September
2001

Nebraska Energy Quarterly logo Nebraska Energy Quarterly gasoline pump

A Nebraska High School Goes Under the Microscope

In May, officials at Pius X Central High School in Lincoln got a generally good-to-excellent report card...

Taking a semi-annual, self-help approach...

Geothermal Heat Pump Installations Likely to Increase

One of the barriers to the use of geothermal heat pumps in Nebraska has been...

Geothermal heat pumps use...

geothermal workshop attendees
Geothermal workshop attendees

Steam Plant Workshop Coming to Omaha

The slowing national economy has re-focused attention...

Nebraska Energy Data on the Internet

A quick glance at how much Nebraskans..."

The Energy Information Administration...

Automatic and Programmable Thermostats

In our modern, high-tech society, we don't think much about some of the electronic gadgets...

When a Heat Pump is...

5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans

What must be done to qualify when furnaces fail in winter?...

Information Services and Resources

The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse provides...

A Trio of Solar Web Sites...


A Look at Air Quality and Energy Issues...

A Nebraska High School Goes Under the Microscope

In May, officials at Pius X Central High School in Lincoln got a generally good-to-excellent report card on their building and its air quality thanks to a federal effort targeted to locating pollution problems and energy efficiency opportunities in schools.

The effort brought together administrators, engineers and architects, maintenance staff, teachers, students and others, and went further than the federal model effort, Tools for Schools, on which it was patterned.

Looking for a Team

One of the first uses of Tools for Schools materials in Nebraska didn't just happen. First, the regional office the Environmental Protection Agency wanted a guinea pig to test integrating energy efficiency improvements and indoor air quality issues in the state - to get the ball rolling, if you will. The Nebraska Energy Office stepped up for the task.

As an inducement, the federal agency offered a small grant and access to an air quality expert, Bruce Snead, from Kansas State University. Finding other team members, including a school, was the next task. Technical partners also included Lincoln Electric System, Peoples Natural Gas, Nebraska Departments of Health and Human Services and Environmental Quality and the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department.

Pius X High School Lincoln, Nebraska
Pius X High School Lincoln, Nebraska

The professional team was in place, but one key player -- a school -- was missing. The Energy Office thought the best candidate would be a private school with a large facility located near Lincoln. That's when Father Michael Morin of Pius got a call.

Father Morin expressed an interest and, when EPA reviewed the team and the project specifics, the project got a go-ahead.

At the Tool Team's first meeting, an idea surfaced that was not a part of the Tools for Schools model: a survey of teachers and staff to get their thoughts about energy issues such as heating and cooling as well as the air quality where they study and work. Within a month, the results from the questionnaires were in hand and the school's building plans had been reviewed.

Over the next two months, professionals conducted on-site reviews of the building and its various systems. They collected information on the building envelope, heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation as well as energy using equipment such as computers and motors.

Getting the Results

An early review of the data confirmed the school was a miser when it came to using energy and only minor adjustments needed to be made in this area. Based on the study, Pius X Central High School energy use is 40 percent below the national average for facilities of its size and type.

The Team ranked the report findings according to importance, making it easier for building officials to prioritize any needed changes. Air quality issues generally focused on lowering air intakes so existing ventilation systems could function properly and implementing dust collection in the wood shop. Among the recommendations to reduce energy use included:

  • converting exit light fixtures to ones with light emitting diodes,
  • turning off furnace pilot lights in little-used facilities such as stadiums and locker rooms,
  • sealing abandoned roof exhaust fan openings, and
  • converting fluorescent fixtures to more efficient models using T-8 lamps and electronic ballasts.

The Team estimated the total cost of the improvements at $55,200. The improvements that focused on reducing energy use were estimated to save $4,000 a year. The cost of some of the recommended improvements could be recovered in as little as four months, others might take 16 years.

The Team also recommended such changes as turning off computers when the building was unoccupied and installing motion-detecting light switches in locker rooms, restrooms and storage areas.

Try Tools in Your School

An estimated one-quarter of America's population spend their days in elementary and secondary schools. A recent study, Condition of America's Schools by the Government Accounting Office, indicated that up to half of the 115,000 schools have at least one environmental problem that affects indoor air quality.

Students tend to be at greater risk because of the hours spent in schools and because they are more susceptible to pollution. Health and comfort are also factors that contribute to learning and productivity in the classroom.

The Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Kit shows schools how to carry out a practical plan of action to improve indoor air problems, at little or no cost, using straightforward activities and in-house staff. Free materials can be downloaded or ordered at Environmental Protection Agency's web site at Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Kit.

The Kit includes a coordinator's guide and forms, nine different indoor air quality checklists and problem solving materials.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools is co-sponsored by the National PTA, National Education Association, Council for American Private Education, Association of School Business Officials, American Federation of Teachers and the American Lung Association.

For more information

A complete copy of the Tools for Schools report, including detailed specifics about recommended improvements, can be found at the Energy Office's web site at Tools for Schools

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scott middle school
Scott Middle School

Lincoln Middle School is Regional Excellence Winner

Taking a semi-annual, self-help approach enabled Lincoln's Scott Middle School to walk away with a regional 2001 Excellence Award in a national Tools for Schools competition.

This program is sponsored nationwide by the Environmental Protection Agency. Modifying the Tools for Schools kit, Scott Middle School staff and teachers formed not one, but five management teams of teachers.

Checklists are used to scour the building twice a year searching for pollution problems. When high levels of formaldehyde were detected, additional fresh air was brought in. Indoor air problems were caused by a nearby illegal construction site fire that was quickly brought under control. Since the Tools effort began at Scott Middle School, students' respiratory system complaints have been eliminated.

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What Brings Engineers Together?...

Geothermal Heat Pump Installations Likely to Increase

Geothermal workshop attendees at their assigned computers
Geothermal workshop attendees
at their assigned computers

A portion of the geothermal design workshop was devoted to having participants gain experience in utilizing geothermal heat pumps in building designs. Attendees, pictured here, learn that a software program makes the job a lot easier.

One of the barriers to the use of geothermal heat pumps in Nebraska has been a lack of people who knew how to install the systems or how to use these systems in buildings. Because of a recent series of workshops, those days are over.

During the past two years, the Energy Office has provided a series of training sessions to remove some of the barriers to geothermal heat pump use in the state. The state's three largest utilities -- Lincoln Electric System, Nebraska Public Power District and Omaha Public Power District -- have provided critical support for the endeavor.

Sixty-seven engineers and other professionals gained experience in heat pump design and cost containment issues at the most recent session held in Millard in August. One of the nation's leading experts on geothermal heat pump design and training software, Dr. Steven Kavanaugh of Energy Information Services in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, led the one-day session.

Previous geothermal heat pump workshops provided well drillers and others with International Ground Source Heat Pump certification courses. Taught by another national leading expert, Dr. Charles Remund of the Geothermal Support Center in Brookings, South Dakota, these courses featured practical applications of the technology so Nebraska well drillers could become proficient in installation practices.

The Nebraska workshops were made possible with a $50,000 State Energy Project grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

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What is a Geothermal Heat Pump?

Geothermal heat pumps use the relatively constant temperature of soil or surface water as a heat source and sink for a heat pump, which provides heating and cooling for buildings. Geothermal heat pumps produce heat more efficiently than furnaces, boilers and air-source heat pumps. The higher cost of installation of this type of heat pump is usually offset by low costs for operation and maintenance.

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Nebraska's Petroleum Profile

Nebraska pipelines

When people think of Nebraska, images of oil fields and refineries do not come to mind. Even though Nebraska has more than 1,000 oil wells, it is not a large oil producing region.

Nebraska has no petroleum refineries, but the state does produce 8,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Nebraska's petroleum-related infrastructure also includes several crude oil product pipelines.

Almost half of the petroleum consumed in Nebraska is used in the form of gasoline.

More information on Nebraska's petroleum profile can be found at: Nebraska's Petroleum Profile.

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October 25...

Steam Plant Workshop Coming to Omaha

Steam plant boiler
Steam plant boiler

The slowing national economy has re-focused attention on energy efficiency, especially in larger commercial and industrial buildings. But, some plant managers believe up-front costs for making improvements in steam plants in large facilities may be too costly.

A workshop scheduled for October 24 and 25 in Omaha will offer methods to recognize cost-saving potential areas in steam plants and to make the necessary changes so savings can be realized.

Among the areas covered in the workshop will be operating and maintenance procedures, fast payback heat recovery and cogeneration projects. Attendees will also learn the latest techniques for measurement instrumentation, safety equipment and testing, cleaning and storage options.

The Boiler Efficiency Institute, which is conducting the workshops, is the nationally recognized leader in training for optimizing facility systems to minimize costs. Instructors from the Institute have presented several hundred cost-reduction workshops on boiler efficiency and heating, ventilating and air conditioning plant operation improvement over the last 17 years.

The Boiler Efficiency workshop will be held at the Embassy Suites in downtown Omaha at 555 South 10th Street. The Energy Office is a co-sponsor of the session.

The registration fee for the two day workshop is $695, which includes two textbooks, program materials, computer software, lunch and refreshments. Lodging expenses are not included. Attendees must make their own hotel reservations.

For more information, contact the Boiler Efficiency Institute by phone at 800-669-6948, and by email at Boiler Efficiency

More information about the Boiler Efficiency Institute can be found at Boiler Institute

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Continuous Updates...

Nebraska Energy Data on the Internet

A quick glance at how much Nebraskans spent for energy over nearly three decades, provides a snapshot of the impact energy use and prices have had on our lives.

In 1970, Americans gathered for the first Earth Day -- it was called the First National Environmental Teach-In then. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" topped the charts and bread cost 24 cents a loaf, eggs were $1.23 a dozen and a quart of milk was 33 cents. That year, Nebraskans' total energy bill was $667 million. Sixty percent of the bill was spent on oil-based products such as gasoline and diesel fuel.

By 1976, and after the first of the oil price shocks, Nebraskans' total energy bill had doubled to more than $1.4 billion. Five years later the bill had doubled again to $2.7 billion, after the second price shock. While the cost of petroleum products had soared to nearly $1.7 billion, oil's share of the total energy bill was 62 percent, not much different than in 1970. By 1997, energy expenditures hit $3.8 billion, nearly six times the amount spent in 1970.

A 40-year look at energy use in Nebraska is also one of the newly updated series that is now on the Internet. In 1960, Nebraskans used a little more than 308 trillion British thermal units. Nearly four decades later in 1999, Nebraskans had doubled their energy consumption to 602 trillion British thermal units. (A British thermal unit is a standard measure of heat energy.) Surprisingly, Nebraskans' energy expenditures in 1970 were 11.8 percent of personal income, but by 1997 expenditures had declined to just 9.4 percent of personal income.

The updated Nebraska statistics database is now accessible from the agency's web site at Nebraska Energy Statistics page.

At the Energy Office's Energy Statistics page. The screen lists all of the data series maintained by the agency. At the time of publication, the State Totals, Petroleum and Motor Vehicle information have been updated. Data in the remaining sections is based on Nebraska Energy Statistics, 1960-1997.

The date of the last modification and the next major update is listed at the bottom of each data series.

All dollar amounts in the database have not been adjusted for inflation.

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And Data From a Different Perspective...

The Energy Information Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy, has recently revised a portion of its web site devoted to state-based energy information. In addition to expanding the content available, the data series have been updated to 1999 in many areas.

Among the sections modified and improved include:

  • Petroleum -- product prices, sales and stocks
  • Natural gas -- prices, production and sales, restructuring plans and data summaries
  • Electricity -- sales and revenue for residential, commercial, industrial and all sectors, restructuring plans and data summaries
  • Nuclear -- information on the state's two nuclear reactors
  • Coal -- data summaries
  • Total energy -- prices and consumption

The revised Nebraska section also includes an energy infrastructure map as well as links to other state-based resources such as wind and other types of alternative energy resources. The map of regional energy markets includes electricity plants greater than 100 megawatts and the type of fuel used and energy processing and transmission systems for electricity, natural gas and petroleum.

On the web at: EIA Nebraska Information

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An Easy Way to Slash Your Energy Bill by 5 to 15%...

Automatic and Programmable Thermostats

In our modern, high-tech society, we don't think much about some of the electronic gadgets in our homes. Take, for example, the ever-present thermostat - a staple of American households for decades.

This modest device controls the comfort of your family on the coldest day in January and the hottest day in July.

programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostat

You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68℉ (20℃) when you're at home and awake, and lowering it when you are asleep or away. This strategy is effective and inexpensive if you are willing to adjust the thermostat by hand and wake up in a chilly house. In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning, too, by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lowering the thermostat setting to 78℉ (26℃) only when you are at home and need cooling.

Heating and Cooling Myths

A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. This misconception has been dispelled by years of research and numerous studies. The fuel required to reheat a building to a comfortable temperature is roughly equal to the fuel saved as the building drops to the lower temperature. You save fuel between the time that the temperature stabilizes at the lower level and the next time heat is needed. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save.

Another misconception is that the higher you raise a thermostat, the more heat the furnace will put out, or that the house will warm up faster if the thermostat is raised higher. Furnaces put out the same amount of heat no matter how high the thermostat is set - the variable is how long it must stay on to reach the set temperature.

In the winter, significant savings can be obtained by manually or automatically reducing your thermostat's temperature setting for as little as four hours per day. These savings can be attributed to a building's heat loss in the winter, which depends greatly on the difference between the inside and outside temperatures.

For example, if you set the temperature back on your thermostat for an entire night, your energy savings will be substantial. By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save about 5 percent to 15 percent a year on your heating bill -- a savings of as much as 1 percent for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates. In the summer, you can achieve similar savings by keeping the indoor temperature a bit higher when you're away than you do when you're at home.

But there is a certain amount of inconvenience that results from manually controlling the temperature on your thermostat. This includes waking up in a cooler than normal house in the winter and possibly forgetting to adjust the thermostat when you leave the house or go to bed.

Let The Thermostat Do It For You

To maximize your energy savings without sacrificing comfort, you can install an automatic setback or programmable thermostat. It will adjust the temperature setting for you. While you might forget to turn down the heat before you leave for work in the morning, a programmable thermostat will not. By maintaining the highest or lowest required temperatures for four or five hours a day instead of 24 hours, a programmable thermostat can pay for itself in energy saved within four years.

Programmable thermostats have features with which you may be unfamiliar. The newest generation of residential thermostat technologies is based on microprocessors and thermistor sensors. Most of these programmable thermostats perform one or more of the following energy control functions:

  • Store and repeat multiple daily settings, which you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.
  • Store six or more temperature settings a day.
  • Adjust heating or air conditioning turn-on times as the outside temperature changes.

Most programmable thermostats have liquid crystal temperature displays. Some have back-up battery packs that eliminate the need to reprogram the time or clock in case of a power failure. New programmable thermostats can be programmed to accommodate life style and control heating and cooling systems as needed.

A Quintet of Choices

There are five basic types of automatic and programmable thermostats: electromechanical, digital, hybrid, occupancy and light sensing. Most range in price from $30 to $100, except for occupancy and light sensing thermostats, which cost around $200.

Electromechanical thermostats, usually the easiest devices to operate, typically have manual controls such as movable tabs to set a rotary timer and sliding levers for night and day temperature settings. These thermostats work with most conventional heating and cooling systems, except heat pumps. These controls have limited flexibility and can store only the same settings for each day, although at least one manufacturer has a model with separate settings for each day of the week. These thermostats are best suited for people with regular schedules.

Digital thermostats are identified by their LED or LCD digital readout and data entry pads or buttons. They offer the widest range of features and flexibility, and digital thermostats can be used with most heating and cooling systems. They provide precise temperature control, and they permit custom scheduling. Programming some models can be fairly complicated. Make sure you are comfortable with the functions and operation of the thermostat you choose. Remember, you will not save energy if you do not set the controls or you set them incorrectly.

Hybrid systems combine the technology of digital controls with manual slides and knobs to simplify use and maintain flexibility. Hybrid models are available for most systems, including heat pumps.

Occupancy thermostats maintain the setback temperature until someone presses a button to call for heating or cooling. They do not rely on the time of day. The ensuing preset "comfort period" lasts from 30 minutes to 12 hours, depending on how you set the thermostat. Then, the temperature returns to the setback level. These units offer the ultimate in simplicity, but lack flexibility. Occupancy thermostats are best suited for spaces that remain unoccupied for long periods of time.

Light sensing heat thermostats rely on the lighting level preset by the owner to activate heating systems. When lighting is reduced, a photocell inside the thermostat senses unoccupied conditions and allows space temperatures to fall 10ø below the occupied temperature setting. When lighting levels increase to normal, temperatures automatically adjust to comfort conditions. These units do not require batteries or programming and reset themselves after power failures. Light sensing thermostats are designed primarily for stores and offices where occupancy determines lighting requirements, and therefore heating requirements.

Choosing a Programmable Thermostat

Because programmable thermostats are a relatively new technology, you should learn as much as you can before selecting a unit. When shopping for a thermostat, take information with you about your current unit, including the brand and model number. Also, ask these questions before buying a thermostat:

  • Does the unit's clock draw its power from the heating systems' low-voltage electrical control circuit instead of a battery? If so, is the clock disrupted when the furnace cycles on and off? Many homeowners prefer battery-operated back-up thermostats.
  • Is the thermostat compatible with the electrical wiring found in your current unit?
  • Are you able to install it yourself, or should you hire an electrician or a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning contractor?
  • How precise is the thermostat?
  • Are the programming instructions easy to understand and remember? Some thermostats have the instructions printed on the cover or inside the housing box. Otherwise, will you have to consult the instruction booklet every time you want to change the setback times?

Most automatic and programmable thermostats completely replace existing units. These types are preferred by many homeowners.

Before you buy a programmable thermostat, chart your weekly habits including wake up and departure times, return home times, and bedtimes, and the temperatures that are comfortable during those times. This will help you decide what type of thermostat will best serve your needs.

The following table shows an example of how to chart your weekly habits.

Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun.
6:00am
68°F
6:00am
68°F
6:00am
68°F
6:00am
68°F
6:00am
68°F
6:00am
68°F
6:00am
68°F
7:30am
60°F
7:30am
60°F
7:30am
60°F
7:30am
60°F
7:30am
60°F
- - - - - -
5:00pm
68°F
5:00pm
68°F
5:00pm
68°F
5:00pm
68°F
5:00pm
68°F
-- --
10:00pm
62°F
10:00pm
62°F
10:00pm
62°F
10:00pm
62°F
10:00pm
62°F
10:30pm
62°F
10:30pm
62°F

Location, Location and Location

The location of your thermostat can affect its performance and efficiency. Read the manufacturer's installation instructions to prevent "ghost readings" or unnecessary furnace or air conditioner cycling. Place thermostats away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights and windows. Also make sure your thermostat is conveniently located for programming.

Some modern heating and cooling systems require special controls. Heat pumps are the most common and usually require special setback thermostats. These thermostats typically use special algorithms to minimize the use of backup electric resistance heat systems. Electric resistance systems, such as electric baseboard heating, also require thermostats capable of directly controlling 120 volt or 240 volt line-voltage circuits. Only a few companies manufacture line-voltage setback thermostats.

The best thermostat for you will depend on your life style and comfort level in varying house temperatures. While automatic and programmable thermostats save energy, a manual unit can be equally effective if you diligently regulate its setting -- and if you do not mind a chilly house on winter mornings.

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Note for Heat Pump Owners

When a heat pump is in its heating mode, setting back a conventional heat pump thermostat can cause the unit to operate inefficiently, thereby canceling out any savings achieved by lowering the temperature setting. Maintaining a moderate setting is the most cost-effective practice.

Recently, however, some companies have begun selling specially designed setback thermostats for heat pumps, which make setting back the thermostat cost effective. In its cooling mode, the heat pump operates like an air conditioner; therefore, manually turning up the thermostat will save you money.

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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 $140 million
Questions and Answers...
Ben Franklin on a $100 bill

5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans

Can Dollar and Energy Saving Loans finance improvements in public schools?

No. Under the guidelines, "only legal residents of Nebraska may apply for loans and mortgages. A legal resident is a Nebraska taxpayer, a Nebraska-chartered corporation, a subdivision of Nebraska government except schools and state government or a person who has maintained a permanent residence and lived in the state for more than six months." Private schools, categorized as a business or nonprofit, are eligible for a loan of up to $100,000.

I have heard the Energy Office has eliminated loans for Climate Wise partners. Is this true?

Climate Wise was an effort by the U.S. Department of Energy designed to encourage manufacturers and industries to chart a course for reducing pollution and energy waste in their facilities. Recently, Climate Wise was replaced with EnergyStarr, a joint endeavor by the energy agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is a broader-based, but similar effort targeting pollution and energy use reductions.

If a business, institution, or manufacturer becomes a voluntary EnergyStar partner or already is a Climate Wise partner, the company can borrow up to $150,000 through a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan for making energy efficiency and pollution reduction improvements in their buildings and systems. The maximum amount of money businesses that are not EnergyStar partners can borrow is $100,000.

I've heard there are some costs for getting Dollar and Energy Saving Loans. What are these costs?

The only fees a participating lender may charge are out-of-pocket expenses, a physical inspection fee of up to $50, a loan documentation fee to cover indirect or overhead costs up to $50, and a 2 percent origination fee if the term of the loan is for the maximum length of time -- ten years for home building and system improvements, five years of appliance replacements -- and the simple payback period for projects requiring an audit.

Is the Energy Office still financing new home construction?

The agency is putting new home construction temporarily on hold while new standards are being developed to include upgraded energy efficiency standards, construction waste reduction and incorporation of recycled content materials.

Through June 2001, the agency has financed 89 new homes with a total project cost of more than $21 million. Additional homes were conditionally approved for financing before the temporary hold was implemented.

What must be done to qualify for a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan when furnaces fail in the winter or are "red-tagged" as unsafe to operate?

In situations such as these, the lender needs to provide the Energy Office with an explanation of the emergency furnace problem and the specifics on the new equipment to be installed. As soon as this information is received from the lender, the Energy Office verifies the new equipment meets the requirements for a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan, then notifies the lender that the borrower may proceed with the replacement furnace.

However, the lender still needs to submit all the applicable loan paperwork to obtain a commitment of Energy Office funds for the furnace.

Replacement equipment must not be installed prior to the lender receiving notification from the Energy Office that the replacement equipment qualifies.

Should the emergency situation arise when the Energy Office is closed, the replacement may be installed, but the lender needs to contact the Energy Office as soon as the Office opens to verify the equipment that was installed meets loan criteria. Extreme caution should be used by lenders in these cases to make certain that equipment meeting Energy Office standards has been installed and the replacement was a justified emergency -- the equipment was "red-tagged," emitting carbon monoxide, or the heat exchanger was cracked -- that could not be postponed until the Office re-opened.

Will the Energy Office finance the purchase of clothes dryers? It seems like they use more energy than a dishwasher.

The criteria for financing the purchase of certain types of appliances, such as dishwashers are based on a simple premise: some appliance models are substantially more energy efficient than others and have a probable payback of five years or less.

In other types of appliances there are few differences in the amount of energy used from model to model. That is the case with clothes dryers. The technology in clothes dryers varies little from model to model, so substantial energy savings are not possible. A second factor is that energy guide labels are not required for clothes dryers and few companies rate their dryers.

If you are seeking the most energy efficient clothes dryer, select one with moisture sensors, followed by temperature control and, lastly, simple timers. You can also find more information on this topic under "product information" at Energy Star which is a federal government web site that identifies the most energy-efficient appliances, products and materials.

In addition to clothes dryers, the Energy Office does not consider gas or electric kitchen ranges and microwave ovens as pre-qualified improvements because there are few energy-saving differences among brands and models. A borrower can demonstrate an appliance is eligible by submitting an energy audit showing the new appliance will save enough in utility costs to recover the cost of the new unit in five years or less. The Energy Office's Technical Advisor will review the energy audit and accept the calculations if they are deemed to be reasonable. However, it is still unlikely that clothes dryers, kitchen ranges and microwave ovens will meet this test for the very reasons stated earlier.

Low-interest Dollar and Energy Saving Loans exist to provide market-based incentives to direct Nebraska consumers to the most energy-efficient products.

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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

A Trio of Solar Energy Web Sites...

Solar Buzz

solar panels on a roof

This portal to the world of solar energy includes a wealth of information on applications of solar energy, its use by electric utilities, its role in distributed generation, and the technology behind photovoltaic devices, including how they are manufactured. Information about codes and standards, a solar module price survey and a worldwide listing of solar manufacturers are also available.

Solar Partners

Global Solar Partners brings together teachers and students from around the world to share ideas about energy in a sustainable future. The site allows students to research solar energy in their own communities and then exchange information and ideas with students from other schools. The site's project showcase allows teachers and students to see what schools in different countries have already accomplished. A teaching and learning resources section, featuring a hands-on photovoltaic kit and lesson plans, is also included. This site is a project of the Association for Science Education.

Dr. E's Energy Lab

Dr. E's Energy Lab
Dr. E's Energy Lab

Kids will enjoy this new site on the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network, which rounds up the best web sites for them to learn about energy efficiency and renewable energy. The site provides links to information on wind, solar, geothermal and alternative fuels, as well as links to general sites on renewable energy and energy efficiency. And to keep the experience fun, an elastic trail of bouncy spheres follows your cursor wherever it goes!

One-Stop Auto Information for Consumers

A number of new features have been added to the U.S. Department of Energy's fuel economy web site: Fuel Economy

  • National and regional fuel price information. Data from the American Automobile Association and the Energy Information Administration on regional and national fuel prices is now available as well as fuel pricing information and frequently asked questions.
  • Vehicle safety ratings. This new feature is provided by the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and features methods of finding which vehicles may perform best in frontal and side impact tests.
  • Air pollution emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency has added a feature that calculates the amount of different types of pollutants each vehicle model emits.

A new renewable energy web site from the U.S. Department of Energy is oriented to consumers who use smaller amounts of energy: Consumer Guide to Renewable Energy for Your Home or Business.

This new web site on the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network shows consumers how they can buy electricity made from renewable sources in their state, evaluate the environmental benefits of clean power and learn how clean power is generated. In addition, the site helps you decide if owning a renewable energy system is appropriate by evaluating the available technologies, teaching about connecting to the grid and sizing a system and presenting the available incentives. A special section on powering a home or small business with a small wind system is also included. This site is provided by the Office of Power Technologies at Office of Power Technologies.

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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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