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Home Energy Efficiency

Aug 9, 2013|

A discussion with Will Villota, the Director of Marketing for Clean Energy Works Oregon, about their money-saving process for helping homeowners with energy assessments and remodels that will make their homes far more energy efficient. www.cewo.org

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

You're listening to -- -- -- series of interviews with people of interest in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington I'm -- -- -- -- I don't think they need to tell anybody listening that energy costs have gone through the roof over the last ten years and they don't look like they have any sign of really stopping at all. So it would behoove you if you're a homeowner to make your house a little bit more energy efficient and today I have a guess from clean energy works organ. And they help homeowners -- just such a thing so do you speak about their wonderful organization in programs I have with me will the below 'cause obviously that well. That's correct yeah most people who get their right on the. You are -- of course -- director mark before and CE WO clean energy works organ how are you today are great -- are absolutely so to get things kicked off let's let our listeners know a little bit about yourself and how you came to be was clean energy worked or didn't. You're still are good with clean energy work organ or sometimes we appreciate that they -- -- Zulu a little weird but we -- -- that quite often. I've been with the organization for about two and a half years it's my second nonprofit I spent most of my career working at her big brand you know Internet brand and consumer product companies such. I felt like I really wanted to do something you're not profits based Q affect some social impact. Sure -- and I was lucky enough you are joint clean energy work to be happier to go -- and it's been. Wild ride ever since he's -- about. 300 homes while how about 9000 homeowners participate. And all of that we're happy to say has generated more than 300 jobs in the state of Morgan. While that's fantastic so. When I say that you know this is something get involved you guys is going to help make your house more energy efficient and also has some far reaching that affects as well. It does because he needed help create jobs under a lot of construction job a lot in the Great Recession since more homeowners have participate. The more out of contract confirms that we work -- I need to hire more workers so we're really proud of that. Until 2007 action work with a company I sold doors and windows inside main index in building materials various types for about eight years and when I moved you know out of there to come and do radio and just shortly after that was the recession and that company boy it'd take a hit. Well I mean yeah you're smarter. So. Let's talk about clean energy works organ what is it. Well -- make it pretty good job of summarizing your problem but I think what -- we -- I would. Say we we like to focus on is that I'm still energy efficiencies kind of bit abstract. Concept. We talk a lot about comfort because yes people are struggling -- you know rising energy prices and high energy build in some cases. But I it's also an indication when you have a hole that passed fuels. Uncomfortable or -- to keep turning up the thermostat or turning up the air conditioning which. It's a symptom of a greater problem. And and most people you know there will not tolerate some discomfort. Because they wanted to -- and energy are secure because they wanna save on the utility bills. But really what kept them if you apply online at SeaWorld dot org is usually look I've got a problem I've got to help. That is draft be in the winter or really coffee in the summer and it needs someone help solving it right and we help them do that. The so we're over and get into how this works so you have for you have a house you've noticed that its -- -- you're sick every year of of pain in the high bills -- do you know that. Your house could be more energy efficiency is contact you guys through CEW dot org is that correct. EW OO dot org. CDU WO seeing Doug you know -- the. I'm yeah absolutely. You know because people play this game with themselves where. I can try to restrain themselves from turning up the thermostat or running the air conditioner. Until we get to be too much. And didn't know what we'd do our couple things why do we make it affordable. To install energy upgrade but we also make it easy because we've -- -- a lot of upgrades into a one time whole Al. Who we call home energy remodel. And that process we break down into what we call our -- these steps and try to simplify things because. This is not a you know that technology kitchen remodel that people you know may have gone through before or maybe they've had friends goes through. Energy remodeled a -- newfangled. And people a lot of people aren't. You -- with them they don't know who to go to. Or where to start. When you don't know there's two things -- and become like a deer in headlights and you'll do any state. Well also sounds quite daunting it's our you know he got a kid remodel your kitchen it's. And you know me it's very hands on anything you're doing it because either you -- improves the look of it or you wanna make little more convenient to use your kitchen. And they put some new features in there and it's something very tangible you can see are we doing -- home energy remodeled cycle while amenities and into the whole house and it's. You know if it's done right it's something you don't really notice. -- really big rats easier walls in your attic in your basement. I'm not a whole other challenge that we. We try to you know win when we -- hurt consumers we try to bring eastern polite visually. Or no we try to create huge that they can share with friends -- and they checked him over make it easy. Just to tell the story of how they're almost unchanged. But but let me step back -- -- you how this how its work force apps. The first step is applying. The second step is is that the third that this finance in the -- -- is transformed. Right and and starting with apply. -- I have some eligibility criteria right now where I'm. Available in nineteen counties that cover we'll probably two thirds of the state. And including the entire Portland metro area. And we -- homeowners that liberated it. Only their own home. That are single family detached homes built before 1993. So there is really important criteria that a lot of homes we think there are 600000 those arms around the state. And that the 1993 thing is because there were different standards put in place after that time. -- -- -- -- -- -- Yes yes thank you sir for bringing that option -- not an arbitrary date. Building code changes at that time home better and newer than 1993. Are probably a whole lot more comfortable and energy efficient than homes built for 93 -- So -- we have an online application that takes five minutes to just ask you questions about your home. And I know 88 quick and easy and you find out right away whether or not you're accepted or not. Most people are accepted. Because you know hopefully they know -- to our interior are in the majors. Spend five minutes and apply. And that. The next step is we schedule of these past stage which is the free home energy task and I'm normally. I used to cost 500 dollars but it's -- we think it's so important that we show people. How their home can be made more comfortable and energy efficient they were willing to try and the money for that assessment. And actually three or four hour session with the contractor may come in there. -- what's called lower court has been pressurized and the home and it kind of ties were all that. The leaked czar and he did a lot of contractors also bring an infrared camera he can kind of see where you can't see from the outside. Right you can actually see you would see visually where those leaks are. He had people were always say oh we got pretty good for a camera 'cause it's one of those what you were saying he can't CP is. Energy problems well I -- for a camera helped you see like. Where the captain insulation in my home maybe there's no installation at all lot of worldly older homes that. Participate. Creepy insulation and you know if you don't have inflation your wall -- like. You're going to be either really -- you're gonna have to run your heater. Right well in my in my house that I rent a house but my houses is -- -- decent sized. But there are certainly parts of the house that we know like well in the wintertime -- rooms called. It just around the rest of it's doing OK but that room is called and it's like you know if you -- -- good there. Up the wall yeah you're notified like newspaper. -- this week we hear these great stories to come out of these customers can people find in the attic colonel Walt. I'm everything from you know -- ductwork in my crawl space was disconnected so all my a hot air would -- -- -- -- They can in my home we also have great stories about people actually finding money. While I'm here under yeah under their very insulation like some prior owner rich fast money up -- sort of crazy this. That's -- of the assessments -- -- literally paying to have -- -- -- -- -- exactly who knows what traders centered it to the all the insulation in your attic but I'm people. No commodity assessment. Really understanding. What we like compared to hidden secrets of their home energy use. 83. You -- because. We are so convinced that the knowledge they gain. The insight they gain from that it has meant is gonna convince them that investing in energy efficiency upgrade is gonna leave a more comfortable and it could save them -- America. Utility -- And I should know we are you when you're talking about having this work done. We'll get into and it is a little bit that you you have recommended contracts as do this you guys are making money after having these remodel -- We're not and I appreciate you Rick you're reminding me to mention we're a nonprofit -- you don't make any money off of this. You know we were created in partnership with this CD a portal and how local governments around the state defeat cover man and the federal government. Tightly to help. People make their homes are comfortable reduce energy waste and ultimately like I talked about the beginning to create jobs. Did you wanna cover the contractors that you guys involved in this program. And these -- just any old contractors because if you had any work done on your house her friends have had worked in your house. She's the contractors and incredibly important part of this contractors off to work on their own not part of a bigger company and sometimes aren't held up to a high standards as they might need to -- so it's important you do that I your contractors and you guys have done that for the. You're actually right -- it's kind of like they have the force accomplished fact where you never know we gonna get. Those contracts to well. We had taken steps to make sure that homeowners are working with only. The highest skilled most experienced contractors available and more get. They are all specially trained in home energy efficiency a lot of people don't know that contractors. Can be specially trained in home energy efficiency right leg room who thought of that. So I'm. We'll share because it just -- people -- -- mean you can hire someone to come in and put a window and put a door and been remodeled kitchen all that stuff. And they might do that they might look fantastic but if it's not done exactly properly. It's maybe not having the great affecting your hoping it would so having someone who really knows what to look for before and after his hugely important. That's right quick you know what you're getting at the plumber plumber has -- climbing score an electrician is gonna look electrician school but. I'm home energy efficiencies. Is a little new little different. So every firm that we work question and he handpicked. These firms through competitive selection process. Every -- specially trained in home energy efficiency. And they need a leed certifications. That are provided by. The organization called the building performance institute. And those certifications are also recognized by energy trust of Morgan and US Department of Energy. Through the home performance with Energy Star program sort of just thrown out a lot of program -- the short of it is you know. We rigorously -- contractors are participating clean energy work to make sure people are getting. Only the tax. Fantastic. So you have this say -- home energy assessment done this free home energy assessment done by a contract and you guys have vetted out and -- trained. And they determined and check -- -- -- they give -- a report. Where they recommended don't recommend -- the -- what's the next. It's right well the homeowner gets accustomed to it that big is reviewed by clean energy work. And when the homeowner and contractor can negotiated after the homeowner of course that's. Except it's got to work. -- homeowner can. Offense hasn't even more choices than maybe they want to move forward with so they can absolutely say no I want this I don't want that however. Home must be able to save at least 15%. In energy savings in order to proceed in the program. Scenes and -- proceeding in the program I mean take advantage of some very generous rebates we offer. Currently including the free home energy assessment and an inspection that takes place at the end of -- The process we're offering homeowners the opportunity to save up to 2000 dollars -- her -- you remodel. Yeah I dearly but very generous rebate program. There's also the opportunity to access no money down financing so there's no upfront cost. People if people don't have a lot of money burning a hole in their pocket right now right this recession you know really made people. Hunkered down so. Keep aspect of the program is we brought local lenders to the table you know good luck finding a lender whose. Who understand home energy efficiency on your own we found these -- we've brought into the program. They offer a preferred rate and flexible terms so it's all kind of built right in. All right great yet -- -- -- -- market being what it is right now it's not easy to go out and buy new home if -- -- to upgrade your living conditions a lot of people largest stain in their house and improving their current domicile. That's right and we see we also see a lot of new homeowners -- of -- program because you know people you know are are they're able to afford you know the home they can afford and often and that's an older home that a lot of corn -- Carriker says he's got it right maybe doesn't have. The latest and greatest. He's energy upgrade and it an insult. And they are often times very simple things if you can be changing now -- windows he might have old wooden windows or aluminum single -- class and it just changing those out getting some some vinyl or some of the new clad wood windows that are out there and that can really affect the energy efficiency of her home. That's right so they'll get a political homeowner can work with that their contractors -- particular package that seemed at least 15% energy. Then they can move forward in the program to the financial. That has kept free and fair it's optional. -- will be used to require I think totally optional now a homeowner can. Bring your own financing or they can -- the contractor directly cast -- if they do have the money saved. But again we see about 70% of our participants. Preferring to go with one of the lenders that we. Bring to the table and that's because now -- these days credit is tight your options are pretty limited. We have several lenders now including wind in the parliamentary area that actually allows. Used to repay your loan on your utility bill which is incredibly convenient. And we don't even haven't you don't even get another built from a library you get your utility bill in the mail each month and it shows a loan payment right there and yes and that is thinking here which was part of of the reason the program was created. -- -- Look you can achieve energy which brings down your utility bill and you know that opens up money. Right to cover the cost of the loan right. So -- you bring down the savings that offset a portion of the loan now it's brilliant -- and you don't even have another bill to pay now. You know it's not quite break -- we're very lucky in the Pacific northwest to have. You know hey I've looked very low energy prices and a climate that's not that extreme. So I mean you're on average is if you go to clean energy work and you take got a long term clean energy works lender lending partners. You're probably going to see on average over the course of the year. You know an extra twenty to fifty dollars. Indian. Monthly payments above and beyond the energy savings that you realized. That. No it's not I think you know what it's money that you're reinvesting in your own holes instead of having -- be you know something echoed your utility and you're essentially paying for. You're heating or cooling air that just keeps right out here how. -- my -- is to say I'm sure a lot of people's parents said we're not paying to heat the outdoors. That's right yeah couldn't and it's sad about it myself so that the finance page and wants. You know if you decide. He's financing once you've been approved we have heard it transformed -- the last aged now the good time that maybe we can talk about that beat up. Upgrades that -- might be included and started that the current and past us. Yes and let me mention -- if you just joining us you're listening to met your -- a series of interviews with people of interest northwest Oregon and southwest Washington. I guess they is will below from clean energy works organ music director of marketing their we're talking about. They're amazing program to transform your home into being -- much more energy efficient building. Which I help you in the long run also has far reaching effects like. More jobs being created out there and of course you know helping to save the environment that's also important so we're we've been talking about how. You get the energy assessment done which you do by going to CEW. OO dot org. It's just five minutes to take this little assessment and it lets you know if -- your house's eligible and then recommends whether should have this assessment on. -- then you have someone come out a contractor that has been vetted and trained by clean energy works organ. You do this assessment on your home takes about three -- four hours and then they let you know just what you need to have done to make your house that much more energy efficient and -- plans are quite simple they have found no money down financing available and -- and talked about actually transforming your house in to be much more energy efficient. Thanks -- good for the last that we call transformed. And that's when all your energy upgrades are installed. Our program allows for a variety of different energy upgrades. You know the most commented as we're talking earlier our installation and what was called airy feeling which is essentially -- little gaps in -- is and other areas of the Alps where there might be air leaking into the leaking out how most people think. I -- your windows and doors guy right most people think I need to start with my windows. And often there's there's even more basic steps that you could take like. Adding insulation to your walls or additional insulation here addict or feeling all of these crappy -- it is. He can kind of think about these cracks and crevices and death by a thousand cut. Sure anyone about it that you probably don't feel. But when we -- home you can see all the current of air flow through a home because of all these captain purposes. And an -- contractors often tell homeowners. It's the equivalent of leaving a window open year round so imagine. You know leaving your heat on our running your air conditioner. With the window open he -- such as that's costing you money. And it's not sucking the cool air. From an air conditioner or the warm air from your heating system right out your house so I'm we often start with insulation and feeling -- captain crevasses. You can also upgrade what are called the chemicals which goes that's your furniture for your heat pump. -- your water heater and we can fuel your dark we talked earlier about the assessment how many. People report having leaked sooner or heating duct especially those in the crawl spaces that maybe people had not. You know been able to access and check for leaks. And then you know we also do you allow people upgrade their windows and I that -- include the high energy efficient. Windows but it also includes in the window in Turks and I'm not sure. If you're familiar with -- no windows. So we -- windows is -- a local company started in the parliamentary area. Our manufacturers here legally and -- in or getting. And they are these as we know in certain that you placed from the inside. And they have a gasket around. The outside that makes -- hit your constant diet and they fit so smugly. On the inside your windows -- create kind of an airtight seal. And it's nice way that you can not only improved the. Energy efficiency and comfort of your home but you can. Can go without replacing -- all the windows. That are maybe gonna be very cost to replace. It's a kind of an updating knows it's almost a storm window type idea of the from the -- Exactly and the whole Lotta people like the character and charm. -- there was you know that was a nice compromise. But I are those for those listeners don't know organs not a great place for wood windows centric feel right unless -- some sort of clad in on the outside. Right -- that's a great option that we've we incorporate into the program about a year ago or so. And know what to all the ebitda after he -- -- installed. We like to say we we have a final exams for your home and that involves the contractor coming back in the free cash being the entire house. Pressure I think it again. Measuring air closed due to how to make sure it's gone down and then we also expand what's called an energy advisor into the -- You visually inspect all of the energy upgrade and that that's you know very important step. Homeowner learn that being probably more than 101000 dollars on average. You need upgrades. We're there to make sure they've been done right so homeowner you know make sure that -- receive money and there are going to be comfortable. And that's that's the last step before the program winds up. Fantastic who who were coming up a bit of our time so what -- remind everybody to get all this kicked off this if this sounds like something that you are -- -- -- for your own home and if you are homeowner in organ with a house -- before 1993 you should be interest it. Please visit CEW OO dot org there's home energy assessment -- can take their do little for me fill up takes five minutes. And then a little trying to be an idea whether this is right freer right for your home and a legacy if you got one of those houses that's you know more than twenty years old. He is probably right for you. And then they let you know the rest of these steps do you. You can even apply for financing and also and -- they have some come out your house. They do this assessment on your home takes about three or four hours they give you a very detailed report on what your house needs to be much more energy efficient. They make paying for it as easy as possible to have I can say the lenders what you pay off your bill through your existing utility bills which is a fantastic program. It's all there is easy as it could possibly be. And it's going to help out your home and our community in general scope of people work it's gonna help about the planet. Just there's really no downsides -- this one. Absolutely well I've -- thank you so much for coming on the show today it's been a little delights to speak with you are absolutely again visit CEW OO dot pork. All right that'll do it for this edition of -- a scoping intercom communications public affairs program I think your host Ted Douglas. If you have a nonprofit or public affairs organization you would like to let others know about please email me. At -- -- Douglas @entercom.com. 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