Four households in Oregon are getting a welcome object lesson in the benefits of energy audits and retrofits.
The Energy Trust of Oregon, whose mission is to promote energy conservation among the state’s commercial and residential utility customers, teamed up with a number of home-energy services and vendors to co-sponsor the Home Energy Makeover Contest, in which each of four homeowners were selected to receive $25,000 worth of energy-efficiency improvements.
The winning households – located in Bend, in central Oregon, and the western Oregon towns of Medford, Salem, and Portland – were chosen from among more than 6,000 entries submitted before May 5, when the contest closed. Energy Trust said it interviewed 40 semi-finalists and evaluated the homes of 20 finalists before announcing the winners last month.
The organization added that it considered energy usage per square foot, potential to demonstrate whole-house energy savings through Home Performance with ENERGY STAR improvements, as well as home size and age, and number of occupants.
Tracking the makeovers
The promotional aspect of the contest has only just begun, however. Energy Trust will follow the progress of the makeovers planned for each home and, throughout the summer, report on the homes’ – and their occupants’ – performance as energy users.
In Bend, for example, contest winners Tracey and Alex Valley, who have lived in their 1,704-sq.-ft. home for more than 22 years, will preside over a makeover that includes installations of wall and ceiling insulation and a high-efficiency gas furnace and a gas water heater. All ductwork will be sealed, and high-efficiency windows will replace the originals. A similar makeover will be applied to Stephanie and Justyn Baker’s 84-year-old 1,339-sq.-ft. home in Portland.
Meanwhile, makeover winner Jodi Parker’s 1,716-sq.-ft. three-bedroom in Medford (which she shares with her four children), and Kelly and Tina Cruikshank’s 1,446-sq.-ft. house, circa 1960, will each get a high-efficiency electric heat pump, an efficient electric water heater, air sealing (and, in Parker’s home, duct sealing), and energy-efficient windows.
Once the upgrades are made, Energy Trust says, all four households can expect to see their energy costs drop by as much as 50%.
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