Smart Energy: October 2017

Smart Energy: Upgrade your heating with an efficient ductless heat pump

Have you been considering an upgrade to your home heating and cooling system? Are you interested in reducing your energy use and lowering your heating bills? This fall and winter, Douglas County homeowners and businesses can take advantage of a limited-time offer to purchase a ductless heat pump at a discounted rate through a local group-purchase campaign.

Douglas County Smart Energy is partnering with the regional nonprofit Spark Northwest to bring the Energize Rogue group-purchase program to Douglas County, and to help inform the local community about the benefits, rebates, tax incentives and financing options available when investing in a ductless heat pump system.

Ductless heat pumps are highly efficient zonal heating and cooling systems that use 20 to 50 percent less energy than traditional electric heating sources. They have at least one head unit inside, usually placed high on a wall, a compressor place outside and a refrigerant line connecting the two. Because there are no ducts, these systems are often easily installed in a day.

Earlier this year, the first Energize Rogue campaign in Jackson County resulted in 73 ductless heat pump installations, with more than 180 people attending informational workshops. As a result, three jobs were created, and one job was retained at the partnering HVAC installer. The project is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant to support the development of clean energy jobs.

Because of the success, Spark Northwest was awarded additional funding to expand the program into Douglas County, partnering with Douglas County Smart Energy to host the local group purchase campaign. The project is driven by community volunteers who are selecting a local installation contractor through a competitive bidding process and informing people about this opportunity to save energy and money.

In addition to the group discount, Pacific Power customers may qualify for $800 to $1,000 in rebates through the Energy Trust of Oregon and Douglas Electric Cooperative members who install a ductless heat pump may qualify for $1,000 in rebates, if upgrading from another electric heat source. Residents may also qualify for state tax credits of 50 percent off the equipment price, if bought before Dec. 31, 2017, when the tax credit is scheduled to sunset.

The first step to taking part in the program is to register to attend a free, one-hour community workshop. Two workshops are set for Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 6 to 7 p.m., and Thursday, Dec. 7, from 5 to 6 p.m. Both will take place at the Roseburg Holiday Inn Express, 375 W. Harvard Blvd. An additional workshop will be scheduled for January. Installation professionals and program partners will present details and answer questions about ductless heat pumps, cost savings and environmental benefits associated with the technology and incentives and rebates.

Jim Stelson is a mechanical engineer and consults on energy efficiency in hospitals. For more information, go to This column is a monthly feature of Douglas County Smart Energy, a project of the Douglas County Global Warming Coalition. For more information on energy efficiency and renewable energy, visit