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Water Use Efficiency Rebate Project

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The City of Bellingham Water Use Efficiency Program offers rebates to single-family residential and commercial water customers. New in 2015, rebates are only available to City water customers that participate in the Community Energy Challenge (CEC) AND install a high efficiency toilet and/or clothes washer. The City has partnered with the CEC to offer home water assessments in addition to the energy assessments already offered through the CEC. The partnership combines efforts to reduce water and energy use, provide education and understanding of the water-energy nexus, and offer financial assistance to retrofit water and energy fixtures and appliances. It takes energy to produce and deliver drinking water, and it takes water to produce energy.

Customer Eligibility

If you are a City of Bellingham single-family residential, duplex, or commercial utility customer, you participate in the Community Energy Challenge, and you replace a high volume toilet and/or clothes washer, you may apply. Participation is voluntary, on a first come, first serve basis. New construction is not eligible for the rebates. Follow the steps below if you wish to apply for a rebate.

Residential Water Customers: single-family residential and duplex

Step 1. Sign up for the Community Energy Challenge

The assessment fee is $195. City residential water customers are eligible for a $100 rebate towards this assessment fee when you sign up, if you also retrofit a high volume toilet and/or clothes washer. The CEC will also provide an additional $95 rebate towards the assessment fee for residential water customers that implement a water or energy saving measure.

The CEC provides a low-cost water and energy assessment of your home including, quality information, a customized water and energy action plan detailing cost-effective measures of retrofit options, exclusive program rebates, assistance with utility rebates, reliable contractors, and quality assurance. The goal is to help you identify where energy and water savings can be found in your home, and the no-cost, low-cost, rebates, and financing options available to you. Guided by this information, homeowners can then decide how you want to implement water and energy saving measures.

CEC logo

For more information and to sign up, visit www.communityenergychallenge.org  or call 360-676-6099.

Step 2. Retrofit your high-volume toilet(s) and/or clothes washer

Once you have signed up for the CEC, you are eligible for a rebate after you purchase and install qualifying high-efficiency toilet(s) and/or a clothes washer.

toilet iconA $100 rebate is available per toilet for up to two WaterSense labeled high-efficiency toilets purchased and installed. Toilets can account for about 30% of an average home's water consumption. Older toilets use 3-5 gallons of water per flush. Extensive performance testing over the past decade has significantly improved new high efficiency toilets to ensure quality and functional products. A large range of tested and certified WaterSense labeled toilets are available for under $200.Water Sense Logo

Toilets eligible for this rebate must be EPA certified WaterSense Models 1.28 gallons or less per flush, and replacing a 3+ gallon per flush model. Search “Toilet” within Product Category at the EPA site. Narrow your search by choosing store brands or by specifying a manufacturer carried by a locally owned retailer. View detailed information regarding WaterSense and qualifying labeled toilets at www.epa.gov/watersense/products/toilets.html . Consult the Maximum Performance (MaP) testing list of WaterSense toilets for toilet model performance information.

washerA $100 rebate is available for qualifying clothes washers. EPA estimates ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washers use about 37% less energy and 50% less water than regular washers. In a typical American home, clothes washers are used for about 350 loads per year. An older, top-loading clothes washer uses about 41 gallons of water per load. A newer, more efficient washer uses an average of less than 20 gallons per load and has a higher capacity, which means you can wash more clothes per load. At 20 gallons per load, there is potential to save 4,000 gallons of water per year. High efficiency clothes washers also have a faster spin cycle than older models, reducing drying time. The ENERGY STAR website notes that if your washer is over 10 years old, you could save $135 on utility bills. 

Clothes washers eligible for COB rebate must be ENERGY STAR® ENE logomodels meeting qualifications for the Puget Sound Energy (PSE) Clothes Washer Rebate program. Qualifying models must have a Modified Energy Factor (MEF) of 2.4 and above and a Water Factor (WF) of 4.0 and below. Visit www.PSE.com/Appliances for the list of qualifying models. If you are a PSE customer, you may also be eligible for an additional $50 rebate through PSE.

Recycle old high-volume fixtures and appliances

Toilets: Both Sanitary Service Company (SSC) and Recycling and Disposal Services (RDS) offer toilet recycling. Costs are minimal and water customers are encouraged to recycle their toilets- the crushed porcelain can be used in sidewalk and roadway construction projects within the city- see one of the first projects at: www.cob.org/documents/pw/engineering/poticrete-nr.pdf

Clothes washers: Appliance Depot, a self-sustaining job training business that salvages, refurbishes, and sells used appliances, accepts clothes washers and other items donated by residents. Donations are tax deductible. Appliance Depot partners with social service agencies to provide job training for low income residents. http://www.appliancedepotbham.com/index.php

Commercial Water Customers

The City's commercial water customer class makes up approximately 18% of the City’s total annual water consumption. This customer class is comprised of restaurants, hotels, fitness centers, grocery stores, etc. A study of water audits completed at 741 commercial sites in six states found potential water savings from efficiency measures ranged from 20 to 26%. At most sites in national studies, the greatest water savings (63%) were achieved through conservation measures related to domestic plumbing fixtures- low-volume toilets, urinals, showerheads and faucets.

Customer Eligibility

Rebates are only available to customers who participate in the Community Energy Challenge and retrofit high volume fixtures and/or appliances. The City will consider rebates for water saving equipment on a case by case basis.

Step 1. Sign up for the Community Energy Challenge

The water and energy assessment is FREE.

For more information or to sign-up, contact Emily Larson Kubiak at emily@sconnect.org or (360) 647-7093 x113.

Eligible Measures

Rebates are available for qualifying toilets, clothes washers, food steamers, dish washers, ice machines, and other select equipment that is purchased and installed.

Toilets must be WaterSense labeled.

Clothes washers must meet the Consortium for Energy Efficiency Tier 3 list requirements.

Food steamers and dish washers must be ENERGY STAR® models and listed on the Puget Sound Energy's list of qualifying models.

Ice machines must be air cooled, and meet the Consortium for Energy Efficiency Tier 1 list requirements OR Puget Sound Energy's qualifying ice machine list.

Table of Commercial Rebate Qualifying Fixtures/Equipment (PDF)

More Information

Please contact the Water Conservation staff at the Operations Division of the Public Works Department if you would like more information and to verify specific product eligibility.

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