Spring 1999

Nebraska Energy Quarterly logo Nebraska Energy Quarterly gasoline pump

Rebuild Strikes Gold in Nebraska City and Hastings

In the past several months, the two-year Rebuild Otoe County effort...

"Nebraska City has many beautiful...

Since 1996, the Energy Office...

Keeping Your Cool This Summer...

Heating and cooling your home uses...

Look for the EnergyGuide label...

An Opportunity For Recycling Firms...

Nebraska's economic development agency...

5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans

Has the maximum interest rate...

What Are Energy Efficient Mortgages

Energy efficient mortgages are a type of...

The Energy Office has extra copies...

Copies of the Energy Office's Popular Guide...

IECC

The International Energy Conservation Code...

Noted and Quoted

"After winning the Secretary of the Army's conservation award...

Information Services and Resources

Worthwhile Web Sites, The Energy Efficiency and The Renewable Energy Clearinghouse and New Solar Publications...


Rebuild Strikes Gold in Nebraska City and Hastings

Nebraska City - In the past several months, the two-year Rebuild Otoe County effort has moved from concept to hard work to concrete results.

The Nebraska Energy Office's proposal for Rebuild Otoe County was awarded $100,000 in funding by the U.S. Department of Energy. This localized undertaking in Nebraska City aims to show owners of historically significant commercial and multi-family buildings ways to make these homes and businesses more energy efficient without destroying the architectural integrity of the vintage buildings.

Saving A Piece of History

By the end of March, the local Rebuild Otoe County coordinator, Amy Reese, had recruited four partners who owned five buildings. Three of these buildings are on the Historic Register or eligible for inclusion on the Register. These buildings date from the 1860s to the 1890s. Energy Office staff performed energy assessments of the buildings and provided the owners with suggested options along with methods of financing the improvements.

Rebuild Otoe County is not the first historical preservation project in the state the Energy Office has aided. In the 1980s, more than $625,000 in oil overcharge funds leveraged local funds to make energy efficiency improvements in five historically significant courthouses in Antelope, Gosper, Hamilton, Kimball and Pawnee Counties. The projects ranged from replacing windows to adding insulation to replacing heating and cooling systems and boilers.

For more information about Rebuild Otoe County, contact Amy Reese at River Country Economic Development Corporation at 402-873-4293 in Nebraska City.

Hastings

When you have nearly 1,350 lights in a multi-purpose commercial building, it is commonplace to get a four-figure electric bill every month.

Hastings' Landmark Center
Hastings' Landmark Center

That is just one of the reasons Bob Finnigsmier of Hastings' Landmark Center decided to look at ways to save on electricity use. Another reason was a firm that specialized in customized energy efficient lights offered to evaluate the Center's lighting to find ways in which the owners could save both energy and dollars.

The Landmark Center is 44 year-old building in Hastings. Originally the building housed the J.M. McDonald Co. warehouse and department store. Today, the Hastings Hall of History and Aspen Art Gallery occupy part of the space of the former department store.

After the review, the company recommended replacing more than 700 fixtures, ballasts and almost 1,350 fluorescent lamps of various sizes. "After we saw the report, we asked the company to verify all the costs and projected savings," Finnigsmier said. "Even then, we still wanted a second opinion. It's hard to imagine that simply changing lighting systems can save that much money or cost that much to replace."

Finnigsmier said the lighting company suggested contacting the Energy Office for both verification of the recommendations and accessing low-interest financing. According to Finnigsmier, the lighting company analysis suggested dollar savings could easily total more than $12,000 in a year. However, to change all the lighting systems recommended would cost more than $45,000.

The lighting report also suggested making the improvements would have positive environmental benefits. Based on an annual reduction of more than 250,000 kilowatthours of electricity used, the projected savings for just one year totaled:

  • 384,400+ pounds of carbon dioxide, a leading cause of global warming;
  • 1.486+ million grams of sulfur dioxide, the major component of acid rain;
  • 640,700+ grams of nitric oxide, the leading cause of smog and acid precipitation; and
  • 187,000+ pounds of coal.

A kilowatthour is a common measurement of electricity use and means one kilowatt of electricity supplied for one hour. Typical households without an electric water heater consume about 500 kilowatt-hours in an average month.

Partners Get More

Lynn Chamberlin in the Energy Office reviewed the lighting report on the Landmark Center and found the energy and dollar saving projections to be on target.

"When I went over the report with Landmark's owners," Chamberlin said, "I suggested the firm become a Rebuild Nebraska partner to enable them access to a low interest loan to finance the lighting improvements." Chamberlin is the primary Rebuild contact in Nebraska.

For Finnigsmier, the deciding factor to proceed with the improvements was the cash flow analysis in the lighting report. "The projected monthly dollar savings was far greater than the monthly loan payment," Finnigsmier said. "We could get new lighting systems, finance the purchase price with a 6 percent loan and still be able to pocket about $100 a month." The report showed the cost of some of the new lights could be recovered in less than two years. However, all the fluorescent fixtures would start paying for themselves after three and a half years.

The new lighting systems were installed in 1997. Since then, Finnigsmier has been keeping close tabs on his electric bills. His records show the Landmark's electric bills have averaged almost $750 a month less since the lighting improvements were made. The savings more than cover the loan payment. "Since we didn't make all the changes recommended by the lighting company," Finnigsmier said, "our average savings are a little lower than projected. But, we are still dollars ahead."

Finnigsmier recommended that other businesses with high energy costs, consider contacting their local utility or the state's Energy Office to find ways to reduce energy use. "It's just plain foolish not to," Finnigsmier said. "Who wants to spend more than what is needed to run a business?"

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torn paper

Through the Looking Glass

“Nebraska City has many beautiful historic buildings. Some of them have been turned into quaint apartments for several families.”

“Their upkeep, however, is difficult, because redoing electrical, heating, air conditioning and even the structure of the building is time consuming and expensive.”

“Sometimes, property owners can't even find contractors to do the work, because many of the skills used to build large structures 100 years ago have been replaced or died from lack of need.”

“Rebuild Otoe County... is the notion that these wonderful buildings can be renovated to be energy efficient with a little help from the state and federal government.”

“Through the Looking Glass” Columnist Patti Jo Peterson, Nebraska City News Press, February 19, 1999

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What is Rebuild Nebraska?

Rebuild Nebraska logo

Since 1996, the Energy Office has received three competitive federal Rebuild America grants totaling $450,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy. Of this amount, $100,000 was awarded for Rebuild Otoe County.

Rebuild Nebraska partners are owners of commercial or multi-family buildings who voluntarily agree to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy costs in existing buildings. The Energy Office offers partners access to services such as free assessments of energy use and low-cost loans for making improvements.

One of the key barriers to making energy efficiency improvements can be access to affordable financing. Under Rebuild Nebraska and Rebuild Otoe County, the agency attempts to eliminate this barrier where possible by extending access to 5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans for larger commercial ventures. The agency also provides a customer-specific listing of financing options available to each partner.

118 And Counting

As of the end of March, the Energy Office had secured 118 Rebuild partners across the state. The agency has completed 87 energy assessments on 351 buildings totaling 3.67 million square feet. Since Nebraska began Rebuild, the agency has consistently ranked in the top three states nationally in performance measurements.

The agency is on track to meet the original goal of 150 partners by the end of June.

For more information about Rebuild Nebraska, contact Lynn Chamberlin in the Energy Office.

Rebuild Nebraska partners
118 Rebuild Nebraska partners

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Keeping Your Cool This Summer

Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home.

Typically, 44 percent of your utility bill goes for heating and cooling. What's more, heating and cooling systems in the United States together emit more than a half billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. They also generate about 24 percent of the nation's sulfur dioxide and 12 percent of the nitrogen oxides, the chief ingredients in acid rain.

No matter what kind of heating, ventilation and air conditioning system you have in your house, you can save money and increase comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, an energy efficient furnace alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole house approach. By combining proper equipment maintenance and improvements with appropriate insulation, weatherization and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy bills and your pollution output in half.

Bigger Isn't Always Better

It might surprise you to know that buying a bigger air conditioning unit won't necessarily make you feel more comfortable during the hot summer months. In fact, an air conditioner that is too big for the area it is supposed to cool will perform less efficiently and less effectively than a smaller, properly sized unit. This is because air conditioners work better and remove more humidity if they run for relatively long periods of time than if they are continually switching off and on. Longer run times allow air conditioners to maintain a more constant room temperature and reduce humidity better.

Sizing is equally important for central air conditioning systems and needs to be done by professionals. If you have a central air system in your home, set the fan to shut off at the same time as the cooling unit or compressor. In other words, don't use the system's central fan to provide circulation because it will return humidity to the living spaces. Instead, use circulation fans in individual rooms.

Whole house fan
Whole house fan

Cool Tips

Other things you might want to consider to make this summer a cool one:

  • Whole house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. They are effective when operated at night and when the outside air is cooler than the inside.
  • Use ceiling fans and fans aimed at room occupants to provide additional cooling effect. A good breeze from a fan can make you feel four to eight degrees cooler because it increases evaporation from your skin: one of the primary methods by which your body cools itself. And turn off fans when you leave a room. Fans don't actually cool the air they just make you feel cooler and if you're not in the room it provides no benefit.
  • Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • Don't set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
  • Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
  • Don't place lamps or television sets near your air conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units but be careful not to block the airflow.
  • Look for the Energy StarTM and EnergyGuide labels.

Editor's Note: These summer cooling tips are compiled from several sources including Energy Savers: Tips on Saving Energy and Money at Home. Copies of Energy Savers are available from Jerry Loos in the Energy Office. This and other energy saving information is available at Energy Savers Tips

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Things to Look for When Buying Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

Energy Star logo

Air Source Heat Pumps

Look for the EnergyGuide label that contains the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF. The former measures energy efficiency during the cooling season and the latter measures energy efficiency during the heating season. If the heat pump has earned an Energy Star® label, the product is in the top 25 percent for efficiency. To finance the purchase of a heat pump with a 5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loan, the SEER rating must be at least 12.00 and the HSPF must be at least 7.80.

Energy Guide example
Energy Guide example

Central Air Conditioners

Look for the EnergyGuide label with a SEER rating for central air conditioners. To earn an Energy Star®, the minimum efficiency level is 12 SEER. These exceed federal energy efficiency standards by at least 20 percent. Air conditioners that bear the Energy Star® label may be twice as efficient as some existing systems. Dollar and Energy Saving Loans can finance central air conditioners that have a SEER of 12.00 or higher.

Room Air Conditioners

Look for the EnergyGuide label with an Energy Efficiency Ratio, or EER. The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit. Energy Star® units are among the most energy efficient products. Room air conditioners financed with Dollar and Energy Saving Loans must have an EER of 10.0 or higher.

When buying a room air conditioner, consider these factors:

  • Buy a correctly sized or slightly undersized unit. The table below provides a rough guide for sizing room air conditioners in moderate to poorly insulated buildings.
  • If your building is well insulated, you should select a unit with fewer Btus per hour.
Area in Square Feet Btu/hour
100 to 150 5,000
150 to 250 6,000
250 to 350 7,000
350 to 400 9,000
400 to 450 10,000
450 to 550 12,000
550 to 700 14,000
700 to 1,000 18,000
Notes:
  • If the room is very sunny, increase capacity by 10 percent.
  • If the unit is for a kitchen, increase the capacity by 4,000 Btu per hour.

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An Opportunity For Recycling Firms

Nebraska's economic development agency is seeking recycling firms that need investors. The investors, as well as venture capitalists, bankers, corporate investors, economic and business developers, will be coming to the second annual Midwest Recycling Investment Forum in late September in Cincinnati.

Recycling firms in Nebraska interested in meeting with these investors need to apply by June 21 to the state's Department of Economic Development to be able to present business plans and display products and services at the fall Forum.

Getting A Once Over

"Firms selected to attend the Investment Forum will have an opportunity to refine their presentation skills and be introduced to effective marketing approaches," recycling economic development advocate Pat Langan said.

Firms applying to attend will be competing against similar companies in 13 other states that are part of the Mid-America Council of Recycling Officials. States in the group stretch from Pennsylvania to Kentucky to Kansas to North Dakota. The group encourages the development of regionally effective programs and policies aimed at recycling, market development, source reduction and recycled content purchases.

The Investment Forum is being held in conjunction with the National Recycling Coalition's 18th Annual Congress and Exposition. The Investment Forum is funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information on the Forum and application materials, contact Pat Langan at the Department of Economic Development at 800-426-6505 or 402-471-3766 or by email at Pat Langan

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The Nebraska Energy Quarterly features questions asked about 6% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans.

Loan forms may be obtained from participating lenders or the Energy Office.

Questions and Answers...
Ben Franklin on a $100 bill

5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans

Has the maximum interest rate for Dollar and Energy Saving Loans been lowered?

Yes. Since February 1, 1995, the maximum interest rate for Dollar and Energy Saving Loans has been 6 percent. However, long-term interest rates have declined since 1995 and stabilized at lower levels. To keep loans competitive and continue to provide incentives for borrowers to make energy efficiency improvements in their homes and businesses, the interest rate on loans was reduced to 5 percent effective June 7, 1999.

Loan limits on single family and multi-family homes were also raised to $25,000 and $75,000 respectively.

Are there even lower rates available for loans for waste minimization projects in business operations?

Yes. Loans at 2.5 percent are available to Nebraska businesses and manufacturers, as well as Climate Wise and Rebuild Nebraska partners who have facilities in Nebraska to undertake eligible waste minimization projects. These loans are available for any projects that are completed and funded by December 31, 1999.

Eligible projects vary from pollution prevention assessments, projects to reduce air pollution, water pollution and water use reduction, solid waste reduction, recovery and reuse of solvents and waste oil, recycling equipment and compaction of waste prior to landfilling. For more information about these specialized loans, contact Kirk Conger in the Energy Office.

If an air conditioning system fails during the summer cooling season, can an immediate replacement be financed with a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan?

Yes. From April through October, the Energy Office will give emergency approval, if requested by the lender, for the installation of qualifying air conditioning equipment before the loan paperwork is processed. However, emergency approvals are given only when there is a medical reason to have the air conditioning.

A request for an emergency approval has to be accompanied by a statement from the borrower's doctor describing the medical necessity. In all emergency situations, the new equipment must meet the minimum standards of performance listed on Form 3 for the Heating, Cooling and Water Heating Projects.

How can buyers and homeowners find out the energy efficiency of their houses and what improvements could be made to reduce energy bills?

The Energy Office recently received funds from the U.S. Department of Energy to establish a home energy rating system in Nebraska. The Energy Office has certified home energy raters on staff and will provide a home energy rating on homes in Nebraska at no cost through the end of the year.

A home energy rating is a standard measurement of a home's energy efficiency and requires an on-site inspection by a certified rater. The energy rating allows the homeowner or buyer to easily compare energy costs with other homes and to evaluate and pinpoint cost-effective improvements. The rating is recognized by mortgage lenders and can be used to include the financing of energy saving improvements in a first mortgage.

The Energy Office and Fannie Mae are also assisting in the training and certification of raters elsewhere in Nebraska. By the end of the year, there will be 40 to 50 certified raters statewide available to conduct home energy ratings.

After the end of the year, the Energy Office will discontinue providing ratings at no cost. Those who have been trained and certified will then conduct ratings for a fee. The Energy Office will maintain the system, ensure quality control, archive ratings and train raters.

Contact Jack Osterman in the Energy Office for more information on home energy ratings.

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What Are Energy Efficient Mortgages?

Energy efficient mortgages are a type of mortgage that credits a home's energy efficiency in the financing of its purchase.

Two illustrations of an energy mortgage include:

  • Allowing the borrower a greater debt to income ratio; and
  • Giving the buyer the ability to acquire a higher quality home.

For homes where the energy efficiency can be improved, an energy mortgage allows the dollar savings from lower utility bills to finance energy improvements.

Shocking Origins

Energy efficient mortgages have their origins after the second oil shock. In the early 1980s, the federal government sought ways to increase energy efficiency opportunities.

The four major national lenders:

  • the Veterans Administration,
  • Housing and Urban Development,
  • Freddie Mac, and
  • Fannie Mae

began programs that focused on solar energy and other home improvements that were made before the close of escrow.

Demand for the mortgages in the 1980s languished because of lack of awareness, improvements had to be made before funding approval restrictions on the types of improvements.

However, demand for the mortgages increased in the 1990s because of increased emphasis by the federal government and significant changes by the lenders.

Stretching the Limits

Initially, energy efficient mortgages were simple two percentage point stretches, allowing borrowers of energy efficient homes to increase their debt to income ratio by two percent because of the lower utility costs.

An example of the two percentage stretch is illustrated below.

Example of Two Percent Stretch
Monthly
Income
Regular
Mortgage
Energy
Efficient
Mortgage
Increased
Purchasing
Power
$2,000 $62,500 $66,933 $4,433
$2,250 $70,223 $75,372 $5,149
$2,750 $83,667 $85,955 $5,578
$3,000 $93,678 $100,400 $6,722
Source: Energy Rated Homes of Alaska, Inc.

Now, energy efficient mortgages offered through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration allow buyers to finance the energy efficiency of a new home above its appraised value when the home energy rating exceeds the standards in the Model Energy Code. This allows buyers to purchase homes with prices that exceed Federal Housing Administration limits.

Energy Improvement Mortgage

Another type of energy mortgage is an energy improvement mortgage. Generally, these mortgages are used for existing homes, not newly-built ones. This mortgage provides financing for cost effective improvements, recommended in an energy audit or home energy rating at the time of sale or refinancing.

Typically, an energy rater inspects the home and makes recommendations on cost effective improvements. The funds for the improvements are placed into an escrow account by the lending institution. The homeowner has a minimum of three months after closing to make the improvements.

A post-improvement rating is performed on the home to verify the energy savings. The lending institution then releases the escrow funds to pay for materials and labor and the total cost is added to the mortgage loan. The Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Administration are two entities that offer these mortgages.

Income Limited Mortgages

The Energy Office offers an energy improvement mortgage for those with limited incomes.

The below market rate weatherization mortgage typically finances improvements such as attic and wall insulation, new furnaces, caulking and weatherstripping.

"Getting a weatherization mortgage is very simple," Pete Davis of the Nebraska Energy Office said. "The lender verifies a person's income, then an energy audit is conducted on the home the borrower wants to buy and finally an energy audit professional makes recommendations to reduce energy use."

For more information about Mortgage Supplements, contact Pete Davis in the Energy Office.

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Free Energy Efficient Mortgage Handbooks

The Energy Office has extra copies of the Energy Efficient Mortgage Training Handbook used in the recently held "Financing and Selling Home Energy Efficiency" workshop conducted by Mortgage Training Services and the Kansas Building Science Institute and co-sponsored by Fannie Mae Nebraska.

The Handbook is designed as a learning guide for mortgage lenders and real estate professionals.

To receive free copies of the Handbook, please contact Jack Osterman in the Energy Office.

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Free Financing Guides

40 Ways to Finance Your Improvements
40 Ways to
Finance Your Improvements

Copies of the Energy Office's popular guide, 40 Ways to Finance Your Improvements, remain available.

“40 Ways” focuses on financing options for making energy efficiency and pollution prevention improvements. The guide examines four basic financing methods:

  1. self-financing,
  2. direct borrowing,
  3. alternative financing options, and
  4. community based sources.

Profiles of each financing source include eligibility, amount limits and other features. Contacts for additional information about the financing options are also listed as well as web sites, if available.

To obtain free copies of 40 Ways to Finance Your Improvements, contact Jack Osterman in the Energy Office.

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A Code is A Code is A Code...

A Model Goes International

The International Energy Conservation Code, or IECC, is the successor to the Model Energy Code, or MEC. The Model Code was developed by a number of building code organizations and used as a basis for many state and local energy conservation building codes from 1983 to 1995. The International Code Council now maintains the nation's primary model energy code, which has been renamed the IECC.

The code was developed with the goal of conserving energy without unnecessarily increasing construction costs,restricting the use of new materials, products or methods of construction, or giving preferential treatment to particular types of materials, products or methods of construction.

It may be adopted and enforced by a local or state jurisdiction. The code is updated regularly based on comments from code officials and other interested parties.

The 1998 IECC code requirements are essentially the same as the 1995 MEC. Explanatory material has been added to clarify some requirements. As with the MEC, the ASHRAE/IES 90.1 Code is adopted by reference to govern commercial construction. A new Chapter 7 has been added to simplify requirements for smaller commercial buildings.

Although Nebraska law still references the 1983 Model Energy Code in areas where a more stringent local code has not been adopted, the 1983 code requirements are so minimal that standard construction practices have made the code obsolete. The Energy Office uses the 1995 Model Energy Code as the basis for reduced interest-rate mortgages and other incentives for energy efficient construction.

The IECC is available from Kirk Conger in the Nebraska Energy Office at no cost. [Note: As of December 2002, copies of the IECC are not available from the Energy Office] It may also be ordered from BOCA International at 800-214-4321, extension 720 for $25.

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Noted And Quoted

"After winning the Secretary of the Army's energy conservation award four years in a row at the National Guard level, Nebraska placed tenth out of 187 nominations for a Certificate of Recognition during the annual Defense Department energy conservation competition.

"This is the first time ever that the Nebraska Army Guard's energy program has been recognized at the federal level. It was also the first time that a National Guard organization has placed among the top ten government organizations at the Department of Defense level."

Prairie Soldier Nebraska National Guard newsletter, February 1999

Editor's note: For two of the four years the Nebraska Guard won awards, the Energy Office provided $70,000 in assistance to help the organization find ways through energy audits to reduce its energy costs.

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Worthwhile Web Sites

The Nebraska Energy Office encourages readers to utilize these Internet resources.

The Internet sites listed should not be construed as advocating or representing any position of the Energy Office nor does the agency guarantee the content or accuracy of any information available at these sites.

  • The Energy Information Administration's Kid's Page is a collection of energy facts, figures and fun for students in grades 3 through 8. The web site features comprehensive overviews of all energy sources, a 15 question energy quiz and a series of virtual visits to energy facilities such as an oil refinery, nuclear power plant, coal mine liquefied natural gas storage facility and a plant that turns garbage into electricity.
    EIA Kid's
  • The Department of Energy's State Alternatives web site is an invaluable tool for locating renewable energy resources and projects. Answers on solar, wind, biomass and geothermal assessments for each of the 50 states is only a click away. The site also details each state's electric utility sector by providing rates and fuel resources used to produce electricity, emissions and more. The information on current Nebraska renewable energy projects provides links to wind projects in Springview and Lincoln. All in all, this web site is an excellent one-stop source for a renewable energy overview of any state.
    EERE State Energy
  • A new web site, Nevada Energy Efficient Housing Connection, is now available on the Internet. The Connection presents complete and concise information on the benefits of residential energy efficiency, building energy codes, the Model Energy Code and links to other building code web sites. One nifty tool, the Model Energy Code Check, or MECcheck, computer software is downloadable. This simple program can help you determine whether a house complies with the model energy code based on the square footage, R-values of walls, windows and ceilings and the performance of heating and cooling systems.
    RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network)
  • The American Wind Energy Association has added a number of new tools to its web site that will help visitors access current wind energy industry information. The new tools include Association members and a map of the United States locations of all major wind energy projects in 18 states with links for specific project information on each project.
    American Wind Energy Association
  • A new, powerful simulation tool for consumers, Home Energy Savers, will help homeowners and renters identify the best technologies to save both energy and money. The software computes a home's total energy use based on information supplied by the consumer. After providing a zip code, a quick and easy quiz is generated which allows the computer to calculate current energy bills for a home. The software also points to the savings a consumer can achieve with a few simple home improvements. The more information entered such as the number of occupants, the type of heating and air conditioning equipment and fuel prices the more these recommendations become tailored to the house. Time-saving links to hundreds of web sites with practical, detailed information about energy efficient homes, products, service providers such as the Nebraska Energy Office and on-line materials are also a part of the web site.
    Home Energy SaverTM

Information Services and Resources

The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) provides fact sheets, brochures, videos and publications on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

letter icon
Mailing Address

Office of the Assistant Secretary
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Mail Stop EE-1
Department of Energy
Washington, DC 20585

phone icon
Telephone

Toll Free: 1-877-337-3463

computer icon
Internet

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)

New Solar Publications

Two new publications by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory make it easier for people to purchase solar energy systems and tap into energy from the sun.

Financing Solar Systems brochure cover
Financing
Solar Systems
brochure

The Borrower's Guide to Financing Solar Energy Systems provides information for lenders and consumers about nationwide financing programs for photovoltaic systems and solar thermal systems that heat indoor air and water. In addition to traditional sources for home mortgage funds, eight federal government organizations - Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Small Business Administration offer programs for financing solar energy systems and other energy efficiency improvements.

The Guide includes a glossary and a two-page capsule of all federal financing options.

The Colorado Consumer's Guide to Buying A Solar Electric System provides basic information about the who, what and why of financing, purchasing and installing photovoltaic or solar electric systems. While the Consumer's Guide is specific to Colorado, it does include essential information on solar systems such as evaluating if your home is a good candidate for an installation, how to estimate dollar savings and how much systems cost. Other sections in the Consumer's Guide address selecting a contractor and things to consider before attaching your solar system to a utility grid.

To obtain copies of these publications, contact the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Document Distribution Service at 303-275-4363 or by email Sally Evans

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Ongoing


Mission

“The mission of the Nebraska Energy Office is to promote the efficient, economic and environmentally responsible use of energy.”

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Americans with Disabilities Act

In accordance with the American Disabilities Act, the state will provide reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities. If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in any program or activity listed in this publication, please contact the Energy Office at 402-471-2186 to coordinate arrangements. Upon request, this publication may be available in alternative formats.

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U.S. DOE Grant

This material was prepared with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Grant No. DE-FG47-92CE60410. However, any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of DOE.

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