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Home Energy Efficiency

Nov 22, 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 make yourself a series of interviews with people of interest in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington I'm your -- -- -- I don't think -- 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 to speak about their wonderful organization and programs I have with me will the -- has obviously that well. That's correct yeah most people don't get their right on the. I think that. You are either of course -- director mark before and CE WOO clean energy works organ how are you today. I'm -- great -- and 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 aren't good with clean energy -- organ or sometimes we appreciate that -- SeaWorld Zulu a little weird but -- -- say that quite often. I've been with the organization or about two and a half years it's my second nonprofit I spent most of my career working at her big break and you know Internet brand and consumer product companies such. I felt like I really wanted to do something even nonprofit space Q -- some social impact. Sure and I was lucky enough you are joint clean energy work to be happier to go in and it's been wild ride ever since he's -- about. 300 homes while how about 9000 homeowners participate. And how all of that we're happy to say has generated more than 300 jobs in the state of Oregon. 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. -- because he needed help create jobs under a lot of construction job a lot in the Great Recession ends more homeowners that participate. The more out of contract confirms that we work which I need to hire more workers so we're really proud of that. Until 2007 action work with a company I -- 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 -- radio and just shortly after that was the recession and that company boy it'd take a hit. While I -- yeah you're part right. So. Let's talk about clean energy works organ what is it. Well I could really get a pretty good job of summarizing your problem but I think what one tweak it I would. Say we we like to focus on is that I'm your energy efficiencies kind of bit abstract. Concept. We talk a lot about comfort because. Yes people are struggling wit you know rising energy price it is and he's high energy bills in some cases. But it's also an indication when you have a hole that fuels. Uncomfortable or -- keep turning up the thermostat -- 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 wanna say and energy were executed because they wanted to save on 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 being a win here or really stuck in the summer and I need someone to help solving it and we help them do that. The so -- over and get into how this works so you have for you have a house you've noticed that -- -- -- you're sick every year of of pain in the high bills busier you know that. Your house could be more energy efficiency is contact you guys through CE EW dot org is that correct. EW OO dot org. CD WO seeing -- you know the thing. I'm yeah absolutely. You know because people play these games with themselves where. I can try to restrain themselves from turning up the thermostat or running the air conditioner. Until it gets to be too much. And you -- know what we'd do our -- saying why do we make it affordable. To install energy upgrade but we also make it easy. Because -- bundled 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 for these steps and tried to simplify things because. Just not a you know this technology kitchen remodel that people you know may have gone through before or maybe they've had friends goes through. Energy remodeled the -- of this newfangled. And people a lot of people aren't. Familiar with them they don't know who to go to. Or where to start. We don't know that you feel you can 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 it and -- do it because either you or improve 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 a 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. No really big rats easier -- in your attic in your basement. And that's a whole other challenge that we. We try to -- -- when we -- -- consumers we try to bring these things to light visually. Or no we try to create huge that they can share with friends -- and they checked him over make it easy. Pictures tell the story of how their homes and changed. But but let me step back and yeah you know how this how its work force apps. The first step -- apply. The second step is is that the third kept its finances in the -- -- -- transformed. Right and and starting -- supply. We. I had 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 serve homeowners that liberated it. Only their own home. That are single family detached homes built before 1993. So it was really important criteria that's 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 up you're 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 it. So -- we have an online application that takes five minutes to just ask you questions about your home. And no -- 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 what occurred here are in the majors. Spend five minutes and apply it. Then the next step is -- schedule of these past our stage which is the free home energy assessment now normally. Are they 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 there were willing to try and the money for that assessment. And that's a three or four -- fashion with the contractor may come in their -- We called lower court has been pressurized and go home and it kind of ties were all that. The leaks are and he did a lot of contractors also bring an infrared camera are -- kind of -- we can't see from the outside. Right you can actually see you would see visually where those leaks are. He had people were always pay a we got pretty good for a camera 'cause it's one of those what you were saying he can't CD is. Energy problems well I think for a camera helped you see like. Where the captain installation in my home maybe there's no insulation at all lot of worldly older homes that participate. Creepy insulation and you know if you don't have inflation -- -- -- -- You're gonna be either really -- you're gonna have to run your heater. Right well in my in my house and I rent -- house but my houses is -- -- decent sized. But there are certainly parts of the house that we know like well in the wintertime that 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 just think it's something good there. Up the wall yeah you're notified like newspaper. -- this week we hear these great stories -- -- -- and people find in the -- colonel Walt. Everything from you know might ductwork in my crawl space was disconnected so all -- hot -- would call you to -- cross. They can -- my home. We also have great stories about people actually finding money. While -- -- under yet under very very insulation like some prior owner rich fast money up Eric. So it's crazy this. That's a matter of the assessments -- -- to literally paying to have this to see exactly exactly who knows what -- -- -- -- all the insulation in your attic but I'm people. No commodity except -- really understanding what we like a fair bit hidden secrets of their home energy use. I think three. You -- because. We are so convinced that the knowledge they gain. These -- big gains from that it has meant is gonna convinced that they're investing in energy efficiency upgrade is gonna leave them more comfortable and it could save them I'm -- Utility -- And I should know we are you when you're talking about having this work done. We'll get into -- it has a little bit that you you have recommended contracts as do this you guys are making money after having these -- -- We're not and I appreciate you Rick -- reminding me to mention we're a nonprofit right -- you don't make any money off of this. You know we were created in partnership with the shady at Portland and -- local governments around the stage this state government and the federal government. Precisely. To help. People make their homes are comfortable with Duke Energy waste and ultimately like I talked about beginning to create jobs. Did you wanna cover the contractors -- you guys involved in this program. -- these are 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 you so it's important you do that I your contractors and you guys have done that for the. You're actually right -- I kind of like they have the force accomplished fact where you never know we gonna get. Those contracts to well. We have 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. And these specially trained in home energy efficiency right leg room who thought of that. So I'm. We'll share because it just let 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 like you know you're getting at the plumber plumber has gone above and 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 -- -- These firms through a competitive selection process. Every -- specially trained in home energy efficiency. And they need a leed certifications. That are provided by. The organization called building performance institute. And has 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 back -- contractor to participate in clean energy work to make sure people are getting. Only the tax. Fantastic. So you have this thing home energy assessment done -- free home energy assessment done by a contract and you guys have vetted out and -- trained. And they -- and check -- -- -- they give -- -- report. Where they recommended don't recommend -- the -- -- -- It's right well the homeowner gets accustomed to it that -- is reviewed by clean energy work. And -- and the homeowner and contractor can negotiated after the homeowner of course that's. Except it's got to work -- homeowner can. Often hasn't even more choices than maybe they want to move forward with so they can absolutely say no I want that I don't want that however. Home must be able to save at least 15%. In energy savings in order to put. Proceed in the program sees and by proceeding in the program I mean take advantage of some very generous three days we offer. Currently including the free home energy assessment and an inspection that takes place at the end of that. The process we're offering homeowners the opportunity came up -- 2000 dollars loan their humanity remodel. Yeah I hear it -- very generous rebate program. There's also the opportunity to access no money down financing -- -- no upfront cost -- People if people don't have a lot of money's burning a hole in their pocket right now right there recessions 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 letters we brought into the program they offer a preferred -- and flexible terms so it's all kind of built right in. Right great yet because there's little housing 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 -- program because you know people you know are are very able to afford you know the home they can afford and often that an older home that a lot of political Carriker says he's got it right -- got -- have. The latest and greatest energy upgrade it is installed. And they are often times very simple things if you can be changing now you 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 -- get it -- -- homeowner can work with but their contractors -- particular package that seemed at least 15% energy. Then they can move forward in the program to the finance. That has -- -- three and bear it optional. -- we -- required I think totally optional now a homeowner can. Bring your own financing or they can pay the contractor directly -- -- if they do have the -- say it 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 again these days credit is tight your options are pretty limited. We have several lenders now including one in the Portland metro area that actually allowed. 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 the library you get your utility bill in the mail each month and it shows -- loan payment right there and yes and that -- thinking here which was part of the reason the program was created was that. Look you can achieve energy which brings down your utility bill and you know that opens up money. Right to cover the possible loan right. So you you bring down -- savings that offset a portion of the loan. Yes and you don't even have another bill to pay now. You know it's not quite break even we're very lucky in the Pacific northwest to have. You know hey -- looked very low energy prices. And a climate that's not. That extreme. So I mean -- on average is it. You go through clean energy work and you take out -- through clean energy works out lender lending partners are probably going to see on average over the course of the year. You know an extra twenty -- fifty dollars. Indian. Monthly payments above and beyond the energy savings that you realize. Now that's a battle alone payment. No it's not I think you know what it's money that you're reinvesting in your own home. Instead of having you'd be he knows 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 said it better myself hope that the finance page and once. You know if you decide. He's financing once you've been approved. We under the transformed staged a laugh aged now the good times that maybe we can talk about that B upgrades that might be included we started set to come and ask us. Yes and let me mention -- if you just joining us you're listening to masters cup 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 a 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 here we've been talking about how. You get the energy assessment done which you do by going to CE WO. Dot org is just five minutes to take this little assessment and they let you know if -- your house's eligible and then recommends whether should have this assessment on. -- then you have some would 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 do you have 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. Actually had served for the last that we call transform. And that's when all your energy upgrades are installed. Our program allows for a variety of different energy upgrades. -- the most commented as we're talking about earlier are insulation and what was called airy feeling which is essentially -- little gap in preferences and other areas to the house where there might be air leaking in -- leaking out how most people think. I know your windows and -- 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 your -- or feeling all of these -- -- -- is -- kind of think about these cracks and crevices as -- 5000 cut. Any one of them you probably don't feel. But when we pressurized homes you can see all the current of air flow through a home because of all he's captain Kravitz is. 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 or running your air conditioner. With the window open -- not such as that's costing you money. And it's you know shockingly 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 he's 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 -- 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 yet been able to access and check for leaks and then you know we also do you allow people upgrade their windows and that didn't include the high energy efficient. Windows but it also includes in the window inserts and I'm not sure. If you're familiar with -- no windows. So -- -- windows is I'm a local company. Start in the Portland metro area are manufactured there we know insert in the war again. 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 him hit -- -- and -- and and they sit so it's not believe -- inside your windows -- create kind of an airtight seal. And it's a nice way that you can not only improved the energy efficiency comfort of your home but you can. He's so without replacing those all the windows fat or maybe going to be very costly to replace. A -- updating knows it's almost a storm window type idea of the from the kind. Exactly and you know a lot of people like that character and charm. Bear 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 you know what to all the ebitda X thirty -- -- installed. We like to say we we have a final exams for your home and that involves the contractor coming back in the -- cash beach the entire house presser I think it again. Measuring air closed -- -- to make sure it's gone down and then we also send what's called an energy advised -- into the Alps. Q did you leans back 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 the homeowner you know make sure that they're gonna save money and they're going to be comfortable. And that's that's the last step before the program winds up. Fantastic we were 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 and should end for your own home and if you are homeowner in organ with a house -- before 1993 you should be interest it. Please visit CE WOO dot org there's home energy assessment they 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 a directory of and then they will let you know the rest of these steps do you can even apply for finance human also and done 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 -- paying for it as easy as possible they have I can say the no money down financing they also have found some of their room. 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 -- about the planet. Just there's really no downsides of this one. Absolutely well I've -- thank you so much for coming on the show today it's -- -- the -- to speak with you are absolutely again visit CE WOO dot pork. All right that'll do it for this edition of -- scoping Entercom 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. Then Douglas test US is intercom starts losing -- and please -- -- scope in the subject line so -- doesn't get snagged by my spam filter. According go directly to the station's website click on the community -- submit your information there. Also would like to hear this program again you can visit our podcast page -- mattress copd exec Tom real find this and the last couple months worth of episodes. And please feel free to post to your FaceBook you MySpace your blog Twitter your Google+ whatever you got the strength -- this important information out to as many people as possible political. Thinking so much for joining us they will take you all so much for listening to this is thin mattress goes.