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We have a winner!

Furnace Replacement

Les Schell was the winner of our recent E-Service Promotion at Ponderosa Heating & Heating and Cooling. He won two tickets to the 5th Portland Trailblazer game against the Cleveland Cavaliers by simply scheduling a call on our website. Congratulations Les!

New tax credits: What’s out there?

Furnace Replacement

Ponderosa Heating & Cooling employees move a new heat pump into place Wednesday at the home of Zane Mason in rural Sisters. Under the federal economic stimulus plan, homeowners can now get a bigger tax break for installing certain energy - saving devices, including some types of insulation, windows, roofing and heat pumps.

Pete Erickson / The Bulletin

Energy efficiency upgrades can be pricey, but incentives may cover 40 to 60 percent.

By Kate Ramsayer / The Bulletin
Published: April 25. 2009 4:00AM PST


After a winter of paying high heating bills but still living in a chilly house, Tania Piper and Colin Mahood, of Bend, decided to see what they could do to make their house less drafty.

“I want our house to be efficient; I don’t want to be wasting our money or wasting resources,” Piper said. “So for me, it was obvious that it was something that needed to be a priority.”

They hired a company to do a series of tests to find the home’s problem spots and received a list of improvements that would help make the house more airtight, like adding insulation in the floors and sealing leaks around ducts — work that came with a price tag of more than $2,000. But with federal and state tax credits and power company incentives, that cost was cut by more than half.

And this year, under the federal economic stimulus plan, more federal tax credits are available to homeowners who want to make energy-efficient upgrades.

Piper and Mahood wouldn’t have hired businesses to make the improvements if they didn’t have tax credits or rebates, Piper said.

“It was huge for us to get the tax credits and incentives,” she said.

With the increase in federal tax credits available, as well as the continuing state tax credits and incentive programs from local utilities, it’s a good time for people to consider energy conservation and renewable energy projects, said Lou Torres, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Energy.

“It becomes very cost-effective all of a sudden,” he said, noting that even with the declining economy, people are still making improvements and applying for the tax credits.

The stimulus bill removed the cap on federal tax credits for installations like solar panels and geothermal heat pumps, so people who put in those systems can get 30 percent of the cost back when they do their federal taxes, Torres said.

And the cap for tax credits for other improvements — like energy-efficient windows and doors, heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, insulation and more — was set at 30 percent of the cost, up to $1,500.

That’s triple what it previously was, said Kendra Van Note, with GreenSavers USA, a Bend business that conducts home energy audits and helps people determine what they can do to make their homes more efficient.

“This gives people money back in their pocket to do those weatherization upgrades and become more energy efficient,” Van Note said. “The first step to reducing dependence on foreign oil is for all of us to become a little more efficient in our daily lives.”

And when people upgrade their insulation, seal off leaks or install new windows, it not only uses less energy but also can lower the homeowner’s bill.

“If your ducts are severely leaking, 30 percent of your home’s heating and cooling can be lost,” Van Note said. “That’s money literally spewing out of your ducts every month.”

Her company will test a house, using tools like a blower door test to see where the air leaks out of a building or a thermal imaging scan to determine where heat is escaping, she said, adding that the tests cost about $300, on average.

The Energy Trust of Oregon has a list of companies that can perform an energy audit at www.energytrust.org.

Energy officials can then present a homeowner like Piper with a prioritized list of what work should be done, how much it would cost and what incentives or tax credits are available for the work.

Many times, people can get rebates and tax credits worth between 40 and 60 percent of the cost of the improvements, Van Note added.

There are many incentives out there for people, said Ponderosa Heating & Cooling in Sisters, which also does home performance energy audits.

Pacific Power and Cascade Natural Gas Corp. customers can get incentives from the Energy Trust of Oregon, while Midstate Electric and Central Electric Cooperative have rebates for things like heat pumps. Ponderosa Heating provided a quote for one homeowner for around $8,000, which was reduced to $3,100 once all incentives and credits were included.

Some homeowners could qualify for financing, and if the rates are good enough, the monthly payments people make for the improvements are offset by the amount of money they now save on energy costs. The federal stimulus package also set aside funds to improve the energy efficiency and weather-resistance of low-income residents’ homes.

In Central Oregon, NeighborImpact expects to receive about $1.4 million in July for the program, said Colleen Neel, who runs the organization’s weatherization program.

And the threshold for what qualifies as low income has shifted from 150 percent of the federal poverty level to 200 percent, so more people could be eligible for funds, she said. Neel recommends homeowners call the organization to fill out an application to find out whether they’re eligible for the program.

For Bruce Sullivan, a green building consultant with Earth Advantage in Bend, the stimulus also provides a boost by informing homeowners about some of the different ways they can improve the way their homes consume energy.

“Every little bit will help,” Sullivan said. “It simply attracts people’s attention so they begin to think of these things as viable options.”

Kate Ramsayer can be reached at 541-617-7811 or kramsayer@bendbulletin.com.

Going Green...

Did you know that a high efficiency heat pump, in the end, may not only cost you nothing, but may actually make you a profit?

As discussed in our last article, heat pumps, compared to other energy fuel sources, can be as much as 75% less in true operation costs. For example, propane at $32/million BTU’s vs. a heat pump at $9/million BTU’s, certainly makes that clear. And right now, there are added incentives that most homeowners are not even aware of.

It starts by participating in the Central Electric Co-Op (CEC) Heat Pump program and the State’s Tax Credit program. Both incentives require the installation of a high efficiency heat pump, duct testing and sealing and the commissioning of the heat pump.

The CEC offers a cash discount of up to $800 rebate and the state, up to $740 in tax credits! In addition to this, the 2009 Federal Stimulus Package allows homeowners to claim tax credits equal to 30% of the installed costs (up to $1,500).

For people in Sunriver to La Pine heat pump rebates from Midstate Electric (MEC) have gone up to $1,900 for qualifying systems. Added with the Federal Tax Credit and the State Tax Credit you could be up to $5,640 in rebates and credits. Once the original investment has been paid back via the extra energy savings from the new, high efficient heat pump system, from then on the savings become a kind of “profit” to you.

In these economic times, I find it difficult to get a return on investment that is in the 10% to 20% or more categories. And coupled with the energy savings, CEC Rebate and State Tax Credits, it becomes easy to see how Going Green with a new, high efficiency heat pump system, can do just that! Ponderosa Heating is one of the few heating contractors trained and certified in the CEC and State programs. It is not hard to see that if you can dramatically cut the cost of heating by adding a high efficient heat pump, the savings will pay for the original investment and be a great Green investment for years to come, and don’t forget, with a heat pump you also get air conditioning!

Can you Imagine Cutting Your Heating Bill in Half or More?

Did you know the most cost effective heating source for our local area may be heat pumps?

The average fuel costs, per million BTU’s (British Thermal Units) of energy, are as follows: propane $32.00/ oil $30.00/ electric furnace $20.00 and a high efficient heat pump $9. Electricity’s efficiency can be rated by its COP (co-efficient of performance) and an electric furnace has a COP of 1. That means that for every dollar spent on the electricity for the furnace’s operation, one dollar’s worth of heat is produced.

Modern, high-efficient heat pumps on the other hand, can have COPs that reach as high as 4, meaning for each dollar spent, $4.00 worth of energy is received. The COP of a heat pump is calculated using a variety of factors including the combination of the heat pump and air handler, the outside temperature fluctuations and intelligent thermostat usage, etc. In our local area, the yearly cost of operating an electric furnace can be reduced by as little as 30% and as much as 65% with the addition of a heat pump, depending on the efficiencies of the units themselves and the way a homeowner uses his system.

Central Electric Co-operative and the State of Oregon have a combination of cash discounts and Tax Credits for homeowners who choose to qualify for their programs. They include duct testing and sealing, high efficiency heat pumps and the commissioning of the systems to verify their operational efficiencies. In addition to this, the 2009 Federal Stimulus Package allows homeowners to claim tax credits equal to 30% of the installed costs (up to $1,500). Ponderosa Heating is one of the few heating contractors trained and certified in the CEC and State programs.

It is not hard to see that if you can dramatically cut the cost of heating with electricity by adding a heat pump, the savings in cost of electricity will pay for the original investment and be a great Green investment for years to come, and don’t forget, with a heat pump you also get air conditioning!

Ponderosa Heating was a Proud Sponsor of the 2008 Sisters Rodeo

Furnace Replacement

Local Service Company Snags Coveted Award

HVAC Company Recognized for Outstanding Work by COBA at Annual Ceremony

Prineville, OR (January 31,2007) - A pat on the back is always appreciated, and that’s what a local HVAC company received recently- a big pat on the back form the Central Oregon Builders Association when they named Ponderosa Heating and Cooling “Sub-contractor of the Year.”

The Central Oregon Builders Association (COBA) consists of builders, subcontractors, material suppliers, lending institutions, utilities.  This award, along with several others including “Builder of the Year”, was presented on Thursday January 18, in Bend, Oregon, and COBA’s annual gathering.

Customer service is a huge priority for the company.   “We’re very proud of this recognition of our work,” says Kory MacGregor, President of Roth Heating & Cooling.  “Our company is a fairly new player in this area, and we work hard to meet the high expectations of Central Oregon residents.  We hire and retain personnel that understand our commitment to high-quality customers-service.”

Roth Heating officially began serving Central Oregon on January 1st of this year, after MacGregor purchased the 5,000 square foot Ryco building in Prineville.  “I’ve wanted to enter the Central Oregon market for a long time,” says MacGregor.  “When one of our key partners, Renaissance Homes, announced their decision to enter the market I knew it was our time, too.”  Seeing another opportunity in Sisters, Ponderosa Heating joined the Roth Heating and Cooling family of companies on May 1, 2006. “Ponderosa has an excellent name and has been doing business in Sisters for over 18 years,” said MacGregor.

Established in 1976, Roth Heating and Cooling began as a small company with a few employees and has grown into one of the largest residential/light commercial HVAC companies in Oregon, with over 170 employees and still growing.  Headquartered in Canby, Oregon, with satellite offices in Newberg, Silverton, Prineville- and most recently Sisters- their service reach is from Vancouver to Salem, Hillsboro to Bend.