The Power of Improving Home Efficiency


THE DALLES — We often talk about energy efficiency and weatherization with a broad perspective – describing various program requirements or cumulative statewide energy savings. But it’s worth remembering that these programs make meaningful improvements to people’s lives, where families save energy and money, have an easier time paying their energy bills, improve the value of their homes, and are more comfortable. 

Case studies from Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District illustrate the power of these real-life benefits. The utility’s Energy Efficiency Upgrade Program provides audits that help identify cost-saving improvements, plus valuable financial and technical assistance to help people implement recommended upgrades.

For example, Northern Wasco County PUD worked with a family in Tygh Valley to update a home built in 1885. The home lacked insulation and had single-pane windows and baseboard heating. Not surprisingly, the family of six struggled with high electricity bills and cold toes. The PUD provided more than $32,000 in funding needed to modernize the home. Upgrades even included re-wiring the home to ensure safe installation of attic insulation. Today, the home is warmer and quieter, with energy savings of more than 7,500 kilowatt hours per year, and an annual financial savings of just over $420.

At a home in The Dalles, a family reduced their monthly energy use by 56 percent, or the equivalent of 8,800 kilowatt hours per year, thanks to improvements made possible by funding from the PUD and Bonneville Power Administration. For this 1956 home, Northern Wasco County PUD helped replace insulation, windows, and doors and upgraded the heating/cooling system. The PUD also showed the homeowners how to use their new heating system, and identified other good energy-saving habits that help reduce energy costs.

Kudos to the Northern Wasco team for making a difference. The positive change from energy efficiency we see in one home at a time means everything to the people who live there while adding up to big improvements for Oregon overall.

Learn more about energy efficiency in Oregon in the Oregon Department of Energy’s 2018 Biennial Energy Report.

About Author

Jenny serves as Communications Director at the Oregon Department of Energy, which is leading Oregon to a safe, equitable, clean, and sustainable energy future.

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