Chair Kafoury was joined by a panel of expert speakers from the community, including Sherrie Pelsma from the Community Energy Project, Eron Riddle from NAYA, David Heslam from Earth Advantage, and Michael Colgrove from the Energy Trust of Oregon. Panelists shared their experiences and insights on the benefits energy efficiency can have within our community, and specifically focused on what is and is not working, as well as how we can work together to ensure that energy efficiency programs better serve the most vulnerable members in Multnomah County.
In Oregon, energy efficiency has long been recognized as the most cost-effective energy resource available. As a result, huge investments in energy efficiency have been made within the state and has positively impacted the economy, including low utility rates as a result of the avoided cost of building additional power plants. The benefits of energy efficiency, however, have not been evenly distributed as many low-income Oregonians continue to pay a much larger share of their income in utility bills and are more likely to live in inefficient homes. “We all depend on energy to heat our homes and move us around,” said Chair Kafoury, “but for some, the costs of energy are seldom considered, while others are faced with a choice of heating their home or putting food on the table.”
The speakers touched on strategies that are addressing this gap, including critical home repair programs coupled with weatherization, better building standards, low-to-no-cost interventions for multi-family housing, and improved incentive structures to reach more families.
The presentations can be downloaded below, and a video synopsis of the event is forthcoming.