By Nina Wu
Molokai residents this morning lined up at Kaunakakai Regional Park to swap their old, clunker refrigerators for ENERGY STAR models at a significant discount price negotiated by the Blue Planet Foundation.
The options: An 18.3 cubic unit fridge for $250 or 25.2 cubic unit fridge for $750.
The newer, energy-efficient fridges are expected to save 56 households an average of $550 a year each, according to the foundation, which is close to $31,000 collectively.
It's all part of the foundation's "Hui up! program," which is being coordinated by Sust‘AINAble Moloka‘i. The goal was to help overcome cost barriers (shipping fridges to Molokai requires logistics).
The same group helped shepherd the CFL and incandescent light bulb swap throughout Molokai households last year — some 36,000 incandescent bulbs were replaced with CFLs.
Queen Lili‘uokalani Chidren's Center purchased fridges for two households.
The fridge swap started at 7 a.m. this morning and continues until 7 p.m.
Each Hui Up! participant also receives a Belkin Conserve Insight Energy Use Monitor.
Students from Alu LIke's Hoala Hou program for at-risk youth were trained to assess household energy use on Molokai in three training sessions earlier this year. The students will measure Hui Up! homes with the new fridges, and compare the energy usage to the old fridges.
Hui Up! is a program run by the Blue Planet Foundation in partnership with Hawaii Energy (which provided a $250 rebate for the purchase of energy-efficient fridges), Servco Home and Appliance Distribution and Maui Economic Opportunity. Financing for the rebates came from the DBEDT's energy office and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.