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Clock ticking on RePower Kitsap
RePower Kitsap has been operating in Bremerton, Bainbridge and throughout the county since early 2010. The grants that have made the program possible for the last few years, however, are expiring.
To take advantage of state tax credits and RePower opportunities, all home energy upgrades must be made by July 15. Stephanie Gray with Conservation Services Group said to get the work done on time, homeowners need to be thinking about changes now and start talking to contractors in April and May.
Saturday, April 13, RePower will host what the program is calling its Final Boarding Call for Kitsap County residents. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Woodward Middle School on Bainbridge, the program will host workshops, speakers and booths for many of the region's sustainable energy businesses.
RePower is offering an additional $800 incentive to those who attend the April 13 event.
Gray said RePower can help most people reduce their energy consumption by 60 percent and the cost of their energy bills by 30 percent.
RePower Kitsap is a county-wide program that works with residents to identify and implement more efficient and sustainable home energy options. It works with local groups and contractors to offer recommendations, home-energy audits, affordable financing options and product installation.
The program is funded by a federal BetterBuildings grant. Residents in Bremerton or on Bainbridge Island may be eligible for additional savings and options through the RePower Bremerton and RePower Bainbridge programs, which are related to but separate from RePower Kitsap.
Molly Brumley, on behalf of RePower, said the program has served 400 homes and around 70 businesses on Bainbridge and 135 homes in Bremerton.
RePower is 90 percent of the way toward its goal of home upgrades over the last few years, but would still like to serve a few hundred more homes before the program runs its course this summer, Gray said.
The program has helped hundreds of residents receive home energy audits in the last few months alone, according to Gray. What they would really like, she said, would be to get all the people who've received audits to think about making some of the recommended changes while they can still receive tax breaks and grant support through RePower.
While the grants that have made RePower possible in Kitsap County over the last few years are expiring, Gray said Conservation Services Group would like to maintain a strong presence in the area and continue to work with local contractors.
"We've already come so far," Gray said, "of course we want to continue that."
Energy stakeholders from Kitsap County and throughout the state met for a summit in Bremerton recently to discuss the future of sustainable energy programs.
Gray said the landscape of sustainable energy programs in this area has changed significantly since RePower first started in Kitsap County in 2010. Back then, she said, almost all inquiries were coming to RePower. Now the majority of those referrals are going straight to the local authorities and contractors.
"Our goal was the transformation," Gray said. "That's our legacy."
While she and others with RePower Kitsap are rushing to get word out before the end of their grants expire, Gray said the program has already largely been a success.
"A lot of people don't think about energy efficiency," she said, "this brought that conversation to the forefront."