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Couple discovers idyllic life at coast

Kate Burnett Johnstone
Kate Burnett Johnstone is a native Oregonian who was raised on a farm in rural Lake Oswego in the 1950s, but found her home in the small coastal hamlet of Manzanita, population 571.
"I love this little town," she said. "It reminds me a bit of Lake Oswego when I was growing up.
Kate and architect/construction manager husband Brian Johnstone moved to the coast in 1999. Kate was caring for her elderly father who desired to spend his last days at the beach. Because Kate, a graphic artist, and Brian are self-employed and work out of their home, they were able to make the move.
"Dad died shortly after we moved, but he enjoyed his time here and we never regretted it," Kate said.
Brian Johnstone spent time at the coast when he supervised construction of Seaside and Cannon Beach water treatment plants in 1995. Kate spent her childhood summers with friends who owned a summer home on the beach in Gearhart. Living at the beach fulfilled a lifelong dream for the couple.
It didn´t take long for the Johnstones to become involved in their small community. An animal lover with four cats, Kate soon discovered that Tillamook County had no animal shelter. The local vet had done her best at providing adoptive services, but found it was too much to do and maintain a practice.
When Kate heard of the plight, she became active in a grass-root effort to raise funds for a stand-alone shelter. Soon, Brian was drawing up architectural drawings for a solar-heated 13,000 square-foot building that offered "full" services for animals. The Johnstones and other community fundraisers are using the conceptual drawings to raise money for the building project.
"It will offer adoptions, training classes, a grooming salon, a play area for pets and their prospective owners, a crematoria and cemetery," said Kate. "We´re putting a lot of energy into this animal shelter because it´s going to happen."
Home for the Johnstones is a 1,000 square-foot shingled home nestled in the trees below Highway 101. With vaulted ceilings, the main living space feels larger.
Brian Johnstone has designed plans for a future addition to provide more working space and display area for his creative endeavors. Brian Johnstone is an artist, potter, and musician. He´s also an accomplished cook. The couple already remodeled the kitchen.
They had a local craftsman, Bob Brook, design and install the beautiful fir cabinets. During the installation, Brook suggested replacing the standard 40-gallon water heater with a much smaller "tankless" model that would fit in their hall closet and provide them with more needed space in their utility room. As an added bonus, the tankless water heater would save energy.
"My husband is from Scotland," Kate said. "He is quite familiar with the tankless water heaters. They are used extensively in Europe but are not as common in the US."
Although the tankless water heater cost more than a standard water heater, Brook said he had just had one installed in his own home and found it qualified for an Energy Tax Credit that made it more affordable.
The Johnstones decided to make the purchase and couldn´t be happier.
"We love this on-demand water heater," Kate said. "It´s small, efficient and we never run out of hot water. Plus, we now have some much needed storage space."
The couple´s Bosch WR400-3KB propane on-demand water heater cost $900. A venting kit and required piping brought the cost up to $1,188. The Residential Energy Tax Credit on their model is 25 percent of the equipment costs up to a maximum of $340. Their installation costs of $260 were not eligible for the tax credit.

Tax credit eligible
Because tankless water heaters are more energy efficient than standard water heaters, they qualify for the Residential Energy Tax Credit. Standard water heaters do not qualify for the Energy Tax Credit. (Click here for a list of qualifying models and manufacturers on the Oregon Department of Energy Web site. You can also call for a list at 1-800-221-8035 or ask your dealer.)
The Johnstone´s model qualified for a tax credit of $297 that they claimed on their Oregon taxes dollar-for-dollar.
Johnstone´s propane on-demand water heater
"It certainly helped us," said Kate Johnstone. "And, we´re saving an average of $30 a month on our propane bill in the year we´ve had the tankless water heater."
An added advantage is that tankless water heaters last about 20 years, compared to 10 to 15 years for standard water heaters. That´s just fine with the Johnstones. They plan to make their home in Manzanita for many years to come.

Johnstone´s propane      
on-demand water heater   

U.S. Department of Energy research shows that standard water heating accounts for 20 percent of an average household's energy use. Tankless (also called on-demand or instantaneous) water heaters use less energy because they don't store water. They work only when you turn a hot water tap on.
The tap serves as the ignition key for a burner to heat the water as it flows through. As the water flow changes, a thermostat controls the burner to ensure a constant temperature is maintained. The amount of energy used is proportional to the volume of hot water being used. When the hot water is turned off, so is the burner.
Standard hot water heaters, on the other hand, work 24 hours a day to keep a tank full of hot water at a constant temperature (usually between 120 to 140 degrees F.), whether you are using it or not. Heat losses from the tank can account for 10 to 20 percent of a household's annual water heating costs.
Standard water heaters supply hot water until the storage tank is empty. Tankless models, on the other hand, can supply an endless amount of hot water if the flow is within the capacity of the specific model. Most models cannot supply enough hot water for multiple simultaneous uses, however. Turning on two showers and the dishwasher at the same time will probably be too much for most tankless models. A dealer or contractor should be able to assist in determining a household's peak demand need and a satisfactory tankless model.
Tankless water heaters can use natural gas, propane, kerosene, or electricity. They do require venting.