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                                  INSTALLATION OF SOLAR
                                  HOT WATER PAID PARTLY
                                  WITH GAS UTILITY REBATE
                                   ENEREF INSTITUTE EXAMINES A RESIDENTIAL HOME USING SOUTHWEST
                                   GAS REBATE TO INSTALL SOLAR THERMAL FOR DOMESTIC HOT WATER

                                  Nevada may be the state best known                     Even the newly renovated Las Vegas
                                  for fun and entertainment, but they                    City Hall is a LEED Gold (Leadership in
                                  take quite seriously their responsibil-                Energy & Environmental Design) build-
                                  ity for reducing their environmental                   ing. The state of Nevada has “more
                                  footprint.                                             square feet of LEED certified buildings
                                                                                         than anywhere in the nation,” exclaims
                                                                                         Tom Perrigo, Chief Sustainability Officer




RESEARCH COMPILED AND PROVIDED COURTESY OF ENEREF INSTITUTE • VISIT WWW.ENEREF.ORG • COPYRIGHT© ENEREF INSTITUTE • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
OUR HOUSE IS SET UP TO BE VERY
AFFORDABLE BECAUSE MOST OF                                                                         made from recycled soda bottles.

OUR ENERGY REQUIREMENTS ARE                                                                        Even his Nissan Leaf electric car

HANDLED BY SOLAR                                                                                   charges its battery from power
                                                                                                   generated by PV cells on his roof
                                                                                                   — an obvious advantage in a state
                                                                                                   that’s sunny 300 days out of the
     During the summer, some months saw a                                                          year.

     savings as high as 65% in natural gas use.                                                    Rypka says he and his wife have
                                                                                                   reduced their carbon footprint “by
     at City of Las Vegas. LEED is the              Southwest Gas, the local dis-                  almost 90% since the year 2000.”
     Green Building Council’s rating                tributor of natural gas in Nevada,
                                                                                                   And how did Rypka reduce the
     system for the design and con-                 Arizona, and sections of Califor-
                                                                                                   hot water bill for his single-story,
     struction of energy efficient and              nia, is doing its part to promote
                                                                                                   2,200 sq. ft. home? With a solar
     high-performing green buildings.               solar energy. The utility offers
                                                                                                   thermal water heating system
     And when a recent tax advantage                cash rebates to homeowners
                                                                                                   paid for, in part, by the Southwest
     for LEED certifications was signed             for some of their costs when a
                                                                                                   Gas rebate. Rypka even found a
     into law by the state, Perrigo said,           homeowner installs a solar water
                                                                                                   qualified contractor on the utility’s
     “a lot of the resort properties                heating system to reduce their use
                                                                                                   website—which actually is a re-
     jumped on that.”                               of natural gas. The Southwest Gas
                                                                                                   quirement of the rebate program.
                                                    Smarter Greener Better® Solar
     NEVADA GOES SOLAR                              Water Heating Program is avail-
                                                                                                   HOW IT WORKS
     Nevada’s Renewable Energy                      able to qualifying residential, small
                                                                                                   Solar thermal water heating is a
     Portfolio Standard — the por-                  business, school, public and non-
                                                                                                   simpler technology than the more
     tion of the state’s energy coming              profit customers. Homeowners
                                                                                                   common solar photovoltaic, or PV,
     from non-fossil fuels — is cur-                can expect to receive as much as
                                                                                                   system, which generates electric-
     rently at 17%, with a goal of 20%              $3,000, or up to 30% of the total
                                                                                                   ity. Solar thermal uses the sun’s
     by the year 2020. With five new                cost of the system.
                                                                                                   energy to heat water directly by
     solar generating sites in the plans,
                                                                                                   heating liquid inside collector
     apart from the plant that already              NEVADA’S FIRST
                                                    ADOPTERS                                       panels on the roof that is then car-
     opened in May of 2013, Perrigo
                                                    Not surprisingly, one of Nevada’s              ried through pipes to an insulated
     is optimistic about meeting that
                                                    first residents to take advantage              water tank, where it heats the
     goal. In fact, he says, “we expect
                                                    of the Smarter Greener Better®                 domestic water stored for house-
     that to go up quite a bit.”
                                                    rebate was Henderson’s resident                hold use.
     The state has already surpassed                Steve Rypka, a LEED certified
                                                                                                   One of the most obvious benefits
     their carbon footprint reduction               consultant, as well as a writer on
                                                                                                   of solar thermal heating is that it
     goal, set at 20% by the year 2020,             such topics. Nor is it surprising
                                                                                                   cushions consumers against future
     partially by reducing its use of               that Rypka chose to live in a home
                                                                                                   price hikes of traditional fossil fuel.
     coal, and replacing it with natural            with south-facing windows, ENER-
                                                                                                   And especially for larger fami-
     gas and “a considerable amount                 GY STAR® appliances, and such
                                                                                                   lies that use plenty of hot water
     of solar,” according to Perrigo.               green alternatives as carpeting




  RESEARCH COMPILED AND PROVIDED COURTESY OF ENEREF INSTITUTE • VISIT WWW.ENEREF.ORG • COPYRIGHT© ENEREF INSTITUTE • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
4’ X 10’ SOLAR FLAT PLATE COLLECTOR
  Rypka chose perfect aesthet-
    ics over perfect efficiency,
  and had the panels mounted
              flush on his roof.




     for showers, dish washers and                 thermal systems are based in the                advantage in the winter months,
     laundry, the investment in solar              United States.                                  when the sun is lower on the
     thermal heating can pay for itself                                                            horizon. (The difference between
                                                   There are a variety of systems
     quickly.                                                                                      the sun’s angle at winter solstice
                                                   designed to transfer the sun’s
                                                                                                   and summer solstice is significant
                                                   heat into the water tank, and each
     INSTALLATION OF THE                                                                           when deciding how to orient solar
     SYSTEM                                        system has advantages based
                                                                                                   panels.) However, Rypka chose
     Rypka said he had been consid-                on everything from local climate
                                                                                                   perfect aesthetics over perfect
     ering solar thermal heating for               to water usage. Rypka chose a
                                                                                                   efficiency, and had the panels
     over a decade. He knew the time               closed-loop design, with a single
                                                                                                   mounted flush on his roof.
     was right to make the improve-                Bradford White 75-gallon gas-

     ment when he moved into his                   fired water tank, an external heat              The solar thermal system is

     new energy efficient home. He                 exchanger and a 4’x10’ solar flat-              backed up by natural gas when

     spent nearly six months research-             plate collector. To avoid heat loss,            the sun is insufficient to generate

     ing his options, but one of his top           the system was well insulated.                  enough heat energy. An external

     criteria was to find products that                                                            monitor allows Rypka to see when
                                                   If energy were Rypka’s only
     were manufactured locally. That is                                                            he’s mostly paying for natural gas
                                                   concern, he would have had the
     not a difficult task for Americans,                                                           to heat his water and when the
                                                   installer tilt the collector panels
     since most manufacturers of solar                                                             sun is supplying free solar energy.
                                                   at just the right angle to take full




 RESEARCH COMPILED AND PROVIDED COURTESY OF ENEREF INSTITUTE • VISIT WWW.ENEREF.ORG • COPYRIGHT© ENEREF INSTITUTE • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
   NEVADA HAS MORE SQUARE FEET OF LEED CERTIFIED
   BUILDINGS THAN ANYWHERE IN THE NATION
   “Five year payback is completely arbitrary. For a city government, It’s like asking
   what’s the payback on building a park, or filling a pothole. There are other
   community benefits for investing in public facilities” says Tom Perrigo, Chief
   Sustainability Officer at City of Las Vegas.

   Some systems can also be moni-                  FINANCIAL PLANNING                              But on average, the new solar ther-
   tored externally, for example, by               MADE EASY                                       mal system saves the home about
   the solar panel manufacturer. The               Part of the total cost for the sys-             50% of natural gas usage annually,
   system also includes a controller               tem—a rebate check for $1,650—                  “so that is well worth it to me,” said
   with a Wi-Fi connection to his local            was covered by the Southwest                    Rypka. Natural gas still heats the
   network to monitor it remotely.                 Gas Smarter Greener Better Solar                home in the winter, but even with
                                                   Water Heating Program for Ne-                   heating fuel cost included in the
   SRCC RATING ASSURED                             vada. For Rypka, when the rebate                calculation, the home saw a third
   THE QUALITY                                     became available from Southwest                 of its annual natural gas bill go
   Importantly, the system was SRCC                Gas, “it made sense economically,               away.
   certified. The Solar Rating Certifi-            so we jumped on it.”
   cation Corporation (SRCC) is a na-                                                              SOLAR THERMAL GOES
   tional rating and certification pro-            Specific eligibility requirements               CITYWIDE
   gram for solar heating equipment.               and rebate applications are avail-              In fact, Rypka could be ahead of
   The non-profit organization has                 able on the website, www.solarwa-               the curve in Nevada, as solar ther-
   been rating solar thermal systems               terheatingrebate.com, or by calling             mal grows in popularity as a result
   since 1980, and recognized as an                1-855-743-1603.                                 of the Smarter Greener Better
   industry standard in all 50 states to                                                           rebate. Even the city of Las Vegas
                                                   Comparing his home’s average
   assure customers their system will                                                              is eligible, and Tom Perrigo, Chief
                                                   natural gas usage prior to the solar
   perform as indicated. For example,                                                              Sustainability Officer, plans to take
                                                   thermal installation against the
   the SRCC OG-300 rating can tell                                                                 advantage of it for future projects.
                                                   first full year after the installation
   you how much energy you can                                                                     But even before the rebate, Per-
                                                   reassured Rypka his decision was
   expect your system to displace in                                                               rigo invested city dollars in solar
                                                   sound. During the summer, some
   the very locality you plan to install                                                           thermal to save on energy costs for
                                                   months saw a savings as high as
   it. Virtually all utility rebates, and                                                          a few city projects. First on his list:
                                                   65% in natural gas use compared
   local and federal tax incentives, re-                                                           heating the Garside public swim-
                                                   to the previous three-year average.
   quire an SRCC rating, including the                                                             ming pool in Las Vegas.
                                                   Because the installed panels were
   Southwest Gas Smarter Greener
                                                   not angled towards winter sun, the
   Better® Solar Water Heating Pro-                                                                    Research and reporting compiled and
                                                   savings during those months are
                                                                                                              provided by Eneref Institute.
   gram.
                                                   not as significant.                                                    (www.eneref.org)
                                                                                                                                              v4




RESEARCH COMPILED AND PROVIDED COURTESY OF ENEREF INSTITUTE • VISIT WWW.ENEREF.ORG • COPYRIGHT© ENEREF INSTITUTE • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

				
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