by RENEE PATRICK Cascade Business News Feature Writer
Non-profit Clean Energy Works Oregon (CEWO) announced the arrival of their successful home energy remodeling program to Central Oregon at a gathering of influential energy enthusiasts including Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes, Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger, Energy Trust of Oregon Energy Program Director Peter West and CEO of Clean Energy Works Oregon Derek Smith. The group gathered in the home of Mike and Juanita Martin, the first house in Bend to undergo the CEWO program.
The launch follows the first successful home energy remodeling pilot program based in Portland. Through this one-stop-shop program, 1,200 house-holds in the Portland area have increased their efficiency. What CEWO does differently than existing models is to offer bundled services including qualified contractors, attractive financing, objective advice and generous rebates.
Partner Umpqua Bank will offer low-interest, no-money down financing in Central Oregon, and through May 15, homes in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties accepted into the program will receive instant rebates of up to $3,700 including a free home energy assessment worth $500. Often the energy savings in monthly bills have offset the cost of the loan payments; energy efficiency pays like never before!
“These deep retrofits truly change energy use…it makes a house more valuable on the market,” commented West.
“While there are other similar programs taking place across the country, the Oregon program is among the most successful to date and has become a model for the nation,” said Hayes.
Each home owner will have an Energy Advisor who will assist during the entire process, and will ensure the work was done as promised.
With a reported 120 direct new hires in the construction industry created in the Portland pilot, Smith believes Bend can look forward to many new jobs as well. CEWO’s first local goal is to renovate 150 houses which will result in the creation of 50 local jobs.
“It provides jobs for that group of people that have lost the most jobs, the construction industry,” said Unger. “Lots of our homes, mine included, were built at a time with a standard of building and insulation that is just out of date. That is low hanging fruit to be able to take a house that is already here, make it better and make it more efficient. That is a livable house that doesn’t get torn down for that new house going up.”
Five local contractors have already partnered with Clean Energy Works Oregon: GreenSavers, Neil Kelly, DO Insulation, Button Up Energy and Richart. “Our hope is that these contractors will grow and hire more workers,” commented Smith.
Local organizations Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council and the Environmental Center helped get the local program off the ground, and the partners will be hosting free workshops for homeowners to learn more about CEWO in Bend, Redmond and Prineville in mid February.
Interested home owners can apply for free online at www.cewo.org. Workshops will take place February 15 and 16. 5–6:30pm (Bend) The Environmental Center, 16 NW Kansas Avenue. (Redmond) Redmond Library, 827 SW Deschutes Ave. (Prineville) February 16, Prineville Library, 175 NW Meadowlakes Drive.
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