Nov 042009
 
Authors: Matt Minich

Fort Collins residents who buy certain power strips or showerheads in the next month could receive enough money from Fort Collins Utilities to buy anything from an Old Town lunch to a 30-rack of beer from local liquor stores.

The money, which will be available not as cash but as credit toward electricity bills, is being offered as part of Fort Collins Utilities’ energy conservation campaign, “Fort Collins Conserves.”

The rebates are available on power strips, low-flow showerheads and programmable thermostats that meet certain qualifications and are purchased between Oct. 24 and Dec. 15 of this year.

Customers need to fill out a Rebate Request Form, available online and at several local hardware stores and mail it with a receipt for Fort Collins Utilities.

The past two Saturdays, employees from Fort Collins Utilities have gathered at local hardware stores to hand out information on the city’s programs and direct customers toward energy efficient appliances. Utilities will have a similar event on Nov. 7 at Lowes Home Improvement near the intersection of Harmony Road and Corbett Drive.

Staff at the stores will help explain basic concepts that can improve energy efficiency in Fort Collins homes.

“(Students) don’t know how much of an impact they can actually have,” said Patty Binger, the customer and employee relations manager for Fort Collins Utilities.

Students can take significant steps toward reducing their homes’ overall energy use by following some simple advice: “Just use things efficiently,” Binger said.

Only running the washing machine or dishwasher for full loads and turning lights off can make a serious impact on a home’s carbon footprint and utility bill.

Perhaps the most commonly overlooked source of energy waste is the so-called “phantom load” that is used by devices that are turned off but remain plugged in, such as computers or cell phone chargers, Binger said. Plugging appliances into a power strip that can be shut off is a simple and relatively cost-effective way to mitigate this common problem, she said.

In addition to the seasonal rebate, the utility offers rebates year-round on energy efficient washing machines and dishwashers, said Tiana Smith, the energy service coordinator for Fort Collins Utilities.

Rebate opportunities for energy efficient equipment are not limited to residential utility users, but are available to businesses and institutions as well.

CSU has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars through utility rebate programs, said Carol Dollard, an engineer with Facilities Management.

“We’ve been very pleased with the program,” she said.

Senior Reporter Matt Minich can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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