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BPS News: Portland's energy efficiency remodel program a win for homeowners and community

27 April 2011

Christine Llobregat
City of Portland
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Lee Collinge


Portland's energy efficiency remodel program a win for homeowners and community

Program founded by Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability applauded by state leaders for creating jobs 

Portland, ORE. -- State leaders including Gov. John Kitzhaber, Representatives Jules Bailey (D-Portland), Tobias Read (D-Beaverton) and Tim Freeman (R-Roseburg), gathered this week at Oregon's capitol to celebrate the successful statewide launch of Clean Energy Works Oregon, a newly formed nonprofit focused on home energy efficiency upgrades, job creation and energy savings. At the gathering, they took note of the early job creation successes of the program.

Currently, Clean Energy Works Oregon is available in the Portland Metro region and the Rogue Valley. Next month, the program will launch in the Klamath Basin. Additional communities, including Lane County, Hood River, Astoria, Bend and Pendleton, are expected to introduce the program this summer and fall.

"What began in Portland with a 500-home pilot is now expanding throughout the state," said Clean Energy Works Oregon CEO Derek Smith. "Already, with 500 projects completed and with more than 1,000 new applications in the past month, this program has created more than 100 jobs."

The three-year goal of the program is to generate 1,300 family-supporting jobs, complete 6,000 residential projects and generate significant energy savings across the state.

"Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability created the Clean Energy Works Portland pilot program. Their success paved the way for Clean Energy Works Oregon," said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. "We are grateful for the innovative collaboration from our many community partners, including Energy Trust of Oregon, Enterprise Cascadia, NW Natural, Pacific Power, PGE, Worksystems, Green for All and our host of stakeholders, including contractors, unions and community groups."

The Clean Energy Works Oregon program offers a bundled set of services that help homeowners assess their energy needs, connect with certified contractors and secure a low-interest loan to pay for the work.  As homeowners sign up for the program and receive financing from local financial institutions, the dollars flow to paychecks for workers who install new insulation, furnaces, heat pumps, hot water systems and windows, making homes more comfortable and energy efficient.

The state of Oregon has been innovative in helping Clean Energy Works Oregon get started and build a strong and effective program that will benefit communities and individuals throughout the state:  


  • In 2009 the state legislature passed the Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Technology Act (EEAST), which was created to make it easier for home and business owners to complete energy efficient and renewable energy projects and help put Oregonians to work. The act was sponsored by Representatives Bailey, Read and Freeman.
  • In April 2010,  the United States Department of Energy invested $20 million to expand energy efficiency job creation in state.  The legislature's overwhelming passage of the EEAST Act was a critical factor in the United States Department of Energy's decision.
  • On Jan. 25, 2011, the Oregon Public Utilities Commission approved implementation of energy efficiency pilot programs in alignment with EEAST.

In February, the Oregon Department of Energy granted $3.5 million in Oregon Lottery dollars to Clean Energy Works to offset project costs for program participants, making home energy efficiency more affordable.

"The vision for EEAST was to create jobs across Oregon by bringing private investment to energy efficiency," said Rep. Bailey. "Clean Energy Works is turning this vision into reality."

"Clean Energy Works Oregon has shown the kind of leadership that continues to make Oregon a leader:  bringing together a multitude of public and private stakeholders to achieve enormous return on investment, saving money on energy costs and lowering environmental impacts," said Gov. John Kitzhaber.  

"We are hiring," said Tom Kelly, CEO of Neil Kelly Company, the largest remodeler in Oregon, with offices in Portland, Lake Oswego, Eugene and Bend. "Our Home Performance division, which provides energy efficiency remodels for homeowners, is the fastest growing area of our business. In the past month it's grown from seven to 17 employees. As Clean Energy Works ramps up across the state, we expect to continue to grow with it."

SOFCU Community Credit Union is lending to support Clean Energy Works in Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake counties. "We're thrilled to make loans available for energy efficiency remodels," said Lorene Haigler, SOFCU Vice President of Lending. "Our private investment enables public resources to go farther."

"It is important to remember that policy creates real results," Said Rep. Freeman. "Job creation is a bi-partisan issue. The EEAST initiative is really a very clear example of how collaboration can bring about great ideas, positive programs, and real job creation for Oregonians."   

About Clean Energy Works Oregon

Formed in 2010 following the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability's innovative Clean Energy Works Portland pilot, Clean Energy Works Oregon is a nonprofit organization committed to positive social change by reducing the state's environmental impact and creating new, family-supporting jobs. For homeowners seeking a simplified and streamlined way of improving their homes' energy efficiency, Clean Energy Works Oregon offers an all-in-one solution by bundling multiple upgrades, pre-certifying contractors, and arranging low-interest financing and easy repayment. By weaving issues of sustainability, access to capital and the creation of family-sustaining jobs, Clean Energy Works Oregon is a model for new partnerships among public, private and nonprofit interests. For more information or to apply for the program, visit


About the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

To create and enhance a vibrant city, BPS combines the disciplines of planning and sustainability to advance Portland's diverse and distinct neighborhoods, promote a prosperous and low-carbon economy, and help ensure that people and the natural environment are healthy and integrated into the cityscape. BPS provides a forum for community engagement and education, and is a catalyst for action. With a city full of partners, BPS develops creative and practical solutions on issues as far ranging as comprehensive, neighborhood and environmental planning, urban design, waste reduction and recycling, energy efficiency and solar technologies. This innovative, interdisciplinary approach strengthens Portland's position as an international model of sustainable development practices and commerce.