Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hailey extends energy retrofit rebate program

Sun Valley takes little advantage of energy conservation program


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

It costs about $400 to get an "energy audit" of your home, but many residents in Blaine and Camas counties have paid the up-front cost to get rebates of up to $2,000 on materials to improve energy efficiency in their homes and businesses.

Energy audits are a required first step to take advantage of grant funds to improve energy efficiency in homes under the federal Community Audit and Retrofit Rebate Program, commonly called CARRP.

Energy auditors test a home's energy efficiency by a number of means, including duct-leak testing and infrared testing for thermal leaks around windows and doors.

About $20,000 is still available in Blaine and Camas counties for retrofit rebates. The funding was acquired two years ago under the $3.2 billion federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program of 2009.

Since August of 2010, residents from unincorporated areas in Hailey, Ketchum and unincorporated areas in Blaine County have used $72,590 of the $262,000 originally available.

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Sun Valley, Camas County and Bellevue and Fairfield combined have used only $25,055 of the funds.

The rest has been reserved for applications in process.

Blaine County grant administrator Michele Johnson said she was surprised that the city of Sun Valley, population of 1,483, had only used $3,674 of the funds, compared with working class Bellevue, population 2,229, which used $11,311 of the funds.

"If not for the Sun Valley factor, you would think that many people are struggling to come up with the up-front money," she said.

Hailey residents alone will have access to an additional $18,000 in rebate funding over the next three years under the city's Community Climate Challenge, funded separately by the Environmental Protection Agency.

For information about the CARRP program, call Blaine County at 788-5570.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com

Rebate funding so far:

- Blaine County $27,842

- Hailey $24,826

- Ketchum, $19,922

- Bellevue $11,311

- Fairfield $6,070

- Camas County $4,000

- Sun Valley $3,674




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