The goal of Clean Energy Works Portland is to ultimately retrofit 100,000 homes and create about 10,000 jobs. At a time when the construction industry is laying off employees, energy weatherization and retrofitting companies are hiring workers. All of this will be possible thanks to a partnership between the Portland city government, the labor movement, civil rights organizations, faith groups and nonprofits.
Although the overall program plan is to retrofit 100,000 homes, the pilot program will provide for energy efficiency upgrades on up to 500 homes in the Portland, Ore., area. During the pilot, the program is focusing on insulation, air and duct sealing, furnaces, heat pumps, and hot water heater upgrades. Once the program is out of the pilot stage, other energy efficiency upgrades will be available including new windows and solar photovoltaics.
This is a win-win situation for those involved in the project. The homeowners will be able to increase their property’s energy efficiency, thus saving money on their utility bills. These upgrades also add value to the property.
In addition to the benefits to the homeowners, the community will gain from the program through the increase in available jobs. These jobs will help under and unemployed citizens, minorities, young adults, and other groups that are seeing higher than average unemployment rates gain employment. These weatherization experts won’t just be hired for a green job; they will begin their green career.