codes.
Beyond the financial incentive, the PUD is ready with resources, including typical ways to meet the higher efficiency standard, to help builders reach the target.
The best time to upgrade your home’s efficiency is when you’re building it. Your home will be around for the next 100 years. Over the life of the home, upgrading to a triple-pane window or putting in a ductless heat pump instead of a traditional heat pump will pay off, even with our low rates in Chelan County.
As the PUD’s Residential Energy Adviser, I understand that it costs more – around $10,000 more -- to build a more efficient home. But a simple return on investment is not the only thing to consider; there are added benefits. Studies show that homes sealed tighter than required by code have better indoor air quality. These homes are less drafty and more comfortable. Resale value is higher. Homes with a green certification spend less time on the market when it’s time to sell.
It’s likely that the greatest benefit to you as a customer-owner of Chelan PUD is that using less energy over time will continue to keep our local power rates low. As Chelan County grows and the size of homes increases, there is a need for more and more infrastructure (such as wires and substations). A larger population and homes that are bigger will use more energy within the county and could cause less power to be sold on the wholesale market (wholesale sales subsidize retail rates).
Builders can get a home certified as "green" through multiple programs in Washington. The PUD can help find the right fit. (One recommendation: https://betterbuiltnw.com/)
We’d like to help you build a home that’s better for you, now and in the future. Please contact our Customer Energy Solutions team or reach out to me directly at (509) 661-4380 or firstname.lastname@example.org.