Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Window A/C rebates

September 25th, 2014
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WindowAC

Summer's officially over, but if you're still trying to cool your heels in the isles, Hawaii Energy is offering $50 rebates for anyone who trades up to an EnergyStar-rated window air conditioner.

Hawaii Energy, a ratepayer-funded energy conservation and efficiency program, is offering a $50 rebate for individuals who swap out an old working unit for a more energy efficient one. They're available on a first-come, first-served basis, but the perk is free pick-up and haul-away of the old A/C unit.

The rebates are available on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, but not Lanai or Molokai (sorry, folks).

To qualify, your unit must be EnergyStar rated and have an energy efficiency ratio of 10.8 or higher.

It's easy.

1. Pick up an application at the time of purchase of an EnergyStar A/C unit from participating retailers, including Lowe's, Sears, NEX, Home Depot and City Mill.

2. Schedule a pick-up of your old A/C unit for recycling by calling 537-5577 or (877) 231-8222.

3. Send your completed rebate application and original receipt via snail mail to Hawaii Energy, P.O. Box 3920, Honolulu, HI 96812. The rebate should arrive in the mail in eight to 10 weeks.

The switch could save you about $80 per year on your electric bill (though savings vary depending on the make, model and usage of your window A/C unit).

If you're getting a split-air A/C system, there are $150 rebates available for variable refrigerant flow air conditioners up to 24,000 BTU, and $250 rebates for units from 24,001 to 36,000 BTU. They must have a minimum SEER rating of 16.

Questions? See if the answer is in the FAQ list.

 

Crowdfunding works for YWCA

July 22nd, 2014
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The YWCA of Oahu, which raised its goal of nearly $15,000 for a lighting efficiency project through WEfficiency.

The YWCA of Oahu, which raised its goal of nearly $15,000 for a lighting efficiency project through WEfficiency. Photo courtesy YWCA of Oahu.

The Blue Planet Foundation's WEfficiency crowdfunding platform has paid off for the YWCA of Oahu's Laniakea facility at 1040 Richards St.

Through Wefficiency, the YWCA was able to obtain a combination of donations and loans for nearly $15,000 for a high efficiency lighting project. The lighting upgrade is expected to shave about $8,500 a year on the electricity bill.

"The YWCA of Oahu is so humbled by the overwhelming support of the community in funding our WEfficiency campaign," said YWCA's director of fund development Wendy Chang. "The money we save on energy will go directly into the services that help to empower women from all walks of life."

A portion of savings will be used to pay back loans, with the first repayments within six months. Loanators can shift the loan to another non-profit group's campaign, if they desire, via WEfficiency.

For instance, Damien Memorial School and Hawaii Public Radio, are also campaigning for energy-efficient retrofits via WEfficiency.  Damien needs another $8,000 to reach a $12,000 goal. HPR needs another $5,000 for its $11,000 goal.

If you're a non-profit interested in participating in WEfficiency, email info@weffiency.org

Free pilot energy program

June 4th, 2014
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Hawaii Energy and People Power are looking for 600 Oahu residents to test out its home energy management system for a year. For free. Courtesy image.

Hawaii Energy and People Power are looking for 600 Oahu residents to test out its home energy management system for a year. For free. Courtesy image.

Ouch. The Hawaiian Electric Co. is raising everyone's monthly bill by an average of $4.89 as part of a "decoupling" move. It won't matter whether you used more or less for the month — everyone is going to have to foot that extra fee. That's the bad news.

But there's some good news.

There's a cool technology being offered by Hawaii Energy (a ratepayer-funded conservation and efficiency program) in partnership with a Palo Alto, Calif.-based tech company called People Power. And they're offering it for up to 600 Oahu residents, for free.

That's right. Free.

There's not much you can get for free any more these days. People Power is looking for 600 Oahu residents to test out a home energy management system for a year, which can potentially save participants as much as 20 percent on their electric bill. The system comes with a mobile app — called Presence (which turns iOS devices into remotely monitored video cameras) — and Monster Central smart plugs. They're valued at about $300 or more.

By the end of the program, participants get to keep the Presence Pro Energy kit.

But there are only about half of the spaces left, and you do need to qualify.

To qualify, you need a smartphone or tablet, a home WiFi connection with an available port on your Wireless Internet router. You can still qualify even if you have solar water or solar PV.

Sign up at www.Oahu.PresencePro.com.

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WEfficiency: Crowdfunding to help non-profits

May 30th, 2014
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Crowdfunding is such the thing to do these days.

Now, with the Blue Planet Foundation's launch of WEfficiency, you can donate or loan money to a non-profit group, specifically with the intention of helping it become more energy-efficient.

It's a win-win because a $1 donation can turn into $4 in energy savings. A $10,000 lighting retrofit, for example, can save the non-profit up to $40,000 over its lifetime. The non-profit's investment in energy efficiency measures results in immediate energy savings.

You can opt to give the non-profit a loan (called a "loanation") and get your money back, or you can give an outright donation.

loanation

The first three non-profits that are giving WEfficiency a shot are YWCA Laniakea, Damien Memorial School and Hawaii Public Radio.

To boost the kick-off of WEfficiency, Hawaii Energy, a ratepayer-funded energy conservation program , is offering matching "loanations."

Gov. Neil Abercrombie joined Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Blue Planet foundation board of directors in presenting the first "loanations" to representatives from the three non-profit groups last Thursday (May 22) to kick off the program.

In 2013, WEfficiecy, which was developed by Honolulu-based solutions agency Sudokrew, was formally recognized as a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.

To make a "loanation," visit www.wefficiency.org.

 

Hands Across the Sand Rally

May 15th, 2014
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World champion bodysurfer and lifeguard Mark Cunningham, left, with IV full of oil attached to his arm. Longboard champ Kelia Moniz, seated, right. Poster and campaign by Surfrider Foundation's Rafael Bergstrom.

The Surfrider Foundation, Sierra Club and Livable Communities Hawaii are hosting a Hands Across the Sand Rally from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ala Moana Beach Park this Saturday (May 17).

Participants will join hands and form a long line in the sand to say "No" to dirty fossil fuels and "Yes" to clean, renewable energy. There will also be guest speakers, food and networking.

Hands Across the Sand, established four years ago after the disastrous BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is held each year at beaches and coastal areas across the U.S. and the world. The goal, according to founder Dave Rauschkolb, is to "bring organizations and individuals together to send a powerful message to leaders that expanding oil drilling in our oceans is a dirty, dangerous endeavor."

"Every oil spill endangers the coastal tourism industries, ravages the sea life and seafood industry and impacts the lives of every person in its path for generations."

Participants in Honolulu hope to send a clear signal to government officials and the Hawaiian Electric Co. management that it's time to move beyond the state's costly dependence on imported oil and toward locally produced energy sources.

"Here in Hawaii, this issue is especially urgent because our utility is slowing the rate of solar adoption," said Caitlin Pomerantz of the Sierra Club in a press release. "Meanwhile, electricity rates are skyrocketing as we continue to get over 90 percent of our energy from imported fossil fuels. Increasing access to rooftop solar helps Hawaii achieve energy independence, lower energy costs and reduce our contribution to climate change; that's why 94 percent of Hawaii residents support it."

Participants at the rally will start a petition to hold HECO accountable for a deadline set by the Public Utilities Commission, which directs it to speed up the adoption of rooftop solar within the next 120 days.

To learn more about the Hands Across the Sand Rally, visit www.fb.com/events/461571387310260/

 

 

Rally for clean energy

April 30th, 2014
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Hundreds of students showed up for a clean energy rally on Earth Day (April 22). Courtesy photo.

Hundreds of students showed up for a clean energy rally on Earth Day (April 22). Courtesy photo.

It's great to see students taking an active part in their own future.

On Earth Day (April 22), more than 270 middle school, high school and university students converged at Hawaii State Capitol for a clean energy rally hosted by the Blue Planet Foundation.

They waved signs along Beretania Street, advocating for a clean energy future powered by local, renewable energy sources to end Hawaii's dependency on fossil fuels.

Blue Planet believes it is critical for Hawaii to embrace innovative clean energy strategies now more than ever. Time is running out, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has issued three reports in the last seven months.

Students from throughout Oahu — both public and private  — including Farrington High School, Waialua High and Intermediate, Nanakuli High and Intermediate, Leilehua High School, Hawaii Pacific University, Hongwanji Mission School, ‘Iolani School and Le Jardin Academy, participated.

They collaborated with artists DrewToonz and Michal Abramovitz to create  signs saying, "We have the power" and "We are the future."

Rep. Chris Lee, Blue Planet founder Henk Rogers, and students at the Clean Energy Rally on April 22, 2014 (Earth Day). Courtesy photo.

Rep. Chris Lee, Blue Planet founder Henk Rogers, and students at the Clean Energy Rally on April 22, 2014 (Earth Day). Courtesy photo.

"These students will inherit the consequences of the choices we're making and the actions we're taking today," said Blue Planet Foundation CEO Jeff Mikulina. "They realize it's their future at stake, and they see the opportunity in switching from dirty energy to clean energy, from dependence to independence.

Among clean energy policies under consideration this session is Senate Bill 2934, a measure to establish a community solar program. The program would enable renters, residents living in condos and apartments, and homeowners on saturated circuits to invest in solar electricity located off their property. Similar programs have been enacted in 10 other states.

To learn more, visit blueplanetfoundation.org/communitysolar.

Students from Le Jardin Academy hold up signs saying, "We are the future." Courtesy photo.

Students from Le Jardin Academy hold up signs saying, "We are the future." Courtesy photo.

Hawaii businesses: Save energy plus LED exit signs

March 31st, 2014
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Universal LED Exit sign from www.simplyexitsigns.com.

Universal LED Exit sign from www.simplyexitsigns.com. Swapping to an LED exit sign can save a business substantial electricity costs plus qualify for a $40 rebate from Hawaii Energy.

Attention, Hawaii businesses.

Did you know swapping out your older, incandescent exit sign for an LED one can save you $80 to $100 a year? It's a no-brainer. Plus Hawaii Energy's offering up to $40 in additional incentive to businesses that do so from now until May 31.

An Energy Star LED exit sign uses only about 44 kilowatt hours annually compared to 350 kilowatt hours for an incandescent sign — about 87 percent in savings.

It's as simple as that.

The exit signs, a legally-required safety feature in case of an emergency, are on 24 hours a day throughout the year.

Businesses must complete an application and submit a paid invoice or show proof of purchase to qualify for the incentive.

Also, Hawaii Energy is offering small businesses and restaurants an opportunity to replace their old lighting with newer, energy-efficient ones for free from now until June 9. Incandescent bulbs and halogen lighting are swapped out for CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes).

To qualify, businesses must have an individual meter and be on an electric rate schedule G, or occupy a workspace of less than 5,000 square feet. Restaurants on any electric rate schedule or of any size can qualify.

Pagoda took advantage of Hawaii Energy's lighting retrofit program to save costs. Courtesy photo.

Pagoda took advantage of Hawaii Energy's lighting retrofit program to save costs. Courtesy photo.

Pagoda Floating Restaurant participated in the program, and expects to save about $14,400 a year.

Visit www.hawaiienergy.com/retrofit to apply.

Lighting can account for nearly half of a retail businesses' overall electricity costs at 48 percent. For offices, it's about 27 percent, and for restaurants, about 18 percent.

Hawaii Energy's Small Business Direct Install Lighting program, launched in July 2011, has helped 1,790 small businesses and restaurants throughout the state — from hardware stores to surf shops, art galleries and bakeries. The program provides free consultation, lighting and installation.

Hawaii Energy is a ratepayer-funded energy conservation and efficiency program serving the isles of Hawaii, Lanai, Maui, Molokai and Oahu.

Visit www.hawaiienergy.com/lighting or call 839-8800 to learn more. On neighbor isles, call 877-231-8222.

Clean energy jobs

March 12th, 2014
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Star-Advertiser file photo.

Workers install a solar photovoltaic panel on to a rooftop. Star-Advertiser file photo.

Let's hear it for clean energy jobs.

Hawaii ranked no. 3 among the top 10 states for clean energy job postings last year, and was also among the top 10 in the fourth quarter of last year, according to a report by nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

California ranked No. 1, followed by Texas at No. 2.

But there's certainly room for improvement.

The E2 report cites a survey revealing overwhelming public support for solar energy as well as opposition to a hookup fee in Hawaii. HECO, meanwhile, seeks approval for six more renewable energy projects in the state.

Click here for the Brookings fact sheet detailing clean job growth and wages in Hawaii. Brookings ranked Hawaii 45th among 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of its overall size (with 11,113 clean jobs). The estimated median wage in Hawaii's clean economy is $42,235 compared to $38,615 for all jobs in Hawaii.

Among the statewide facts the E2 report listed for Hawaii:

>> Hawaii has 916 megawatt hours of renewable generation, with the potential for 2.9 million Gigawatt hours (equal to 1 billion watt hours)of renewable energy.

>> A sampling of Hawaii job announcements include positions for a solar facility on Kauai, a retrofit of state airports, a wind farm on Oahu and a solar farm at Kalealoa.

There was no mention of Oahu's rail transit project.

Nationwide, Environmental Entrepreneurs tracked more than 78, 600 clean energy and clean transportation job announcements in 2013. Solar power generation was the year's top sector, with more than 21,600 jobs announced. Other strong sectors included building efficiency and public transportation.

"Our report makes it clear," said E2 executive director Judith Albert. "When we invest in clean energy and clean transportation, we put people to work in every corner of the country. Whether it's a new wind farm in Iowa, an energy efficiency retrofit in Massachusetts, or a utility-scale solar array in Nevada, these projects require American ingenuity and labor. The sector is helping stimulate our economy."

See the full report at www.CleanEnergyWorksForUs.org.

Solar Love

February 14th, 2014
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candyheart_interconnectme

"Roses are red, violets are blue. I like my energy green. How about you?"

Today, Valentine's Day, customers plan to send "love notes" to dozens of Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO), Maui Electric Co. (MECO) and Hawaii Electric Light (HELCO) employees.

The customers are lamenting the fact that they are still waiting — to connect their rooftop solar photovoltaic systems — to the grid.

A recent poll demonstrated that 96 percent of people in Hawaii support or strongly support efforts to make solar power more available, according to Robert Harris, director of the Sierra Club of Hawaii.

"We hope hundreds of customer voices will cause Hawaiian Electric employees to feel the solar love, and commit to building a modern, 21st century grid that can handle more intermittent power," said Harris in a press release.

House Bill 1943 requires the Public Utilities Commission to initiate a proceeding no later than July 1, discussing upgrades to the Hawaii electric system for anticipated growth in solar electricity generated by customers. The bill is making its way through the Hawaii State Legislature's House.

Rather than frame the issue as a battle between solar PV customers and non-solar PV customers (because non-solar customers will have to subsidize upgrades to the system), we should be asking why HECO isn't taking the responsibility of modernizing the grid.

I love solar, and I want you to have it (and love it), too. XOXO

candyheart_solarbaby

Solar parking arrays

January 23rd, 2014
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Covered parking solar array at Liliha Square provides shade and lowers electricity costs. Courtesy image.

Covered parking solar array at Liliha Square provides shade and lowers electricity costs. Courtesy image.

There's a cool new trend in Honolulu's parking structures.

RevoluSun just installed a 155-kilowatt solar PV system atop a carport at Liliha Square Shopping Center. While it's not the first carport solar array for Oahu, it's a growing trend among Honolulu commercial property owners, according to the solar company.

It makes sense.

After all, why not use the top space of a parking structure as a way to lower your utility costs while providing shade?

RevoluSun can also create a custom-designed cover for an open parking structure.

Last year, the company created a shaded, waterproof roof for the top level of the uncovered parking structure at AIPA (Airport Industrial Park Associates). The 280-kilowatt system helps AIPA save money on its overall electricity costs.

"Essentially, business owners are killing three birds with one stone," said RevoluSun principal Eric Carlson. "by creating shade from the hot Hawaiian sun and in some cases, a waterproof roof from our frequent Hawaiian drizzles; the solar panels generate clean, renewable electricity; and saves the owner money on their electric bills."

Other parking structure solar systems by RevoluSun:

>> Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, 280-kilowatt system.

>> HECO Ward Avenue Charging Station, nine-panels, with a battery storage system.