Residential Energy Efficiency Programs
At Missoula Electric Cooperative, the vast majority of our members are residential consumers. This means there is a wealth of opportunity to achieve savings in this sector of our membership. Residential energy efficiency rebates are available for ENERGY STAR washers, heat pump water heaters, and high-efficiency heat pumps. Learn more about our residential incentives below:
ENERGY STAR — Energy Efficient Lighting
A typical household spends about $110 per year or 10 — 15 percent of its annual electric bill on lighting. Much of this is wasted on inefficient incandescent bulbs. Why inefficient? Because incandescent bulbs convert only 10% of the energy they consume to light. The other 90% is converted to heat. MEC supports energy efficient lighting by working at the retail level to buy down the cost of ENERGY STAR LED® lighting. This means there is no paperwork to file and the rebate is applied to the price of lighting on the shelf.
Benefits of Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs:
- ENERGY STAR® qualified LED bulbs are more efficient, durable, versatile and longer lasting, delivering more light (lumens) for fewer watts.
- ENERGY STAR® LED bulbs have a consistent color of light over the rated life of the bulb.
- LED “lifetime” is set based on a prediction of when the light output decreases by 30 percent.
- LEDs are readily available from most area retailers who sell light bulbs. Look for the ENERGY STAR® logo to ensure quality.
If you need to dispose of compact fluorescent bulbs, please take them to either Missoula ACE Hardware location, Home Depot, the Missoula Electric Cooperative office in Missoula, or Rovero’s in Seeley Lake. If you should happen to break a CFL and need to clean it up, please follow the EPA’s instructions for cleaning up breakage from a mercury-containing bulb.
Appliance Incentive Program
MEC is proud to partner with ENERGY STAR® to promote energy efficient products and practices that save money and protect our environment.
Each new appliance purchased comes with two price tags: the initial purchase price and what you pay for the energy and water it uses. ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10–50% less energy and water than standard models. ENERGY STAR® appliances reduce your costs for both electricity and water, thus saving you money on your utility bills as well as reducing negative effects on our environment. Please visit the ENERGY STAR website as a supplement to the following useful information.
ENERGY STAR® qualified clothes washers use up to 40% less energy and 50% less water than non-ENERGY STAR® models. While potential savings may be significant in terms of dollars annually, ENERGY STAR® clothes washer can save up to 6,000 gallons of water per year — more than most people will drink in their lifetime. In addition ENERGY STAR® clothes washers can increase the life of your clothes.
ENERGY STAR® certified dryers use 20 percent less energy than conventional models without sacrificing features or performance. They do this using innovative energy saving technologies, such as moisture sensors that detect when clothes are dry and automatically shut the dryer off. Many ENERGY STAR®dryers also include convenient features, such as steam cycles that can help save time on ironing clothes by preventing wrinkles.
Currently, MEC offers rebates for ENERGY STAR® clothes washers and dryers. If you purchase a qualifying ENERGY STAR® washer or dryer, download and complete our rebate form and submit to our office with a copy of the sales receipt or similar proof of purchase. Proof of purchase should include the purchase date, manufacturer and model number of the appliance (incentives will not be processed without this information).
ENERGY STAR® Appliance Incentive Forms are also available at the utility office front desk.
Heat Pump Water Heater Program
After space heating and cooling, water heating is typically the largest energy user in the home since hot water is necessary for so many domestic activities. Whether you are replacing a worn-out existing water heater, looking for the best model for a new home, or looking to upgrade to a more efficient unit, it pays to choose carefully.
Heat pump water heaters represent the first large technological change in electric water heaters since their invention. Traditional electric water heaters utilize a pair of electric resistant elements to maintain a consistent temperature inside the storage tank. Up until the introduction of these new hybrid water heaters, most of the improvements to electric tank water heaters were centered around adding insulation to tank.
Learn more on our Heat Pump Water Heaters page.
Rebates are available for qualified installations of heat pump water heaters in replacement of existing electric water heaters. Qualified installations require the purchase and installation of a qualified model by an oriented contractor currently participating in the Hot Water Solutions program.
Additional Water Heating Energy Saving Suggestions
- Conserve water. Your biggest opportunity for savings is to use less hot water. Take showers rather than baths and reduce shower time to five minutes. Install water-conserving shower-heads and faucet aerators.
- Insulate hot water pipes. Insulating hot water pipes will reduce losses as the hot water is flowing to your faucet and, more importantly, it will reduce standby losses when the tap is turned off and then back on within an hour or so.
- Lower the water heater temperature. Keep your water heater thermostat set at the lowest temperature that provides you with sufficient hot water. For most households, 120ºF water is fine. Each 10ºF reduction in water temperature will generally save 3–5% on your water heating costs. When you will be away from home for an extended period of time, you can turn the thermostat down to the lowest setting, or choose a model that offers a vacation setting which maintains a tank temperature of 50°F.
Purchase of Northwest Energy Efficient Manufactured Homes
The NEEM program is the longest running residential energy efficiency program of its kind in the nation. Since the program inception in 1988, over 200,000 certified houses have been built to date.
Construction of Energy Efficient Montana House
If you are considering building a new home in Missoula Electric Cooperative’s service territory, why not consider building to the highest level of energy efficiency possible? By building your new home to the Montana House criteria you will enjoy a tight, well-insulated house that is comfortable and more affordable to heat and cool.
The Montana House is a single family home built to rigorous specifications for its thermal envelope, heating system, lighting, and high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® appliances. Building to this higher standard doesn’t compromise the beauty of your new home, but rather enhances the whole package with lower heating and cooling bills.
- Thermal Envelope: The Montana House benefits from beefed up insulation in the attic, above grade walls, under concrete slab floors and in basement and crawlspace walls. In addition to insulation, standards have been set for air-tightness as well. By sealing any gaps and cracks with spray foam insulation and caulking, the builder limits the total air leakage to ensure heated or cooled air stays where it belongs, inside the house.
- Heating System: Due to its extremely tight construction, the Montana House specifications do not allow for combustion appliances such as furnaces, water heaters or fireplaces. Instead, water and space heating is all electric.
- Lighting: Lighting your home can account for 10-15% of your total energy bill. Consistent with new Montana energy codes, the Montana House requires a minimum of 90 percent of lights to be either ENERGY STAR® bulbs or fixtures.
- Appliances: Aside from heating and lighting your house, up to 20 percent of your monthly energy bill can be attributed to your refrigerator, freezer and clothes washer. For this reason, the Montana House program requires all built-in appliances to be ENERGY STAR® rated.
Building design and construction must be reviewed and verified by MEC to meet the Montana House New Construction Technical Specifications prior of beginning construction. In addition, periodic inspection and documentation of the building process must be conducted by a designated representative of MEC to assure compliance with the Montana House program. Failure to contact MEC prior to beginning construction may void rebates.
If a new house is in your future, contact MEC to discuss the Montana House certification program.
Energy Efficient Heat Pumps
Ground Source Heat Pumps
If you are building a new home or thinking of replacing your current electric forced air furnace, you should consider making the switch to a ground source heat pump (GSHP). GSHPs work by pulling heat out of the earth and moving it into your house, concentrating that heat and disbursing it within the living space.
The key to a GSHP’s efficiency is the fact that it doesn’t make heat like a traditional furnace, rather, it moves heat from one place to another which uses far less energy than burning a fuel source or converting electricity to heat by means of resistance. GSHPs depend on the fact that at a certain depth, the ground temperature stays relatively constant.
Learn more at our Ground Source Heat Pumps page.
Air Source Heat Pumps
If you are thinking about upgrading your current heating system and would like to have whole house air conditioning for the dog days of summer, consider installing an air source heat pump in your home. Heat pumps have come a long way since their introduction. The efficiency and performance of today’s air source heat pumps are one-and-a-half to two times greater than those available 30 years ago.
Learn more at our Air Source Heat Pumps page.
Ductless Heat Pumps
Ductless heat pumps (also known as mini splits) make good retrofit add-ons to houses with “non-ducted” heating systems, such as wall heaters, baseboard heaters or in-floor radiant heat. Ductless systems provide heating and cooling and do so more efficiently than any other room-size units. They can also be a good choice for room additions where extending or installing distribution ductwork is not feasible and very efficient new homes that require only a small space conditioning system. Be sure to choose an ENERGY STAR® compliant unit.
Like standard air-source heat pumps, mini splits have two main components — an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. A conduit, which houses the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, and a condensate drain, links the outdoor and indoor units.
Installation is easy and only takes about a day. MEC currently pays an $800–$1,000 incentive for a ductless heat pump that is retrofitted into a home with electricity as its primary heat source. Ductless heat pump installations in newly constructed homes may be eligible for a rebate – call the office for more details.
Learn more at the Going Ductless website.
Line Voltage Thermostat Replacement Rebate Program
Our line voltage rebate program applies to single-family homes with zonal heat (baseboards or wall heaters) with no Line-Voltage Thermostats. Savings arise from the Line-Voltage Thermostats maintaining temperature closer to the set temperature on the dial than older, bi-metal thermostats.
Electronic line voltage thermostats eliminate hysteresis, also known as deadband, which is the temperature difference range between a bi-metallic thermostat coming on and shutting off.