UEC Member Takes Advantage of Rebates to Invest in Energy Efficiency

Dan Schoenfelder has installed ductless heat pumps (on the wall above) and heat pump water heaters within his remodeled home on Big Butter Creek.

Dan Schoenfelder, a Umatilla Electric Cooperative (UEC) member south of Hermiston, is a prime example of someone who believes in investing in energy efficiency.

Dan took advantage of a pair of $600 UEC rebates to install two heat pump water heaters in his ranch-style home overlooking a scenic view along Big Butter Creek Road.

Heat pump water heaters (also known as a hybrid water heater) use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. They can be two to three times more energy efficient than conventional electric resistance water heaters. To move the heat, heat pumps work like a refrigerator in reverse.

“I did research online and they made a lot of sense,” he said. “Researching prices, I came across UEC’s rebate. That was the final factor that made me go with the heat pump water heater.”

One of his water heaters supplies the main portion of his home, and the other serves a newly remodeled space that began as a 900-square-foot garage and was later converted into a family room. Dan has now remodeled that space into an apartment that includes a bedroom, bath, office, family room, mudroom and closet.

Each of his water heaters has been plumbed to serve the opposite side of the house, if one of them goes out. He has plumbed the water heaters so any of the water lines in the house can be individually shut off or served by the opposite water heater.

Dan was raised in Minnesota and moved after college to Arizona to help his father manage his cattle operation that included a 3,500-acre irrigated farm, dryland grazing and state leased grazing lands, totaling 35,000 acres. The family later ranched in Texas as well.

Dan and his wife, Marla, moved to Butter Creek in 2017, to help their son with his farming operation and to be close to his family while their grandchildren are growing up.

In his newly remodeled space, in his ongoing interest in saving energy, Dan also has installed ductless heat pumps in the apartment’s family room and bedroom.

All in all, after all his work and investment, “it’s really a comfortable space.”

Call UEC’s Energy Efficiency Specialist Alex Ruiz at (541) 567-6414 for more information about Umatilla Electric and Hermiston Energy Services programs.