Want help evaluating your home’s energy usage? Home Retrofit Clinics are offered by Nancy Evenson, one of our volunteers who is a retired architect. She helps homeowners evaluate their existing home energy usage and establish a path forward to improve sustainability.
To sign up for the next clinic or for more information, contact Nancy Evenson.
The most effective steps to retrofit an older home:
- Conserve energy with thermal barriers under deep insulation
- Upgrade windows (including storm windows), seal leaks in envelope
- Install heat pumps to heat/cool, to heat water, and to dry clothes
- Install solar PV panels or other renewable energy source
- Install other energy efficient appliances such as an induction cooktop
What is Sustainable Housing?
The ultimate in sustainable homes produce more renewable energy than they consume, harvest water from rain, recycle all wastes, and build with nontoxic, locally sourced materials. Even if we do not accomplish this high standard, we encourage homeowners to electrify and conserve energy for increased comfort and savings.
Why is Sustainable Housing Important?
Sustainable homes help save the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Existing buildings operated with fossil fuels generate at least a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the USA. Newer technologies, like heat pumps, offer solutions. Sustainable homes also save occupants money and are more comfortable.
Heating buildings and water with fossil fuels is rapidly heating our planet. Currently, Oregon’s existing buildings contribute at least a third of our state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Even if we improve building codes, without retrofits most of today’s buildings will still emit greenhouse gases in 2050. Optimum insulation and electrification of existing buildings–powered by renewable energy like solar or wind– would significantly slow the rate our planet’s warming. (OR Global Warming Commission 2020.) Further, as our planet warms, we will face water shortages so buildings that harvest rain and reuse gray water will be increasingly desirable.
A list of valuable sustainable housing resources can be found here.