Oregon is on its way to No. 1 in energy efficiency job creation
By Derek Smith, Clean Energy Works Oregon
Derek Smith is the CEO of Clean Energy Works Oregon.
Last week, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released their annual scorecard ranking states on policies, programs and activities. Oregon is number four on the list.
The evolving role of energy efficiency in Oregon’s recovering economy is something to be celebrated and is due to powerful and innovative collaborations happening between public agencies, utilities, private lenders, businesses, nonprofits and individuals.
As the CEO of Clean Energy Works Oregon, a public-private partnership dedicated to creating jobs and saving energy through residential energy efficiency remodels, I have had the opportunity to see this collaboration up close. And I can see it working.
First, the residential real estate market is beginning to put a price on energy efficiency remodels, literally. National research shows that homebuyers are starting to look for homes that have had upgrades like new more efficient windows, better insulation, and updated heating and cooling systems. Likewise, appraisers are starting to factor energy efficiency remodels into their home reviews. Further, the rising demand for these kinds of upgrades has spurred an increase in the number of certified home energy efficiency contractors — creating more jobs and inspiring a host of small businesses with specialized skills.
Secondly, Oregon’s financial institutions are key partners. Local lenders such as SELCO Credit Union, Umpqua Bank, Craft3, First Community Credit Union and Pacific Crest Credit Union have stepped up and made low-cost financing available to homeowners who wish to undertake these kinds of home improvements. Their participation is vital to creating a self-sustaining market.
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