Spring 2001

Nebraska Energy Quarterly logo

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A Newsletter of the Nebraska Energy Office

Blowing in the Wind...

Development of Nebraska's Wind Resources Gains Speed

In the past six months, a number of developments have emerged...

  • New Consumer's Guide on Small Wind Systems...

Can Wind Energy be Used to Power Your Home?

Looking at Electricity Prices in a Whole New Light

In Southwest Ohio in June 1998 a transformer failed...

Getting It From the Experts...

The Low-Down on Gasoline Prices

Gasoline prices can rise and fall quickly, seemingly without reason.

Nebraska Energy Use Up 25% Since 1987

Information Services and Resources

The Energy Efficiency and The Renewable Energy Clearinghouse...

Tips to Cut Your Summer Utility Bills...

Cooling Your Home Naturally

R-19 insulation being installed in an attic

Keeping cool indoors when it is hot outdoors is a problem.

5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans

If a cooling system breaks down during warm weather...

Noted and Quoted...

On Changing the State's Electric System...

"Over the past several years, the Legislature has looked..."

Internet--and Humans--to the Rescue

Several Internet sites offer web-based tools to help consumers...

The Best Home Improvement Tip

Blowing in the Wind...

Development of Nebraska's Wind Resources Gains Speed

In the past six months, a number of developments have emerged in the state that indicate an important resource - wind - is being given a second look.

In February, the Union of Concerned Scientists released a report, Strong Winds: Opportunities for Rural Economic Development Blow Across Nebraska, which found supplying ten percent of the state's electricity with wind power by 2012 would create 360 more jobs, $8 million in more income and $35 million more in state gross product than producing the same amount of electricity from coal and natural gas generation.

More than Coal or Natural Gas

A small stand-alone wind generator
A small stand-alone
wind generator

The study also projected the net benefits to the state's economy would exceed the additional cost of developing wind power by nearly $15 million a year over a 20-year period. About 2.4 times more jobs during construction and 1.5 times more jobs from on-going operation and maintenance would be created than from coal and natural gas plants.

The report stated wind power could be an important source of rural economic development in Nebraska as well. Assuming $2,000 a year for each wind turbine installed on farm land, the study projected farmers and landowners could receive $2.2 million in lease payments by 2012, if wind turbine targets are met. If private developers owned half the projects, an additional $5.2 million in property tax revenues would be generated by 2012.

The authors of the study suggested the benefits from wind power would be most likely to accrue to parts of the state that are in greatest economic need. Median income levels in Nebraska's ten windiest counties are, on average, 21 percent below the state average, and poverty rates are higher than the state average in all but one of the windiest counties.

And the Answers Are

Last fall at a gathering of wind energy enthusiasts, Governor Johanns asked them to find answers to a series of questions on the potential for wind-generated electricity production in the state and the prospects for exporting that power. In March, a group of wind enthusiasts completed their effort to answer the governor's questions.

In general, the group, which authored Windpower in Nebraska: A Report to Governor Johanns, found both opportunities and barriers, but concluded more work needed to be done.

In turn, Governor Johanns asked the Nebraska Power Association to develop a plan for how the state could develop wind resources with the utilities' cooperation. That plan is expected to be completed before the end of the summer.

Potential D.I.Y. Wind Turbine Construction

Small Wind Electric Systems construction guide.

Continued in the next column

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Blowing in the Wind... continued...

More Turbines on the Horizon?

Meanwhile the construction of new turbines within the state and in surrounding states continued to grow:

  • NMPP Energy, based in Lincoln, continued to seek partners in developing a wind farm with an estimated 27 turbines near Kimball. According to NMPP Energy's John Krajewski, the proposed project could cost $15-$20 million and produce an estimated 20 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet the daily needs of 14,400 homes.
  • Omaha Public Power District and Valmont announced plans to erect a wind turbine near the Valmont complex in Valley. Valmont has developed a turbine tower prototype that is less costly to transport and construct. This working model would give both firms experience with wind turbines. The turbine is expected to be operational sometime next year.
  • Nebraska Public Power District's Board of Directors signaled a willingness to evaluate a partnership with the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska to develop the state's first wind farm.
  • In Kansas, the state with the third highest wind potential, Utilicorp will purchase the output and FPL Energy will construct a 110 megawatt wind farm beginning this spring in southwestern Kansas. The 165 wind turbines will generate enough electricity to provide the yearly power needs of 20,000 households.
  • In Wyoming, a 16.8 megawatt, 28 turbine addition at the Foote Creek Rim project brought the total output capacity at the site to more than 84 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet the needs of more than 10,500 households. Most of the power produced here is purchased by Bonneville Power Administration and supplied to consumers in the Northwest.
  • In South Dakota, what may become the nation's largest wind turbine installation continued to press toward construction. The 2,000 turbine wind farm is planned over three central counties in the state. Besides in-state consumption, the electricity from the site is expected to be sold to utilities in Illinois and customers further east.

For More Information

The report, Strong Winds: Opportunities for Rural Economic Development Blow Across Nebraska, can be obtained at Strong Winds: Opportunities for Rural Economic Development Blow Across Nebraska

The report, Windpower in Nebraska: A Report to Governor Johanns, can be found at Windpower in Nebraska.

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Governor Johanns meets...

Governor Johanns meets with State's Electrical and Natural Gas leaders

Nebraska Governor Johanns meeting with leaders from the State's electrical and natural gas utilities

Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns, (center) routinely attends periodic meetings with leaders from the state's electric and natural gas utilities where issues of common concern are discussed.

At the last meeting in September 2000, pictured at left, the topics discussed dealt with electricity reliability and prices and natural gas prices and supplies.

Typically, local and national experts are on hand to provide the latest assessments.

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Looking at Electricity Prices in a Whole New Light

cartoon electrician

In southwest Ohio in June 1998 a transformer failed, forcing a number of Midwestern utilities to scramble to avoid blackouts. Spot prices on the electricity market skyrocketed from $25 a megawatthour to $7,500.

Gasoline $450 a Gallon

Tom Overbye, an electrical and computer engineer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, wrote about the incident in a paper on deregulation's effects on the power grid in American Scientist, "Imagaine your consternation if one day you pulled into a gas station and discovered the price had increased three-hundred fold, from $1.50 a gallon to $450 a gallon."

This same situation is what many in California and other states in the West are facing this spring and summer.

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Nebraska Energy Use...

Nebraska Energy Use Up 25% Since 1987

Over the last ten years, Nebraska's energy consumption has increased almost 25 percent. In 1997, Nebraskans consumed 613.0 trillion British thermal units of energy compared to 492.5 trillion British thermal units in 1987.

Think of Nebraska's 1997 energy consumption this way . . .

  • 613.0 trillion British thermal units is enough energy to boil more than one-tenth (65 billion gallons) of the water in Lake McConaughy (635 billion gallons).

Or . . .

  • One British thermal unit of energy is equivalent to 252 calories or one six-inch Subway turkey breast sandwich on Italian bread (254 calories). Now multiply by 613 trillion. Placing 613 trillion sandwiches side-by-side and end-to-end, they would cover almost 90 percent of the continental United States.


Nebraska Energy Statistics, 1960-1997, Nebraska Energy Office, Lincoln, NE



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Getting it From the Experts...

The Low-Down on Gasoline Prices

Gasoline prices can rise and fall quickly, seemingly without reason. To help Americans understand how gasoline is priced, the nation's foremost independent statistical agency, the Energy Information Administration, has produced A Primer on Gasoline Prices.

The Primer addresses key elements that can affect the price of gasoline:

  • What are the components of the retail price of gasoline?
  • Why do gasoline prices fluctuate?
  • Why do gasoline prices differ according to region?

Copies of the brochure, A Primer on Gasoline Prices, are available from the Energy Office, or at the Energy Information Administration's web site: EIA Primer on Gasoline Prices.

Current gasoline prices and analyses are located at: EIA Current Gasoline Prices.

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Noted and Quoted

On Changing the State's Electric System...

"Over the past several years, the Legislature has looked long and hard at our electric system to answer one question: Is our public power system ready for the 21st century? At the federal level, and in a number of states, efforts are underway to "deregulate" the electric industry. They say it will increase competition and lower rates. In Nebraska, we needed to know how these changes could affect us.

"What we found out was heartening. Our system is solid and ready to meet our needs today and tomorrow. While no one is certain how efforts underway to change the electric industry in other parts of the nation will affect us, we must be vigilant and patient. Each year, the state's Power Review Board, will assess the situation in key areas and report to the Legislature its findings.

"So far, we have concluded the state's system created more than 100 years ago is still working, and working well."

Governor Mike Johanns

The Future of Nebraska's Electric Utility Industry

May 3, 2001

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Information Services and Resources

telephone icon computer icon letter icon

The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse provides fact sheets, brochures, videos and publications on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

letter icon

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse,
P.O. Box 3048,
Merrifield, VA 22116

telephone icon

Phone between 7am-4pm CT,
Monday-Friday. 1-800-363-3732
or for the hearing impaired call
1-800-273-2957 8am-6pm.
Fax 1-703-893-0400

computer icon

Internet: Office of EERE

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The Internet...

Internet -- and Humans -- to the Rescue

Several Internet sites offer web-based tools to help consumers evaluate the effectiveness of a variety of energy-saving home improvements:

Several utilities in the state offer energy auditing services:

  • Contact a Technical Solutions Consultant from Nebraska Public Power District offices or your local public power provider for available services. Additional information can also be obtained from NPPD's website at Nebraska Public Power District
  • Energy Management Specialists at Lincoln Electric System still perform walk-thru energy audits for customers. To find out more about this service, contact LES at 473-3270 or email at Residential Audits-LES

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New Consumer's Guide on Small Wind Systems...

Can Wind Energy be Used to Power Your Home?

Spiraling utility bills in some parts of the nation, the need for uninterrupted service and concerns over environmental impacts are generating increased interest in small wind energy systems.

Small wind electric systems can make a significant contribution to our nation's energy needs. Although wind turbines large enough to provide a significant portion of the electricity needed by the average U.S. home generally require one acre of property or more, about 21 million homes are built on one acre or larger sites, and about one-quarter of the U.S. population lives in rural areas.

Small Wind Electric Systems provides basic information you need to answer essential questions and address many factors you need to consider to successfully install a small wind energy system and get maximum production.

A PDF version of the guide is located at Small Wind Electric Systems.

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Tips to Cut Your Summer Utility Bills...

Cooling Your Home Naturally

Keeping cool indoors when it is hot outdoors is a problem. The sun beating down on homes causes indoor temperatures to rise to uncomfortable levels. Air conditioning provides some relief.

But the initial costs of installing an air conditioner and the electricity costs to run it can be high. In addition, conventional air conditioners use refrigerants made of chlorine compounds, suspected contributors to the depletion of the ozone layer and global warming.

But there are alternatives to air conditioning. Here are some common sense suggestions and low-cost retrofit options from the U.S. Department of Energy to help you "keep your cool" -- and save electricity.

drawing of trees providing shade to a house
Trees providing shade to a house

Staying Cool

An alternative way to maintain a cool house or reduce air-conditioning use is natural cooling. This means using non-mechanical methods to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. The most effective method to cool your home is to keep the heat from building up in the first place.

The primary source of heat buildup is sunlight absorbed by your house through the roof, walls and windows. Secondary sources are heat-generating appliances in the home and air leakage. Specific methods to prevent this buildup include reflecting heat and sunlight away from the house, blocking the heat, removing built-up heat and reducing or eliminating heat-generating sources in your home.

Reflecting Heat Away

Dull, dark-colored home exteriors absorb 70 percent to 90 percent of the radiant energy from the sun that strikes the home's surfaces. Some of this absorbed energy is then transferred into your home by way of conduction, resulting in heat gain. In contrast, light-colored surfaces effectively reflect most of the heat away from your home.


About a third of the unwanted heat that builds up in your home comes in through the roof. This is hard to control with traditional roofing materials. For example, unlike most light-colored surfaces, even white asphalt and fiberglass shingles absorb 70 percent of the solar radiation.

One good solution is to apply a reflective coating to the existing roof. Two standard roofing coatings are available at your local hardware store. They have both waterproof and reflective properties and are marketed primarily for mobile homes and recreational vehicles.

One coating is white latex that you can apply over many common roofing materials, such as asphalt and fiberglass shingles, tar paper, and metal. Most manufacturers offer a 5-year warranty.

A second coating is asphalt-based and contains glass fibers and aluminum particles. You can apply it to most metal and asphalt roofs. Because it has a tacky surface, it attracts dust, which reduces its reflectivity somewhat.

Another way to reflect heat is to install a radiant barrier on the underside of your roof. A radiant barrier is simply a sheet of aluminum foil with a paper backing. When installed correctly, a radiant barrier can reduce heat gains through your ceiling by about 25 percent.

Radiant-barrier materials cost between 13 cents a square foot for a single-layer product with a kraft-paper backing and 30 cents a square foot for a vented multilayer product with a fiber-reinforced backing. The latter product doubles as insulation.


Wall color is not as important as roof color, but it does affect heat gain somewhat. White exterior walls absorb less heat than dark walls. And light, bright walls increase the longevity of siding, particularly on the east, west and south sides of the house.


Roughly 40 percent of the unwanted heat that builds up in your home comes in through windows. Reflective window coatings are one way to reflect heat away from your home. These coatings are plastic sheets treated with dyes or thin layers of metal. Besides keeping your house cooler, these reflective coatings cut glare and reduce fading of furniture, draperies and carpeting.

Two main types of coatings include sun-control films and combination films. Sun-control films are best for warmer climates because they can reflect as much as 80 percent of the incoming sunlight. Many of these films are tinted, however, and tend to reduce light transmission as much as they reduce heat, thereby darkening the room.

Combination films allow some light into a room but they also let some heat in and prevent interior heat from escaping. These films are best for climates that have both hot and cold seasons such as Nebraska. Investigate the different film options carefully to select the film that best meets your needs. You should not place reflective coatings on south-facing windows if you want to take advantage of heat gain during the winter. The coatings are applied to the interior surface of the window. Although you can apply the films yourself, it is a good idea to have a professional install the coatings, particularly if you have several large windows. This will ensure a more durable installation and a more aesthetically pleasing look.

Blocking the Heat

Two excellent methods to block heat are insulation and shading. Insulation helps keep your home comfortable and saves money on mechanical cooling systems such as air conditioners and electric fans. Shading devices block the sun's rays and absorb or reflect the solar heat.


Weatherization improvements -- such as insulating, weatherstripping and caulking -- help seal and protect your house against the summer heat in addition to keeping out the winter cold.

The attic is a good place to start insulating because it is a major source of heat gain. Adequately insulating the attic protects the upper floors of a house. Recommended attic insulation levels depend on where you live and the type of heating system you use.

For most Nebraska climates, you want a minimum of R-38.

Wall insulation is not as important for cooling as attic insulation because outdoor temperatures are not as hot as attic temperatures. Also, floor insulation has little or no effect on cooling.

Although unintentional infiltration of outside air is not a major contributor to inside temperature, it is still a good idea to keep it out. Outside air can infiltrate your home around poorly sealed doors, windows, electrical outlets and through openings in foundations and exterior walls. Thorough caulking and weatherstripping will control most of these air leaks.


Shading your home can reduce indoor temperatures by as much as 20 degrees. Effective shading can be provided by trees and other vegetation and exterior or interior shades.


Landscaping is a natural and beautiful way to shade your home and block the sun. A well-placed tree, bush or vine can deliver effective shade and add to the aesthetic value of your property. When designing your landscaping, use plants native to your area that survive with minimal care.

Deciduous trees that lose their leaves in the fall help cut cooling energy costs the most. When selectively placed around a house, they provide excellent protection from the summer sun and permit winter sunlight to reach and warm your house. The height, growth rate, branch spread and shape are all factors to consider in choosing a tree. Vines are a quick way to provide shading and cooling. Grown on trellises, vines can shade windows or the whole side of a house. Ask your local nursery which vine is best suited to your climate and needs.

Besides providing shade, trees and vines create a cool microclimate that dramatically reduces the temperature by as much as 9 degrees in the surrounding area. During photosynthesis, large amounts of water vapor escape through the leaves, cooling the passing air. And the generally dark and coarse leaves absorb solar radiation.

You might also consider low ground cover such as grass, small plants and bushes. A grass-covered lawn is usually 10 degrees cooler than bare ground in the summer. If you are in an arid or semiarid climate, consider native ground covers that require little water.

Continued in the next column

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Tips to Cut Your Summer Utility Bills... continued...

Shading Devices

Both exterior and interior shades control heat gain. Exterior shades are generally more effective than interior shades because they block sunlight before it enters windows. When deciding which devices to use and where to use them, consider whether you are willing to open and close them daily or just put them up for the hottest season. You also want to know how they will affect ventilation.

Exterior shading devices include awnings, louvers, shutters, rolling shutters and shades and solar screens.

Awnings are very effective because they block direct sunlight. They are usually made of fabric or metal and are attached above the window and extend down and out. A properly installed awning can reduce heat gain up to 65 percent on southern windows and 77 percent on eastern windows. A light-colored awning does double duty by also reflecting sunlight. Maintaining a gap between the top of the awning and the side of your house helps vent accumulated heat from under a solid-surface awning. In Nebraska, you will want to remove awnings for winter storage, or buy retractable ones, to take advantage of winter heat gain.

The amount of drop, or how far down the awning comes, depends on which side of your house the window is on. An east or west window needs a drop of 65 percent to 75 percent of the window height. A south-facing window only needs a drop of 45 percent to 60 percent for the same amount of shade. A pleasing angle to the eye for mounting an awning is 45 degrees. Make sure the awning does not project into the path of foot traffic unless it is at least 6 feet 8 inches from the ground. One disadvantage of awnings is that they can block views, particularly on the east and west sides. However, slatted awnings do allow limited viewing through the top parts of windows.

Louvers are attractive because their adjustable slats control the level of sunlight entering the home and, depending on the design, can be adjusted from inside or outside the house. The slats can be vertical or horizontal. Louvers remain fixed and are attached to the exteriors of window frames.

Shutters are movable wooden or metal coverings that, when closed, keep sunlight out. Shutters are either solid or slatted with fixed or adjustable slats. Besides reducing heat gain, they can provide privacy and security. Some shutters help insulate windows when it is cold outside.

Rolling shutters have a series of horizontal slats that run down along a track. Rolling shades use a fabric. These are the most expensive shading options, but they work well and can provide security. Many exterior rolling shutters or shades can be conveniently controlled from the inside. One disadvantage is that when fully extended, they block all light.

Solar screens resemble standard window screens except they keep direct sunlight from entering the window, cut glare and block light without blocking the view or eliminating air flow. They also provide privacy by restricting the view of the interior from outside your house. Solar screens come in a variety of colors and screening materials to compliment any home. Although do-it-yourself kits are available, these screens will not last as long as professionally built screens.

Although interior shading is not as effective as exterior shading, it is worthwhile if none of the previously mentioned techniques are possible.

There are several ways to block the sun's heat from inside your house.

Draperies and curtains made of tightly woven, light-colored, opaque fabrics reflect more of the sun's rays than they let through. The tighter the curtain is against the wall around the window, the better it will prevent heat gain. Two layers of draperies improve the effectiveness of the draperies' insulation when it is either hot or cold outside.

Venetian blinds, although not as effective as draperies, can be adjusted to let in some light and air while reflecting the sun's heat. Some newer blinds are coated with reflective finishes. To be effective, the reflective surfaces must face the outdoors.

Some interior cellular (honeycombed) shades also come with reflective mylar coatings. But they block natural light and restrict air flow.

Opaque roller shades are effective when fully drawn but also block light and restrict air flow.

Removing Built-Up Heat

Nothing feels better on a hot day than a cool breeze. Encouraging cool air to enter your house forces warm air out, keeping your house comfortably cool. However, this strategy only works when the inside temperature is higher than the outside temperature.

Natural ventilation maintains indoor temperatures close to outdoor temperatures and helps remove heat from your home. But only ventilate during the coolest parts of the day or night, and seal off your house from the hot sun and air during the hottest parts of the day.

The climate you live in determines the best ventilation strategy. In areas with cool nights and very hot days, let the night air in to cool your house. A well-insulated house will gain only 1 degree an hour if the outside temperature is 85-90 degrees. By the time the interior heats up, the outside air should be cooler and can be allowed indoors.

In climates with daytime breezes, open windows on the side from where the breeze is coming and on the opposite side of the house. Keep interior doors open to encourage whole-house ventilation. If your location lacks consistent breezes, create them by opening windows at the lowest and highest points in your house. This natural "thermosiphoning," or "chimney," effect can be taken a step further by adding a clerestory or a vented skylight.

In hot, humid climates where temperature swings between day and night are small, ventilate when humidity is not excessive. Ventilating your attic greatly reduces the amount of accumulated heat, which eventually works its way into the main part of your house. Ventilated attics are about 30 degrees cooler than unventilated attics. Properly sized and placed louvers and roof vents help prevent moisture buildup and overheating in your attic.

Reducing Heat-Generating Sources

Often-overlooked sources of interior heat gain are lights and household appliances, such as ovens, dishwashers and dryers.

Because most of the energy that incandescent lamps use is given off as heat, use them only when necessary. Take advantage of daylight to illuminate your house and consider switching to compact fluorescent lamps. These use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent lamps and emit 90 percent less heat for the same amount of light.

Many household appliances generate a lot of heat. When possible, use them in the morning or late evening when you can better tolerate the extra heat. Consider cooking on an outside barbecue grill or use a microwave oven, which does not generate as much heat and uses less energy than a gas or electric range.

Washers, dryers, dishwashers and water heaters also generate large amounts of heat and humidity. To gain the most benefit, seal off your laundry room and water heater from the rest of the house.

New, energy-efficient appliances generate less heat and use less energy. When it is time to purchase new appliances, make sure they are energy efficient. All refrigerators, dishwashers and dryers display an EnergyGuide label indicating the annual estimated cost for operating the appliance or a standardized energy efficiency ratio. Compare appliances and buy the most efficient models for your needs.

Saving Energy

Using any or all of these strategies will help keep you cool. Even if you use air conditioning, many of these strategies, particularly reflecting heat and shading, will help reduce the energy costs of running an air conditioner.

However, adopting all of these strategies may not be enough. Sometimes you need to supplement natural cooling with mechanical devices. Fans and evaporative coolers can supplement your cooling strategies and cost less to install and run than air conditioners.

Ceiling fans make you feel cooler. Their effect is equivalent to lowering the air temperature by about 4 degrees. Evaporative coolers use about one-fourth the energy of conventional air conditioners, but are effective only in dry climates.

Some utilities offer rebates and other cost incentives when you purchase or install energy-saving products, such as insulation and energy-efficient lighting and appliances. Contact your local utility company to see what it offers in the way of incentives.

More Information

Other tips can be found in the booklet, Tips for Energy Savers.

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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.

Loans as of June 30, 2001: 18,391 loans for $129.2 million
Questions and Answers...

5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans

Ben Franklin on a $100 bill
If emergency approval to replace a cooling system has been received, can heating and water heating systems be installed 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 borrower's added expenses.

Last fall, I learned the Energy Office was expediting the review of energy audits for irrigation projects because of the extreme dry spell being experienced in much of the state. Are these projects still being expedited?

The Energy Office is no longer giving priority to irrigation projects. With the moisture relief experienced over the past few months and the increase in demand in loan applications from all the sectors, the Energy Office is processing loan applications and technical audits in the order they are received.

My utility bills were quite high over the winter months and I was wondering if there were any resources available to me to help identify improvements I could be making to help soften the impact of continued high fuel prices?

The loan program application Forms 1, 2, 3 and 4 list a variety of improvements you can make which will typically have a 10 to 15 year payback, depending on the age and condition of the equipment being replaced or the building or home being improved.

If you would rather have an energy audit conducted to more clearly identify cost effective improvements before you make a decision to undertake any improvements, you could contact a rater certified under the Nebraska Home Energy Rating System to conduct a rating analysis and provide you with a report and list of suggested energy efficiency improvements. These ratings also can be done on small multi-family dwellings.

If you own a commercial business or a larger multi-family building, you could contact an engineering or architectural firm which provides those services. The Energy Office maintains a list of certified home energy raters and energy auditors participating in the Dollar and Energy Saving Loan Program.

Continued in the next column

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Questions and Answers... continued...
Has the recent surge in fuel costs, the dry weather experienced by farmers and ranchers, and a colder than usual winter in most parts of the state, affected demand for Dollar and Energy Savings Loans?

Even with the addition of $600,000 in oil overcharge funds to the loan pool, all the funds which are available have been committed to applications or invested in loans. Now, the Energy Office must rely on repayments to fund new applications. If repayments are insufficient for the demand, the Energy Office will establish a waiting list for completed applications eligible for funding and commit funds to those applications in the order in which they have been received and found to be eligible and complete.

If a waiting list for loans develops and my loan application is on the list, may I go ahead and do my project?

No. Projects may not be contracted for or started before the Energy Office has signed a Commitment Agreement with your lender for our share of the loan. If you move ahead with your project before that happens, you are no longer eligible for a loan. The only exceptions to this situation are emergency heating system replacements in the winter and emergency cooling system replacements for medical reasons in the summer, which require prior approval.

Do you have to submit more than one form for some projects such as doors, windows, roofs and siding? If so, what application forms must be completed along with project estimates?

Application Form 2, Door, Window, Wall and Ceiling Projects, must be completed and submitted by the loan applicant for all projects listed on that form. In addition to Form 2, the loan applicant and contractor must complete and submit Form 2/Siding if the wall insulation project includes siding; Form 2/Roofing if the attic or ceiling insulation project includes roof repair or replacement; and Form 2/Window/Door if the project is for the replacement of windows or exterior doors. All borrower forms can be downloaded from the agency's web site, DESL Program.

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 a doctor verifying there is a medical reason the cooling system must be installed immediately. Information on the system being installed must also be supplied.

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 started and the loan paperwork submitted as soon as the system is installed.

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The Best Home Improvement Tip

R-19 insulation being installed in an attic

"Earn 50 percent or more on your investment by installing insulation and weatherstripping to cut your heating and air conditioning costs."

Andrew Tobias, finance writer Parade, February 18, 2001

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“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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