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Water Conservation Rebate Project

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The City of Bellingham Water Conservation Program is offering rebates to single-family residential and commercial water customers. The City’s Water Conservation Program aims to reduce city-wide water use and ensure a reliable water supply, now and in the future.

Residential Water Customers: single-family and duplex

Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

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 is available under $200.

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 7,000 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. 

Customer Eligibility

Participation is voluntary, on a first come, first serve basis due to the rebate funding cap. Rebates of up to $100 rebate for purchase and installation of a qualifying high efficiency toilet (HET) or clothes washer are available to COB single-family residential and duplex account type utility customers who install the fixture at the water service account location Up to a $150 rebate is offered to single-family residential utility customers that participate in the Community Energy Challenge. Qualified fixtures purchased and installed by customers after August 1, 2012 may be eligible.

Eligible measures

Toilet(s)
Toilets eligible for COB rebate must be EPA certified WaterSense Models 1.28 gallons or less per flush. 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 anWater Sense Logod qualifying labeled toilets at www.epa.gov/watersense/products/toilets.html For toilet model performance information, you can consult the Maximum Performance (MaP) testing list of WaterSense toilets . New construction is not eligible for the rebate.

Clothes Washer(s)
Clothes washers eligible for COB rebate must be ENERGY STAR® models 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.

Recycling Old Fixtures

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

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

Additional Rebate Opportunity

Water customers who participate in the Community Energy Challenge have an additional $50 rebate opportunity towards qualifying toilets, clothes washers and/or outdoor water conservation measures. The Community Energy Challenge is a streamlined process providing homeowners a low-cost energy assessment and access to a Home Energy Advisor. Guided by this information, homeowners can then decide how they want to implement energy saving measures. It takes energy to produce and deliver drinking water, and it takes water to produce energy.  For more information visit www.communityenergychallenge.org or contact Kristin Forck at kristin_forck@oppco.org or (360) 676-6099 x124.

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 that participate in the Community Energy Challenge. CEC participants receive a water assessment of their business in addition to the free energy efficiency services offered by the CEC. The City will consider rebates for other water saving equipment on a case by case basis.

Qualified fixtures purchased and installed by customers after August 1, 2012 may be eligible.

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 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 rebate amounts February 2014 (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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