Energy Efficiency & Conservation Efforts

Heating & Air Conditioning

At the beginning of 2010 Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC) and our Distribution Cooperatives (Co-ops) launched our Energy Efficiency Rebate Program (EERP) to educate our members on the advances in equipment technology to efficiently heat and cool their homes.  It is our intent to use the incentives to drive action thus positively impacting our long term goal of reducing future capacity requirements for the residential and small commercial sector. Our EERP is not a “Marketing Program” rather a means by which to educate our Co-op’s consumers and promote energy efficiency.  The initial focus of the EERP has been centered on HVAC equipment with rebates being offered for the installation of both Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) and Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) meeting specified efficiency ratings.  We want to support the installation of proven technologies that just happen to be “Green”,  in an effort to improve the heating and air conditioning energy efficiency of both our Distribution Cooperative Residential and Small Commercial rate classes. 

WFEC has put its money where its mouth is by investing over $1.2 million dollars in rebates since the inception of the EERP. The program continues to evolve as we constantly evaluate the results and then modify the program to maximize the investment made in efficiency and capacity reduction. Results to date have warranted a great deal of focus in exploring innovative ways of increasing geothermal installations as this is clearly where WFEC gets the biggest bang for it's buck averaging a reduction in capacity of 0.65 kW per ton rebated.

WFEC initially launched an energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) program back in 2007.  Since that time WFEC has given away more than 76,000 CFL bulbs , along with educational information promoting their use,  to our consumers through our distribution cooperative network.  
 The CFL program was a huge success, and has allowed Co-op Members to save an estimated 206 kWh’s per year per bulb retrofit, which equates to an annual savings of $17.50.  Assuming  all 76,000 CFL’s were installed,  the WFEC family would be impacting energy conservation to the tune of 15 million kWh’s per year with an estimated aggregate savings  to our consumers of 1.3 million dollars.  
(Estimates assumed lights are on 12 hours per day and $.085/kWh)
In 2010 WFEC opted to invest our resources in a new direction.   Assuming that our CFL program had effectively educated our consumers on the benefits of CFL’s,  we focused our attention and educational efforts on Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) which are becoming increasingly popular in the lighting marketplace.  Their expected long life of up to 50,000 + hours,  lower consumption of energy and compact design provide an attractive alternative to traditional light sources for some applications.   LEDs are not constructed with mercury to emit light and produce a more focused, directional light source that in many cases can prove more cost effective when considering life cycle costs.
In 2011 WFEC worked closely with the Cooperative Research Network and Oklahoma State University on a couple of LED research projects in the hopes of establishing credibility for this technology in the agricultural arena.  These pilot programs tested LEDs in both swine and dairy facilities validating not only the energy efficiency of the technology but also confirming its ability to withstand the harsh environment that may be encountered in animal confinement facilities.  Results also indicated that there was no negative impact from LED’s (which is at a different spectrum level than that of conventional lighting) on animal health issues such as production, reproduction, and longevity.  With the initial results being so promising, we have expanded our research efforts in this area in an effort to validate the original findings and to look for ways to formulate future new components into our EERP.