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MailTribune.com
  • Grid pro quo

    Current electric-car incentive has Ashland residents amped
  • The city of Ashland is offering a $100 incentive to people who install an electric-vehicle plug-in station in homes under construction.
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  • The city of Ashland is offering a $100 incentive to people who install an electric-vehicle plug-in station in homes under construction.
    The incentive is meant to encourage electric-vehicle use.
    Plug-in stations cost less than $500 to more than $1,000, depending on the number of added features.
    Upgrading a home's electrical system to accommodate the higher load of a station can run from $200 to several thousand dollars, according to electric vehicle experts.
    The $100 incentive is available when a home is built to Earth Advantage or Energy Star program standards, said Adam Hanks, city of Ashland management analyst.
    Houses built under those programs are at least 15 percent more energy-efficient than conventional houses and can include various features, such as increased insulation, insulating windows, tight duct work, and energy-efficient appliances and lighting, according to the city.
    Laura Lawrence, who is in the midst of having an energy-efficient house built on Westwood Street in the Ashland hills, already has an upgraded electrical system that can accommodate a future electric-vehicle plug-in station.
    She could take advantage of the $100 city incentive if she takes the next step and installs an electric-vehicle charging station.
    Lawrence is waiting on the sale of her previous home to buy an electric vehicle.
    "I'm trying to go as green as possible," she said. "I would like to have an electric vehicle as a run-about car. Living on a hill uses a lot of gas."
    Her home under construction is equipped with solar panels that she hopes will provide close to 100 percent of her electricity needs. Green features of her house, including insulated concrete form construction, will reduce her energy consumption.
    Hanks said residents who have solar panels are in a good position to buy electric vehicles. They could use any excess electricity to run their vehicles, rather than selling extra power back to the Ashland Electric Department at wholesale rates.
    Contractor Peter Mattson of Ashland-based Peter Mattson Construction, who is working on Lawrence's house, said the falling price of solar panels is making them more economically viable than ever.
    For more information about the $100 home electric-vehicle charging station incentive, call Ashland Residential Energy Conservation Analyst Dan Cunningham at 541-552-2063.
    For information about Earth Advantage or Energy Star construction, call Cunningham or Conservation Analyst Larry Giardina at 541-552-2065.
    Additional Earth Advantage and Energy Star information is available at www.earthadvantage.org and www.northwestenergystar.com.
    Ashland City Council approved the $100 home electric-vehicle charging station incentive earlier this month.
    Reach reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.
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