As Temps Drop, Don't Let Energy Bills Rise

October brings a chill to the air, turning leaves, and the compulsion to carve pumpkins.

But, as the temperature drops, Pacific Northwesterners don’t have to let their energy bills rise because of home efficiency programs that are making our homes more efficient, bringing more comfort and financial savings, and lowering the region’s carbon footprint.

Starting up near the Canadian Border, we begin with the Whatcom County Community Energy Challenge, which has been going gangbusters retrofitting residences and commercial establishments since 2009. To date, more than 500 residential projects have been completed, resulting in an average savings of $479 a year in energy costs for homeowners. They have also worked with more than 200 local businesses, cutting costs in that sector by more than $150,000 per year. Whatcom County residents can contact the Community Energy Challenge to get going with this program.

Next up, Kitsap County boasts RePower Bainbridge and RePower Bremerton, which have had significant success with residential and commercial energy efficiency upgrades, saving 4,784,000 kWh to date. RePower has great new incentives this fall, including the Whole House Energy Upgrade package available to all homeowners in Kitsap County and a progressive incentive bonus for Bremerton rental property owners. This is the last winter for RePower case incentives, so Bainbridge residents would do well to explore these options with RePower Bainbridge and Bremerton residents can check out RePower Bremerton to begin the path to savings.

Seattle is the home of Community Power Works which, since launching on April 2011, has conducted 962 single-family and multi-family upgrades. Single-family homes averaged 29%in energy savings per household for a combined home energy savings of $292,000 a year. The combined carbon reduction savings from residential and commercial retrofit work is equivalent to 8,000 fewer cars emitting carbon per year. If you live in the Seattle area and want to save up to $3,700 on a home energy upgrade, please check out Community Power Works.

Since 2010, Thurston Energy has worked with over 700 people to save energy and money in their homes and in their businesses, while making their indoor spaces more comfortable, healthy and productive. These efforts have resulted in a combined yearly home energy savings of over $100,000, with the average homeowner saving over $300 a year. Combined business savings is $50,000 per year, with the average business saving $1,200 in reduced energy costs. Thurston County residents and businesses can visit Thurston Energy for a HomePLUS Energy Evaluation or a business walk-through to learn the most cost-effective ways to save energy and money.

An increasing number of Oregonians are extremely fortunate to have Clean Energy Works Oregon, a nonprofit you can count on to deliver a more comfortable and energy efficient home. Clean Energy Works has retrofitted more than 2,000 homes, generated $26 million in local economic development, and saved Oregonians hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual energy costs. With the highly qualified certified contractors and multiple lenders competing for retrofit business, you will want to take a look at Clean Energy Works Oregon and get going with your audit/retrofit plan today. You may enter this Instant Rebate code: PACLM.

Energy efficiency is a huge part of the solution to reducing energy use and cutting carbon emissions. All six of these programs are helping Northwest residents save money through energy efficiency; increase the comfort, health, and safety of homes; create jobs and build economic value locally, and save a significant amount of carbon.

Check out a program that is servicing your community and do your part to protect the planet and your pocketbook today.

Eileen V. Quigley's picture
, Climate Solutions

Eileen V. Quigley is Principal of Clean Energy Transition, which promotes strategies to achieve deep decarbonization and accelerate the transition from fossil fuel to clean energy. Eileen co-authored Powering the New Energy Future from the Ground Up: Priorities in City-Led Energy Innovation, a report on 34 American cities with fewer than 250,000 residents that are reducing their dependence upon fossil fuels for energy. She also co-authored Natural Infrastructure: A Climate-Smart Solution, a report on the role that natural infrastructure plays in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, removing carbon pollution, and building resilience to impacts of climate change. In May 2015, Eileen was asked by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung foundation to deliver a paper and presentation, Revolution Required: Meeting Current and Future Energy Challenges, at Kühne Logistics Universität in Hamburg, Germany for the City of Tomorrow Series. She currently serves on the board of Stockholm Environment Institute-US and the advisory board of the Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington.

Eileen received her Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University and her Bachelor of Arts in Literature from Yale University. She tweets @evquigley.