Low Interest Loans Make Historic School's New Windows a Reality
Seventy-one windows in Lincoln's oldest
surviving school building, now Hayward Place Condominiums,
were recently replaced. Some people won't stop until they
get what they want.
What Ed wanted was new, energy-saving windows that
looked just like ones in the 1925 Lincoln Elementary
School building, but solved the problems of the original
single-paned windows. Problems like falling glass.
"The windows in that part of the school were 75
years old," Ed Caudill, one of Hayward Place Owners'
Association officers, said. "These were the only windows
not replaced when the school was converted to condos in
Shards in the Grass
"In many ways we were
lucky, when the glass literally began falling out of the frames, replacing the
windows had already been scheduled," Caudill said. Tenants also had other
complaints: rattling panes, condensation and frost on the inside glass in the
Hayward School, located in
the Capitol City's North Bottoms neighborhood and only a few blocks from NU's
Memorial Stadium, is the oldest surviving Lincoln public school building.
Classes ceased in the building in 1968, but civic uses of the space continued
until 1982. The building was sold and converted into 41 condominiums in 1985.
Because the building is
also on the Register of National Historic Places, the condo owners also needed
to match any replacement windows as closely as possible with the original ones.
But that option was very expensive. After checking with several manufacturers of
custom windows, the estimate for exact replacement of 71 windows - single paned,
wood trimmed with muntin bars - was more than $120,000. The Association Board
also checked with many manufacturers during the year-long search for a company
that could replicate the originals.
The 1925 addition to the
school, picured here, still had the original windows in the
building.Even more importantly, the
window manufacturers would not guarantee the new windows. All the manufacturers
even recommended against putting in exact replacement windows. Things seemed to
be at an impasse. Then, Caudill began working with the city's Preservation
Officer, seeking a more affordable and practical solution.
At that point, two other
factors came into play: spotting information on the Energy Office's low-interest
loans and finding a window manufacturer experienced with historic renovations.
"The loan department at
Cornhusker Bank has Dollar and Energy Saving Loan brochures all over the place.
You can't miss them, they are everywhere you look," Caudill said. "It made sense
to see if the replacement windows we wanted could qualify for a low-interest
Nine Foot Eagles
According to Caudill, Eagle
Window and Door, a manufacturer based in Lincoln, provided a long list of
buildings where their products had been used to meet historic preservation
guidelines. The firm also could produce the windows in the sizes - up to more
than 9 feet tall - that were needed. Eagle recommended the single-paned all-wood
windows be replaced with low-emissivity, argon-filled, double-paned, aluminum
clad ones. The distinctive pattern of muntins that divided the windows into
panes would be between the gas-filled glass. Not only would the Eagle windows
provide better protection from the Plain's weather, the cost was nearly $40,000
"The window units had to
fill existing openings in order to maintain the flavor of the old building.
Eagle Window and Door Company is able to custom build windows to fit any
opening," Dan Snyder of Eagle Window said. "This allowed the contractor to
maintain the original look of the school. The Association wanted to feature as
much glass as possible to give the units an open, airy feeling. At the same
time, the warmth and beauty of the wood was needed."
One Hurdle Down
When the Association asked
the city's Historic Preservation Commission for a hardship exemption, the
Commission members were at first skeptical. Few were convinced new energy
efficient windows could be made to match those in the 75-year-old addition. But
the experience of the manufacturer, especially a photo presentation of similar
window replacements on historic structures, convinced the Commission to grant
This opening is where a bank of five windows was removed.
Workers were able to remove old windows and install new ones
in a single day.Next, would the windows
meet the Energy Office's standards for obtaining a low-interest loan? The
double-hung windows from Eagle had a U value of .36, .04 above the Energy
Office's minimum rating, so the windows had no difficulty qualifying for a loan.
When the project first
arrived in the Energy Office for the initial review, the Association only sought
financing for $60,000, the maximum for a multi-family project. However, since
the Association was in reality a small business with fewer than 25 employees and
annual revenue below $2.5 million, the group could borrow up to $100,000. In
February 1999, the Energy Office approved the project and the construction of
the windows could begin.
There From The Start
According to Pauline Smith,
a loan officer and Assistant Vice President with Cornhusker Bank in Lincoln,
helping make the window replacement project a reality was a natural. "Cornhusker
helped finance the purchase of many of the condos," Smith said. "We were glad
Cornhusker could also be a part of the on-going preservation of the property.
The building is the gem of the North Bottoms neighborhood." The Energy Office
said Cornhusker Bank is one of Lincoln's larger providers of Dollar and Energy
In May last year, the
replacement got underway. Seventeen units would be affected during the removal
and replacement of the 71 windows. "Despite all the planning, it still took
about a month and a half to finish the project," Caudill said. "You can't plan
the weather - it rained a lot last spring."
contractor was able to remove the old window and install the new window unit in
the same day," Caudill said. "Tenants really had only a day's worth of
inconvenience." The project was completed in June.
According the Caudill,
everyone is pleased with the new windows. "Many of the tenants told me they were
more than satisfied," Caudill said. "The windows were better than they thought
they would be." One benefit couldn't have been predicted: noise reduction. "Once
the original windows were removed, all you could see was hollow space around the
opening, now that area has been insulated and enclosed," Caudill said. "Everyone
is amazed - and pleased - at how much quieter it is."
"This building has been
here for 100 years and will probably be here for another 100," Caudill said.
"You don't replace windows very often. It just makes sense to get
energy-efficient ones. Who knows? They will probably be in here for another 75
Hayward School has architectural significance,
in part, from its status as the oldest surviving schoolhouse
in the Lincoln Public School District.
The building was named for U.S. Senator
Monroe L. Hayward, a lawyer, farmer and stockraiser who died in
1899. Hayward was used as school until 1968 and had other public
uses until 1982. In 1985, the building was sold and converted to
A Time Capsule of Details
Architecturally, the school embodies, in nearly unaltered form,
three distinct styles of public school architecture built over a
relatively short period of time. The ornate original building -
located in the center of the block-long structure - was designed
in 1904 and employs especially fine terra cotta decoration of
unusual late Renaissance or Baroque derivation.
The 1913 addition at the south end eschews applied ornament
for fine brickwork and restrained Classical and Romanesque
motifs. Architecturally, it very consciously responds to the
massing of the original building, developing a new and balanced
composition with the tall auditorium pavilion as the new center.
The 1925-1926 addition at the north end is unresponsive to the
existing building. The very long addition is notable for Georgian
Revival detailing on the new north entrance.
A Unique Role: Educating Beet Field Children
In the 1900s, there were about 4,000 German Russians in Lincoln,
half of whom lived in the North Bottoms neighborhood. Many of
these immigrants - adults and children - derived a major portion
of their income by working in the sugar beet fields of central and
Hayward was the principal Lincoln school that served the needs of
these immigrant children. According to an early Lincoln Public Schools'
historian, “In November of each year the 'beet field children' as
they are called, return to Lincoln for the winter months and to
attend school. Six new school rooms are opened for them and special
teachers are employed for them. Over 300 are in attendance during
the winter months. They return to the beet fields the first of
The educational progress of the children posed a substantial
challenge, when the regular school term in 1907 was three months
longer than their stay in Lincoln. In 1924, the Scottsbluff
Star-Herald reported the school district in Scottsbluff organized
a special summer school for "beet field children" to enable them
to re-enter classes following harvest "without embarrassment to
themselves and almost nervous prostration on the part of the
The new replacement windows varied in size from
three to four feet wide to seven and nine feet tall.
One of the ways windows can be compared is by looking
at the unit's measured energy performance. These
measurements are expressed as the "R Factor" for
"resistance" or "U-Factor" which is a measurement
of "thermal transference."
The National Fenestration Rating Council, or NFRC,
measures product energy performance and energy-related
properties of doors and windows. Using these measurements,
buyers can easily ascertain if the products meet local or
state codes or other performance requirements such as those
used by the Energy Office for Dollar and Energy Saving Loans.
The Council has established a rigorous process by which
products are rated. By certifying and labeling their
products, manufacturers are demonstrating their commitment
to providing accurate energy and energy-related performance
information which allows customers to make informed purchasing
The Council is a non-profit, public/private collaboration
of manufacturers, builders, designers, specifiers, code
officials, consumers utilities and regulators.
Recent attention has focused on Nebraska's
wind resources and the first steps by electric utilities
to harness those resources.
Often overlooked are the abundant possibilities in using
the state's fertile lands to grow bioenergy crops or use
crop wastes, to produce electricity and other types of
Bioenergy is the conversion of complex carbohydrates in
organic matter - such as grasses, trees or garbage - into
energy, either by using it directly as fuel or by processing
it into liquids and gases that are more efficient.
In the Top Five
In 1993, the Union of Concerned Scientists conducted an
extensive study of renewable resources in the Midwest.
Nebraska's biomass resources were substantial:
The state ranked third in crop residues,
after Iowa and Illinois
The state ranked fifth in deliverable
after subtracting the residue to be left in the field
for economic or ecological reasons
If these resources were converted to electricity,
nearly one-third of the state's needs could be met
using crop waste.
The study also found Nebraska's energy crop potential
The state ranked third, after Kansas
Dakota, in the amount of switchgrass which could
be produced on idled acres without displacing any food
The heating value of the potential 33.9 million
dry tons of switch grass would produce 576.3 trillion
British thermal units - second in the
Kansas - more than meeting the state's entire electricity
Last fall, when the President signed an executive order
aiming to triple the nation's use of biomass resources by
2010, a federal study pegged the possible growth in farm
income at $15 to $20 billion annually.
The economic impact of increasing use of biomass resources
was estimated at $2.5 billion annually in Nebraska, of which
at least half would stay in rural areas of the state. According
the state's Department of Agriculture, Nebraska earns $9 billion
from all farm products annually. The economic impact to rural
Nebraska would be equal to half the $5 billion yearly impact
of agricultural exports.
The regional potential for use of switchgrass, alfalfa and
fast-growing poplars was estimated at 310 billion kilowatthours,
almost one-and-a-half times the electricity use in the seven state
region that includes the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri
as well as Nebraska. Another 86 billion kilowatthours could be
derived from crop and municipal solid wastes.
Today, the Energy Information Administration estimates only three
percent of the energy used in America comes from biomass resources.
Wood and ethanol feedstocks, especially corn and grain sorghum, are
the predominant resources used.
Energy and Beyond
Some biomass advocates are looking beyond producing energy.
Soon they hope to substitute petroleum-based chemicals with
One such venture is breaking ground at the nearby Cargill corn
complex in Blair, in eastern Nebraska. In January, Cargill and Dow
Chemical announced a joint venture to commercialize "natural plastic."
The companies will spend an estimated $300 million on the
NatureWorks venture over the next two years.
The plant, which should be operational in late 2001, will produce
300 million pounds of the new plastic - called
polyactide - a year from 14 million bushels
of corn. This organic plastic can be used instead of polystyrene
in insulated cups and polyethylene
in soft drink bottles, for example. Other products could include
garbage bags and clothing. Unlike petroleum-based plastics,
organic plastics decompose readily.
switchgrass \ n : [alternative
of quitch grass] Latin name: (panicum virgatum) one of a variety of grasses and
herbaceous and woody plants.
Commonly called "panic grass." Virgatum is native
to the Americas, extending from Canada to South America. During a season, some
varieties can grow to ten feet tall and develop stems much like hardwood
pencils. Most of the growth occurs during the hottest and driest parts of the
Switchgrass is a perennial, requiring no
irrigation and fertilization needs that are one-quarter to one half those of
corn crops. The root system, which is as extensive as growth above-ground, is
able to anchor the soil and slow and filter runoff. Pastures of switchgrass
normally last more than 20 years. If the grass is used as a bioenegy resource,
the pastures should be replanted every ten years to take advantage of genetic
gains in yields.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
an acre of switchgrass will produce 20.6 times the energy required to produce it
if the grass is transported directly to an ethanol plant. Corn production
typically is a ratio of 6.67.
Hundreds of farmers in southern Iowa are players
in a test of biomass-to-electricity theories.
Last year more than 4,000 acres of switchgrass
were planted in the Chariton Valley region in southern Iowa. In January, some of
the grass was being harvested and baled for shipment to the Alliant Energy
electric plant in Chillicothe. Switchgrass, a plant native to the Great Plains,
is typically harvested between October and March.
Beginning in May and over the next three years,
between five and ten percent of the coal used at the plant will be replaced with
switchgrass. However, before the switchgrass can be used, stones and other
debris must be removed and the grass must be ground into particle-sized bits.
Next, the grass is transported to the boiler where it is co-fired with coal to
produce heat which boils water. The resulting steam drives a turbine generating
The test this spring will displace 1,800 tons of
coal and produce enough electricity to meet the need in 1,500 homes, according
to the participants. A larger switchgrass co-firing test is scheduled for the
spring of 2001.
If successful, switchgrass which is typically
planted on conservation reserve acres could become an energy cash crop for
farmers producing 4-6 tons of grass per acre, or about $200.
This project began in 1995 and now involves a
host of participants: local farmers and landowners, five companies, five state
agencies, five federal agencies as well as several local entities.
In 1999, the Legislature created the
Biopower Steering Committee to determine if there
are usable biomass resources - agriculture or wood
products or residues and farm-grown energy crops
- in the state that can be converted to energy,
By 2003, the group is to conclude its study, but it
reports to the Legislature on its progress every year
The 12-person group plans to review previous research
on biomass potential in the state, investigate proven
and new biomass conversion technologies and analyze the
economics of biomass conversion options.
The members of the group are: Lane Kugler of Eustis,
Chairman; Roger Chesley of Callaway; Robert Coupland
of Valentine; Chris Dibbern of Lincoln; Senator "Cap"
Dierks of Ewing; Duane Kristensen of Minden; Patrick
Langan of Lincoln; Lynda Marshal of Lincoln; Larry
Pearce of Bellevue; Senator Ed Schrock of Elm Creek;
Frank Thompson of Columbus and Scott Welk of Grand
The Steering Committee meets frequently, usually in Lincoln.
For more information about this group's work, contact:
75429 Road 424
Stretching Your Gas Dollars Without Changing Vehicles
Did you know that merely using fuel efficient driving
techniques can improve fuel economy in most vehicles by more than
ten percent? That's the news at a new federal web site.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental
Protection Agency, www.fueleconomy.gov is a tool to help consumers
make wise decisions about gas mileage, vehicle safety ratings and
greenhouse gas emissions of different makes and models of vehicles
produced in the last 15 years.
Some of the fuel-saving tips at the site:
In highway driving, more than 50 percent of the energy required
to move your car down the road goes to overcoming aerodynamic
drag - pushing air out of the way. As you drive faster, aerodynamic
drag and rolling resistance increases. As a result, at speeds
above 55 miles per hour, fuel economy decreases rapidly.
For the average passenger car, by cruising at 65 instead of
70, or 70 instead of 75, you'll be paying yourself $5 per
hour in saved fuel. Owners of larger light trucks can save as
much as $10 an hour.
Overdrive gears improve the fuel economy of your car during
highway driving. When you use overdrive gearing your car's
engine speed decreases. This reduces both fuel consumption
and engine wear.
Using cruise control on highway trips can help you maintain
a constant speed and, in most cases, will reduce your fuel
At the web site, car shoppers can also locate information -
gas mileage and safety ratings - on the latest cars, pickup
trucks, minivans and sport utility vehicles.
Visitors to the Scotts Bluff National Monument
will soon be smelling french fries - or think they are.
The passenger van that
shuttles tourists from the visitor center to the summit will be running on a
blend of 20 percent biodiesel produced from soybeans and 80 percent conventional
Many who have used biodiesel before have said vehicle exhaust fumes
remind them of french fries.
The $47,400 federal grant received by the park
will be used, in part, to pay for the cost of 500 gallons of biodiesel. The fuel
decreases air pollution by reducing hydrocarbon, sodium oxides and carbon
monoxide pollutants. One of biodiesel's key advantages is that its use does not
require any modifications to standard diesel engines.
The fuel is expected to be used during the
spring and summer tourist season. The Nebraska landmark was one of 32 national
parks to receive a federal grant from the U.S. Departments of Energy and
Interior to utilize alternative fuels in park operations.
Sometimes, understanding the complexities of
ventilation in apartment buildings can be difficult. And finding solutions to
problems can be even more vexing.
That's where Energy-Efficient Ventilation for
Apartment Buildings may come in handy. This guide provides definitions,
descriptions and approaches to diagnose ventilation needs and to design
energy-efficient systems that will achieve short and long-term benefits.
Prepared by staff at the Lawrence Berkley
National Laboratory, the guide offers solutions to maximize performance,
productivity, air quality and energy efficiency in apartment buildings.
To obtain a free copy of the ventilation guide,
contact Jack Osterman in the Energy Office, email at Jack Osterman
The Energy Office has altered its home mortgages
Nebraskans. Families whose incomes do not exceed 150 percent of
the federal poverty level can install energy saving improvements
in homes they will be purchasing without markedly increasing
monthly mortgage payments.
The key change is a requirement that each home receive a
Home Energy Rating System, or
A second change is the Energy Office will purchase 20 percent
of the mortgage if:
The house has an 80 percent HERS rating, or
The house can achieve an 80 percent HERS rating by
installing energy saving improvements recommended by
the HERS audit, or
The house's HERS rating can be increased by 20 percent
by installing energy saving improvements recommended by
the HERS audit.
Each Additional Member Add $4,350
The mortgage rate will be one percent less than
the financial institution's internal rate for that type of mortgage and may
include the cost of the energy conservation measures recommended by the HERS
audit. The bank, savings and loan or credit union must be a participating lender
in the Dollar and Energy Saving Loan Program.
Households containing a member receiving either Aid to
Dependent Children or Supplemental Security Income are
automatically eligible for Limited Income Mortgages.
Please contact Pete Davis in the Energy Office, email at
Pete Davis, if you would like
additional information on these types of mortgages.
Many cost effective ways to lower energy costs are very
simple, inexpensive and can be done in a couple of minutes.
Here are just a few:
Use windows for ventilation.
Most houses have been designed to take advantage
of natural cooling
breezes when they are available. When the outside air temperature is
comfortable, turn off the furnace and air conditioner (using the
switch on the thermostat) and open windows on opposite sides of the
house to allow cross-ventilation.
Make sure interior doors are also
open. Wide eaves will even allow you to leave windows open when rain
threatens, as long as it's not driven by a strong wind. During parts
of the summer, it's better not to open the windows, even when it cools
off at night, because of the high humidity in most parts of the state.
In general, when it's humid and you need to run
the air conditioner
all day, you should probably use the air conditioner at night as
Window treatments capture heat in winter
and reflect heat in the summer.
Use window treatments to control solar
heating. Some houses can maximize the opportunity to capture free heat
from the sun. During winter, windows that are in direct sunlight should have
their coverings (drapes, blinds or curtains) open and other windows should be
covered unless you're admiring the view or need the natural light.
During the summer, reverse this pattern and
close the coverings on windows that are in direct sunlight. East
and west windows are often the most significant source of unwanted
summer heat, north and south windows may be less important since they
may be shaded by overhangs. During spring and fall, modify these rules
of thumb as necessary to keep the house comfortable.
Allow free circulation of heating and cooling air.
Don't place furniture or other objects where they can
block the air flow from registers. As much as practical, you should keep
interior doors open, at least a couple of inches, to allow air to return to the
central return register. If you hold an interior door open a 1/4" or so and
feel a strong flow of air through the crack when the furnace fan is on, then
closing the door will cause an imbalance in air distribution. If that door must
normally be closed, the bottom should be trimmed to allow return air to flow
under the door.
Set moderate indoor temperatures.
Dress for the season: cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Old
federal guidelines recommended 68° for winter thermostat settings, but that's
uncomfortable for many people. Try setting the thermostat at 70° in the winter
and 77° in the summer. You can adjust up or down from these settings to keep
comfortable, but remember every degree you increase the temperature setting in
winter will add about three percent to your heating bill. And every degree
cooler you set the thermostat in summer will increase your cooling bill about
Programmable thermostats make energy saving easy. Reset the
thermostat when nobody's home.
If everybody leaves the house for work or school, set the thermostat
back to 60-65° in winter or up to 80° or higher in summer. Return the thermostat
to its proper setting when you return home. Most furnaces and air conditioners
are strong enough to make the house comfortable in a few minutes. (There is no
truth to the claim that "it takes more energy to warm the house back up than you
saved by setting back the thermostat"). Even if you have small children at home
and can't set back the thermostat back daily, remember this if you leave town
for the weekend.
Use the thermostat correctly.
Set it at the temperature you want and let it do its job. If the house
is uncomfortable, adjust the thermostat setting a degree or two. Don't turn it
way up or way down - it won't warm or cool the house any faster, and setting the
thermostat beyond the desired temperature will overheat or overcool the house.
Then you'll be tempted to open windows to cool off or warm up areas.
Change the furnace filter regularly.
The normally-recommended interval is once per month, but in tight
construction such as this it's probably okay to go a couple of months per
filter. Replaceable filters cost less than a dollar and are usually available at
the grocery store as well as hardware stores. Changing the filter before it gets
filthy will reduce the work the furnace fan has to do and improve air
circulation in the house. And don't run the furnace without a filter in place
because this will reduce the efficiency of the furnace heat exchanger and the
air conditioning coil.
Use bathroom fans to remove moisture.
This is particularly important in summer when the extra humidity adds
to your air conditioning costs. During spring and fall, it may just make the
house less comfortable. In winter, if the air is very dry, you can leave the fan
off and open the bathroom door after a shower to disperse humidity into the
house. However, any significant condensation on windows or walls indicates that
humidity is too high. Always remember to turn off the fan after the humid air
has been exhausted.
Minimize humidity from cooking.
In houses without range hoods or exhaust fans, it's important to use
lids on pans, especially when simmering or boiling items for a long time.
Because most newly-constructed houses are designed to have minimal air leakage,
the air inside will tend to be more humid than normal. Watch out for
condensation on windows and walls - that's a sign that humidity is too high for
your health and the health of the house.
Insulate exposed hot water pipes.
If this was not done during construction, do it now. This simple,
do-it-yourself project will take less than an hour and use less than $20 worth
of the split black foam pipe insulation usually available in hardware stores.
Insulate all the accessible hot water pipes and the first 24" of cold water pipe
where it connects to the water heater.
Reduce hot water temperature.
After insulating the pipes, you should be able to reduce the thermostat
setting on your water heater. Many gas water heater thermostats are not marked
in degrees but as settings from "warm" to "hot." Turn the dial to the next lower
temperature and see if you run out of hot water. Continue reducing the
temperature every few days until you find the lowest setting that will provide
sufficient hot water on a normal day. You may need to increase the temperature
occasionally when you expect overnight guests, and then return it to the lower
temperature after the company leaves.
Turn off unneeded lights.
It does not use more electricity to switch on a
light than to leave it on. Whenever you're leaving a room empty,
you should switch off the light, especially if it is a standard,
Install high-efficiency lights.
Standard, incandescent light bulbs are very inefficient because most of
the energy they consume is emitted as heat, not light. They're cheap, but have a
rated life of only 750-1000 hours. Screw-in compact fluorescent lights,
available in hardware stores, may cost $10-15, but last for 10,000 hours and
produce the same amount of light for only about 1/4th as much electricity. They
are a wise investment for lights that are used a lot, such as hallways, kitchens
and other lights that are normally used three or more hours a day.
These and other tips can be found in the booklet, Tips
for Energy Savers, that is available from the Energy Office
or at Energy Savers Tips.
Another source for asking energy saving questions is "Ask an Energy
Expert" at the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network.
To contact the Energy Expert, call 1-800-363-3732, fax 1-703-893-0400,
write EREC, P.O. Box 3048, Merrifield, Virginia 22116 or at
The Energy Expert.
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...
5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans
Are these improvements eligible for a Dollar and Energy Saving
Loan: repairing or replacing a roof, adding siding, or
replacing exterior doors and windows on an eligible building?
The replacement of doors and windows with the
same sized or smaller units is an eligible, pre-qualified project if the
replacement units meet minimum energy efficiency standards, or if the project is
supported by an energy audit, accepted by the Energy Office, which shows costs
would be recovered by savings within 15 years.
Roofing and siding projects are not
pre-qualified projects by themselves, but may be included as a part of a
pre-qualified project for ceiling, attic or wall insulation.
If at least R-30 of insulation is being added to
a ceiling or attic of a home or building and if the roof needs to be repaired or
replaced to make sure the newly added insulation is not damaged by the elements,
the roofing cost may be included.
If R-10 insulation is being added to frame wall
or R-5 to a masonry wall, and new siding is being installed to protect the
insulation from the elements, the siding cost may be included.
A project involving adding insulation in
conjunction with roofing or siding and supported by an energy audit, accepted by
the Energy Office, showing the cost of the project will be recovered by energy
dollar savings in 15 years or less, would also be eligible for a loan.
Which application forms
are needed to replace doors and windows or for projects in conjunction with
adding insulation as pre-qualified projects?
All these projects require a completed Form 2,
plus one other form:
an application for an insulation project
involving roofing must include a completed Form 2 Roofing.
an application to do an insulation project
with siding, Form 2 Siding must be completed.
when replacing doors or windows, the
application must include both Form 2 and Form 2 Window/Door.
Since the contractor signs the supplemental forms on roofing
and siding with insulation and window and door projects, can
the form serve as the contractor's bid?
Form 2 Roofing, Form 2 Siding, and Form 2
Window/Door supplement the information required on Form 2 and provide additional
information about the project so the Energy Office can determine the eligibility
of the project. Borrowers still must obtain a bid from the contractor for the
work to be done to submit with the loan forms.
Recently, A borrower was told by a
contractor that if windows were to be replaced in a home or building and
financed with a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan, all the windows had to be
replaced. Is that true?
No. There is no requirement that you replace all
your windows at one time. Home or building owners may undertake any of a variety
of energy efficiency improvements at any time they choose, provided they qualify
for a loan to do the work through a participating lender.
There are borrower maximums in the loan program
- for instance, $25,000 on a single family dwelling - but the borrower has the
option to seek financing for the cost of whatever project, simple or very
complex, he or she wants to do at one time.
If a cooling system breaks down
during warm weather, can emergency approval be obtained to install a new system
before the loan process has been completed?
If the cooling system breaks down any time
during April through October, you can request emergency approval from the Energy
Office through your lender to install qualifying equipment prior to the loan
process being completed and the Energy Office committing funds to the project.
However, your lender must provide the Energy Office with a written statement
from your doctor verifying there is a medical reason the cooling system must be
installed immediately and information on the system being installed.
In these situations, the Energy Office will
review the request and notify the lender whether or not emergency approval has
been granted, usually the same day. After Energy Office approval, the project
may be undertaken and the loan paperwork submitted as soon as the system is
If emergency approval to replace my
cooling system has been received, may heating and water heating systems be
replaced at the same time?
The Energy Office allows this, if all units meet
the minimum standards and have been approved at the same time as the cooling
system. It is usually easier and less expensive to install all of the systems at
the same time, which saves borrowers' added expenses.
What types of buildings are eligible
for energy efficiency improvements with a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan?
Any home or building constructed before 1995 and
located in Nebraska would be eligible. This includes single family homes,
multi-family and commercial buildings, and buildings used in an agricultural
Nearly $400,000 is being made available by the
Energy Office to finance new home construction in rural, non-metropolitan
Nebraska until June next year.
If single family or multiple family homes are
being constructed that are 30 percent above the 1995 Model Energy Code,
borrowers may get a one percent reduction in the mortgage interest rate and a
below market rate on a construction loan. The new housing can be built in any of
88 counties except Lancaster, Cass, Sarpy, Douglas, and Washington.
Construction of the homes must begin by June 30,
2001. Building plans and specifications must be reviewed by the Energy Office
for code compliance. Before construction can begin, the agency must have signed
a commitment with the lender financing the mortgage.
Under these mortgages, the Energy Office is
supplying 20 percent of the principal at no interest which allows the primary
mortgage lender to reduce the interest rate to the borrower by one percent.
To find out more about the reduced rate rural
housing mortgages, contact Jack Osterman in the Energy Office, email at
Will farmers be paid for using no-till,
reduced-till or other soil conservation practices?
That option may become part of Nebraska farmers'
revenue stream in the future according to some in the
agriculture and utility industries.
In fact, several Canadian energy companies have
already agreed to purchase nearly 2.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide
equivalent emission reduction credits. Presently, only farmers in Iowa are
participating in the Canadian purchasing experiment. The Canadian experiment is
similar to carbon trading systems that may become common if industrial countries
reach agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In April, the World Bank announced its Prototype
Carbon Fund had attracted 15 companies and six nations - Canada, Finland, Japan,
Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands - and $135 million in pledges. This fledgling
carbon emissions trading program will use proceeds from the experimental effort
to subsidize the cost of renewable energy.
The practice of using minimal soil disruption
methods is also called carbon sequestration because carbon dioxide is released
from the soil each time it is tilled. Sequestering more carbon in the soil could
offset carbon dioxide produced by utilities using coal to produce electricity.
A brochure that deals with carbon sequestration
in a broad and general way, Growing Carbon: A New Crop That Helps Agricultural
Producers and Climate, Too, is now available at state USDA Natural Resources
Conservation Service offices, or by phone at 1-888-LANDCARE, or at the Soil and
Water Conservation Society web site, Soil and Water Conservation Society.
Because of a new law, LB 957, the Department of
Natural Resources will begin to assess past and future carbon sequestration
potential of agricultural lands. This assessment will establish a baseline for
the carbon content in the soil and attempt to quantify the amount of carbon
sequestered associated with each type of tilling and other practices, management
systems and land uses.
Advisory Group Picked
The legislation also created a 14-member Carbon
Sequestration Advisory Committee, including a representative from the Nebraska
Energy Office. The Committee will advise the Natural Resources director, make
recommendations to enhance the ability of agricultural landowners to participate
in systems of carbon trading, encourage the production of educational materials
regarding carbon sequestration on agricultural lands and identify areas for
For detailed information on the new law, LB957
can be found on the Unicameral's web site at FINAL LB957.
Whew! It's taken 22 years to weatherize 50,000
homes of low-income Nebraskans. That's about the five times
the number of homes in Fremont.
The state's weatherization program reached this milestone last
December: a home in Trenton became the 50,000th home weatherized
in Nebraska since the first home received free weatherization
services in 1978.
Typically the types of weatherization improvements made in the
homes include wall and attic insulation and checking the energy
efficiency and safety of furnaces, stoves and water heaters.
Eligibility for the free home improvements is limited to households
with incomes at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level.
Households containing a member receiving either Aid to Dependent
Children or Supplemental Security Income are automatically
Each Additional Member Add $ 3,625
The Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program was
created by Congress in response to the energy crises of
the 1970s to help needy Americans reduce energy use. In
the first few years, about $400 were spent on each home.
Back then, temporary improvements such as plastic storm
windows, weather-stripping and caulking were installed by
Today's professional staff use sophisticated energy audit
tools and diagnostic equipment to determine which cost-effective
improvements should be installed to achieve the greatest energy
savings and cost payback. The cost of improving each home has
also increased. Now, about $2,000 is spent on each home,
including the cost of the labor.
According to the Energy Office, energy use after home
weatherization typically declines by 20 percent. And the
savings accrue for 15 to 20 years or more. "The $3.42 million
spent in 1986 to improve energy use in 2,122 homes have
resulted in an estimated $4.51 million in savings
so far," Pete Davis of the Energy Office said.
Back to Trenton
The home in Trenton in southwestern Nebraska was typical
of weatherization projects. This elderly-occupied, site-built
home received R-38 attic ceiling insulation, R-11 wall
insulation, R-19 box sill/band joist insulation, blower
door guided air sealing and a safety inspection on all
combustion appliances. Work on the home was done by Mid
Nebraska Community Services headquartered in Kearney.
Weatherization services are offered in all 93 counties.
The Energy Office contracts with nine, non-profit community-based
organizations, primarily community action agencies, to provide
these services across the state.
The federal Departments of Energy and Health and Human Services,
through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, provide most
of the funding. The Energy Office expects to have $2.745 million
for improving more than 1,300 homes in 2000,
For more information about free home weatherization, contact
your local community action agency, or contact Pete Davis in
the Energy Office, email at Pete Davis.
State May Have To Match Federal Weatherization Dollars
The state's weatherization effort may
undergo significant, yet unknown, changes as early as
Last year, Congress said the states must begin contributing
financially to the federal Weatherization Assistance Program.
Congress believed all 50 states had budget surpluses and could
now afford to pick up one-third of the cost.
Based on the proposed 2001 federal budget, Nebraska would
have to provide $563,417 to receive $1,690,252 in Department
of Energy funds.
The President has asked Congress to repeal the state match
requirement. Governor Johanns has also asked the state's
Congressional delegation to eliminate the requirement during
this year's budget deliberations. "...states are being asked
to provide more service and dollars for federal initiatives
while at the same time trying to provide sufficient funds
for competing state needs. This latest cost share requirement
will likely result in a loss of weatherization services to
the state's poorest and most vulnerable residents," Governor
Johanns wrote in a March letter.
More on these potential changes will be decided when Congress
completes its budget for 2001, probably sometime around
The old joke about a computer becoming
"last year's model" before you get it out of the store
is rapidly becoming reality.
As computer hardware
becomes dated faster and faster - and new computers
replace old ones - the problem of what to do with old
For those facing this dilemma, WasteCap of Lincoln will
host a half-day session on computer disposal options on
May 24 at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 11th and "P" Streets
in Lincoln. WasteCap is a voluntary business organization
committed to finding low cost ways to reduce waste.
There are several alternatives to keeping old computer
equipment - which may contain hazardous waste - out of
landfills in the state: recycling, remanufacturing and
donation of the equipment. State and local landfill
officials will address hazardous waste issues, while
individuals with recyclers, remanufacturing companies,
schools and non-profits will provide concrete
illustrations of alternatives.
According to the National Safety Council, only 11 percent
of the 21 million personal computers that became obsolete
in 1998 were recycled. The council expects 61.1 million
more computers to be obsolete by 2004, when an estimated
6.7 percent will be recycled.
While a state Environmental Trust grant will offset part
of the cost of the workshop, attendees who are not members
of INFORM, a Lincoln business group, will be charged $10 a
For more information, or to register - early sign up is
suggested - contact, Carrie Hakenkamp, WasteCap of Lincoln,
phone 402-472-0888, fax 402-472-2246, or email at
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.
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.