Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oregon Clean Energy Works (Part II)

This week, I went through the Oregon Clean Energy Works (CEWO) program. I've wrote about the Clean Energy Works Oregon program in an earlier post, entitled Only the Worst Need Apply.

In it, I described how the program works. In a nutshell, it's a program that targets older homes in Oregon that are drafty or not well insulated and offers financial perks for homeowners to get their homes energy audited and weatherized. 

I am VERY impressed by the way that this program is funded and run. But, I wanted to reserve judgment on the program overall until I had been through it. Now that I have been through it, I want to give a strong endorsement to the program.

CEWO doles rebates for weatherization work based on how much modeled energy improvement a house undergoes in their program. Since the house had no insulation and leaked like a sieve, making major energy improvements to the house were relatively simple to achieve. The improvements were relatively cheap and resulted in substantial energy reductions. CEWO bases rebates on the level of weatherization improvements, and because my house was so leaky, I'll receive the full CEWO rebates (In the last month, CEWO has lowered the rebate amounts, so the rebates aren't as enticing as they had been.)

My monthly loan repayment for the weatherization work will be $30/month. In my case, since the energy bills are approximately $100/month, my anticipated 30% reduction will amount to $30/month. The loan repayment will be reduced by the same amount that is saved by the energy bills each month. So, essentially, for no upfront cost, my home was weatherized. After the duration of the loan repayment, the loan will be repaid, and the house tenants will benefit from the decreased energy bills forever more. The other advantage to weatherization is comfort; the house already feels less drafty.

For the energy geeks out there, the blower door test after CEWO brought the home's air sealing from 7,731 to 4,476 cubic feet per minute at 50 pascals of air pressure, a reduction in leaks of 3,288 cubic feet per minute, or from 21 ACH to 12.2 ACH at 50 pascals. This is a huge improvement in terms of air sealing. The R-value in the wall assembly went from R-2 to R-11, the roof went from R-15 to R-49, and the basement perimeter rim joist went from R-1 to R-15.

Here's a video of the blower door test:

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