The Environmental Center Launches New, Free Home Energy Assessment Program


(Environmental Center’s Climate Solutions staff during a training with the Seeds for the Sol team | Photo courtesy of The Environmental Center)

As we head into another hot summer with a high likelihood of climate impacts such as wildfire smoke, many may be concerned about their home’s readiness to handle the temperatures and smoke comfortably, as well as the bills that may be associated with energy use and/or equipment upgrades. While the need to lower our buildings’ overall energy use and reliance on fossil fuels for heating and cooling is imperative, it is just as important to consider ways to adapt to the reality of climate change, making homes and dwellings more comfortable in the face of extreme temperatures and resilient during smoke season, ice storms, and other unpredictable weather events. For the average Oregonian, making these upgrades can appear quite expensive on top of the rising costs of living.

While financial incentives for home energy upgrades are out there, it is the case that many communities haven’t accessed them due to various barriers, including a lack of education and outreach from local, state, and federal agencies. The Environmental Center’s new Home Energy Assessment program aims to tackle just this: by working with Energy Trust of Oregon to set up free energy assessments for those that qualify and to fast-track home energy upgrades (think insulation, better windows, heat pumps, and even solar panels) at low or no cost. This program can be utilized by homeowners as well as renters.

This program, although new to Central Oregon this year, is not a new concept. Corvallis-based nonprofit Seeds for the Sol has been delivering a similar HEA program successfully for a number of years. Julie Williams, founder of Seeds for the Sol, was a key player in The Environmental Center’s development of the program, visiting the Center to help answer questions and train the new HEA Program Manager, Satya Austin-Opper.

Lindsey Hardy, Director of the Climate Solutions program at The Environmental Center, says the development of this program has given the organization an opportunity to reflect on past successes and also see where they haven’t been able to meet the needs of the community as much as they would like. “During our Energy Challenge campaign back in 2015-2019, we reached over 5,000 people with free LED installations, but it was not as big or exciting as larger upgrades,” says Hardy. “Now, we’re trying to bring the spirit of various other projects together to help everyone in the community have access to upgrades that can have life-changing impacts.” She also noted that working with the Energy Trust of Oregon to fund the research, development, and implementation of the new program is a game changer for how many Central Oregonians will be reached.

Two informational sessions to launch the program will be held in person at The Environmental Center.

The first event, which will take place on Thursday, May 30 from 1-2pm, is aimed at Community Organizations and elected officials who want to learn more about how the communities they serve and/or constituents may benefit from this program and access tools for doing outreach. RSVP at

The second event takes place on Wednesday, June 5 from 5:30-6:30pm and is open to the public to learn more about participating in the program themselves. RSVP at

If you’re interested in seeing if you qualify for this program or signing up, please visit

About The Environmental Center:
The Environmental Center’s mission is to embed sustainability into daily life in Central Oregon. We translate sustainability into practical, local action in order to create a healthy future for people and the planet. We are focused on building community, educating kids, revolutionizing energy, rethinking waste, and advocating for change.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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