Repowering Our Workforce
RePowering Our Workforce

In an economic downturn, a community-based effort is helping create local jobs for contractors and improving energy-efficiency of local homes. Watch the story of how in just one year, RePower has created 28 contractor jobs in Kitsap County — 43 percent of the goal.

Bremerton, like many towns in the country, has been hit hard by the economic downturn. RePower (which currently has three initiatives in Bainbridge, Bremerton and Kitsap County) is a community-based effort helping create local jobs for contractors by offering in-home assessments and energy-efficiency improvements which increase the comfort, health and safety of local homes.

“The push to energy efficiency has created a lot of work that wasn’t there for me as just a remodeling contractor... It’s really helped my company be able to provide living wage jobs to seven individuals that weren’t there before.” - Matthew Stefnik, Matthews Energy Services

The Underlying Problem: Although newer Kitsap County homes built during the mid-1980s through the early 2000s may be more energy efficient than earlier built homes, many may still present opportunities for homeowners to increase their health, comfort and safety while reducing energy use and costs. These inefficiencies create a sizeable opportunity for homeowners to improve the comfort of their homes and reduce energy bills.

Stimulating the Economy: Contractors, such as Mark Timmerman and Matthew Stefnik who are featured in the video, feel RePower’s economic impact in Bremerton and throughout the county.  The increased demand for residential energy-efficiency services allows contractors to hire more employees and increase overall revenue in the industry. In fact, RePower has created 28 contractor jobs in Kitsap County—43 percent of the goal.

The Carbon Math:  RePower has set impressive combined goals of completing over 5,000 in-home energy assessments and upgrading more than 3,500 homes in Kitsap County. So far, RePower  trade allies have facilitated over 400 home energy upgrades county-wide.

Federal Funding: In July 2010, the Cities of Bremerton and Bainbridge Island received a BetterBuildings award from U.S. Department of Energy. Bremerton and Bainbridge were two of 20 communities selected in the nation to receive funding for energy efficiency. With this award, the City and key partners have come together to implement RePower Bremerton. RePower Bremerton launched in September 2011, using the model that Bainbridge Island, WA developed with their RePower Bainbridge program.

RePower Kitsap is funded by two separate grants. In December 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded a grant to Kitsap County and in October 2010, Washington State University’s Energy Program and the Department of Commerce were awarded a BetterBuildings grant, also from the U.S. Department of Energy. These grants are funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the State Energy Program (SEP). With these grants, the County and key partners have come together to implement RePower Kitsap.

Key Players:

Air Master's Inc - featured in video: Mark Timmerman

Air Masters Inc. is locally owned and operated by Steve & Susan Krecker, and Mark & Rosemarie Timmerman, serving Kitsap, Mason, Pierce and Jefferson counties, specializing in homeowner comfort and reliability for over 30 years. They take pride in quality workmanship and customer service which is our #1 goal. They bring to you a wealth of experience with professionalism and courtesy, that customers both demand and deserve with prompt professional heating and cooling service.

RePower - featured in video: Hilary Franz, Rick Blumenthal

RePower is a community-wide program dedicated to helping homeowners save energy, reduce costs, make their home more comfortable and more sustainable future. RePower provides in-home energy assessments, energy-efficiency financing and incentives, and a local, skilled workforce to make achieving these goals easier and more affordable.

Matthews Energy Services - featured in video: Matthew Stefnik

As a Certified BPI Building Analyst, Matthews General Contracting finds the sources and causes of residential energy waste, and incorporates state-of-the-art energy saving measures into the design of new homes or additions.

Kitsap County Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) - featured in Video: John Powers

KEDA is a private nonprofit corporation with a goal to attract and retain jobs and investments in the community that generate wealth, enhances the quality of life and embraces future generations.

Author Bio

Bobby is former Solutions Stories and Media Manager with Climate Solutions. In that role, he worked to identify and engage new audiences for our programs and campaigns throughout the Northwest, with a focus on the Solutions Stories.

Bobby spent six years as the National Representative at the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition (SOS), mobilizing support to restore the Columbia-Snake River Basin, a watershed home to some of the world’s best habitat for wild salmon and steelhead in a changing climate.

After receiving his degree in Political Science from the University of Oregon in 2003, he advocated on behalf of working people and the environment. In addition to SOS, Bobby has worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU Local 503) and America Coming Together, and volunteered for the Trout Unlimited, Elders in Action, and UNITE HERE.

Bobby hails from central Pennsylvania and has lived in Oregon since 1998. When he's not working, Bobby can be found with his partner Jenny and their cat Jove, playing music with friends, out and about on his bike, or working in the garden.

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