Bend’s recent population growth sparked a period of booming housing construction alongside demand for more energy efficient buildings. Robert Hamerly, owner and founder of GreenSavers USA, recalls demand growing over the last decade for homes that use less energy, which helped drive market transformation and the creation of a new industry: the total home performance sector.
“I worked in new construction for five years before starting GreenSavers,” said Hamerly. “During this time, I partnered with businesses using cutting edge technology to build ‘greener’ homes.”
Home performance goes beyond simply adding insulation or replacing a heating system. It’s a whole-house approach where the home is considered a series of interconnected systems.
As building science experts, home performance contractors analyze a home’s performance and look for ways to improve energy efficiency and home comfort, while improving air quality, reducing pollution and other health and safety measures. Multiple energy upgrades are often bundled into a one-time, one-stop Home Energy Remodel that can include high-performance attic, wall and floor insulation, energy efficient windows, high-efficiency home heating, air and duct sealing and efficient water heating systems.
Learning how to make homes more efficient and more comfortable ultimately shaped Hamerly’s future business model for GreenSavers.
In 2007, Hamerly founded GreenSavers, which offers energy efficiency upgrades to improve older home performance and help homeowners reduce wasted energy and unnecessary costs.
Hamerly saw opportunity in the growing home performance industry and created his business as a “one-stop-shop” solution for energy-efficient upgrades.
“I knew I wanted to save energy. I knew I wanted to update older homes. As energy efficiency started to become more mainstream, I saw home performance gain momentum,” said Hamerly.
And he was not alone.
Businesses across the country saw home performance as a bright spot in a weak economy. Like Hamerly, many contractors started new home performance businesses while others re-tooled existing companies to offer upgrades to residential homes.
The home performance industry is a relatively new market that has experienced significant growth in recent years. At the forefront of this trend are organizations that help promote energy efficiency programs, offer a one-stop shop for financing and tax credits and increase demand for retrofits. One such organization that has grown quickly with the market is Clean Energy Works.
Clean Energy Works Accelerates Home Performance, Grows Jobs
Clean Energy Works is a non-profit, public-private partnership accelerating total home performance upgrades in Oregon.
Since it was created in 2009, Clean Energy Works has activated a powerful collaboration of local contractors, lenders, governments and utilities to work together to upgrade more than 3,200 homes statewide. The organization has helped more than 1,000 workers receive a paycheck and 350 new workers build a promising construction career.
Making it easy and affordable for Oregonians to improve the comfort and health of their homes is a key growth factor for the regional home performance industry.
Hamerly thinks the Clean Energy Works model makes the retrofit process simpler. “Homeowners don’t have a ton of time to sort out financing and hire contractors. It can be a daunting task,” said Hamerly.
Clean Energy Works connects qualified homeowners to local lenders for low-cost financing, to local utilities for cash incentives and to certified energy efficiency contractors, like GreenSavers, to do the work.
“Working with Clean Energy Works, we have been able to help more than 75 homeowners here in Bend, make their homes more comfortable, less expensive to run and more efficient,” said Hamerly. “The Clean Energy Works model is a win for homeowners and the economy.”
GreenSavers is part of the Clean Energy Work’s regional network of business allies. Hamerly founded GreenSavers in 2007 as one of the first companies in the country to focus specifically on in-depth energy audits and home performance upgrades. It remains a top home performance business in Oregon.
Potential for Growth in the Home Performance Industry
Clean Energy Works has generated more than $62 million in economic activity throughout Oregon. The organization has created jobs and made an impact on local contracting businesses. However, many construction workers remain unemployed, sitting on the sidelines looking for jobs that put their skills to use.
And yet, there is plenty of room for more growth. More than 600,000 homes in Oregon are in need of an energy upgrade. That represents 60,000 jobs and $8 billion in eco-
With the valuable contributions of organizations like Clean Energy Works and high quality services from businesses like GreenSavers, Oregon has an opportunity to expand the home performance industry, creating jobs and putting people back to work.
If home performance can continue to grow, it could be a game-changer for Oregon’s economy.
Visit Clean Energy Works online to see projects happening in your neighborhood and find out how your home may qualify for instant savings.