by RENEE PATRICK Cascade Business News Feature Writer
Redmond Heating and Air recently completed work on the Obsidian Apartment complex in order to provide tenants with a more energy efficient heating system. Owner of Redmond Heating, Joe Curci, worked with complex owner, Jim Gibbons of Redmond Rents, to implement the changes.
Gibbons became aware of the heating system opportunity after working with Central Electric Cooperative (CEC) on replacing the aluminum windows in his units with a more efficient vinyl model. CEC offers rebates for energy efficient projects ranging from the install of new windows, weatherizing projects and the install of ductless heat pumps in commercial and residential properties.
Obsidian Apartments, with its 20 units, saved $21,500 through CEC’s program. Curci states the return on investment with a pump of this kind is as little as five years, saving not only the residents money with their monthly power bill, but also Gibbons due to the very efficient design which requires low maintenance and service costs.
The heat pumps, named Mr. Slim from manufacturer Mitsubishi, can save from 25 to 50 percent of energy costs as well as provide residents with air conditioning in warmer temperatures. Ductless heat pumps are essentially an air conditioner that works in reverse in cold temperatures. Cooling the apartment, the pump works by taking heat from inside and sending it outside. On cold days, the pump captures warmth from the outside air and sends it indoors.
The units only require an electrical connection to work, take up less room than a standard heat pump and are less expensive. A remote controlled thermostat has been a hit with the Obsidian’s older residents who have found it easy to use and very quiet.
Gibbons commented, “I am very pleased with the project. Upgrading the apartments enables our tenants to save money. The air conditioning is a very nice amenity for the summer, and more import will be the savings they will receive in the winter. Response has been very positive and think it will make us more competitive in the market.”
Curci stated the project was one of the smoothest and most efficient installs he has been on with the job completed in only two weeks. Electricians from Reinwald Electric followed the Redmond Heating team as they worked through the complex. Obsidian apartment managers Frankie & Sam Baade said residents are pleased with the new systems and are happy that the rents will not be raised due to all the new improvements and addition of air conditioning.
Gibbons has decided to install the ductless heat pumps in another of his properties in Redmond: Chaparral Apartments. Chaparral has 80 units, and Cuici and electricians from Millennium Electric will be beginning install shortly. The 80 heat pumps will qualify for $48,000 in rebates from the CEC and the project is estimated to take between 30 and 45 days to complete.
CEC has had 11,000 installations through their program, and Energy Trust has a similar program for Pacific Power customers. Introducing energy efficient measures to homes and commercial properties has become very popular for energy companies, and Curci states the Bonneville Power Administration has also been stressing the importance of efficiency to their consumers.
Redmond Heating, a family owned and operated business, has been working in Central Oregon since 1980. Traditionally, most of the work has been residential, but Curci said the project at Obsidian has enticed him to pursue similar projects. Joe works along side his son Anthony and wife Karen. The Redmond Heating team has the earned the title of Mitsubishi Diamond Dealer after having undergone a specialized training program for the ductless heat pumps. The only Diamond Dealer in Central Oregon, Redmond Heating is also among the biggest Mitsubishi dealers of ductless heat pumps in the state.
Redmond Heating, 541-923-9984, www.redmondheatingandair.com.
Obsidian Apartments, www.redmondrents.com/obsidian.html.
CEC and energy efficiency projects, www.centralelectriccoop.com/, http://www.bpa.gov/Energy/N/HVAC.cfm, http://energytrust.org/business/incentives/multifamily-properties/equipment-upgrades/HeatingAndCooling/HeatPumps.