Electric Outage: 1-844-484-2300
Water Emergency: 541-685-7595
EWEB Main: 541-685-7000
Redevelopment efforts for Eugene’s downtown riverfront jumped forward on April 17 when the City completed the purchase of 16 acres of property formerly used as EWEB’s operations yard.Find Out More
The University of Oregon, Eugene Water & Electric Board and City of Eugene are partnering with local auto dealers to bring the benefits of electric vehicles to more households.Find Out More
Five Eugene organizations have made the final cut for consideration for 2018 Greenpower Grants worth up to $50,000 each to fund high-impact projects that increase the use of renewable energy sources, the adoption of emerging technologies, or reduce/offset our community’s carbon footprint.Find Out More
We are partnering this week with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies to study methods to preserve young Pacific and brook lamprey during lake and reservoir drawdowns.Find Out More
In late 2017, EWEB had the opportunity to work with SquareOne Villages on cost-saving measures for their tiny homes project, Emerald Village Eugene. Supporting vulnerable members of our community is a priority for EWEB.Find Out More
Supporting vulnerable members of our community with conservation and efficiency programs is a priority for EWEB, which is why we are once again helping tenants and rental owners lower monthly utility bills through the Home Energy Score program.Find Out More
If your home is burning fossil fuels such as natural gas or oil, we have programs to help you upgrade to clean, efficient electricity.Find Out More
For many people, this is the highest energy consumption time of the year. We’ve got some low and no-cost tips to keep the bills down.Find Out More
Our Customer Care programs help thousands of community members who find themeselves in times of hardship, but the need is much greater that what we are able to handle. While we recieve Customer Care donations year-round, in December we highlight the "Share the Warmth" program and celebrate the generosity of neighbors helping neighbors.Find Out More
The Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit will expire at the end of 2017. If you’re considering these energy-efficient upgrades, make your purchase before Dec. 31 to take advantage of the tax credit.Find Out More
The Eugene Water & Electric Board’s Run to Stay Warm, featuring a half-marathon, 10K, 5K and Kids’ 400-meter dash, is on Sunday, Nov. 19. All proceeds from the event will benefit limited-income customers who are struggling to pay their utility bills and stay warm through the winter months.Find Out More
Can you even begin to imagine a day without water? It isn’t just your personal use of water--brushing your teeth, flushing your toilet, or taking a shower. Water is also essential to public health and safety, as well as a functioning economy.Find Out More
Every fall wild Chinook salmon reach the Carmen-Smith spawning channel after a long journey from the ocean. A few hundred middle school students get the opportunity to witness the homecoming firsthand as a part of the Salmon Watch program.Find Out More
Public Power Week is a great opportunity to honor EWEB's 106 year history and look forward to how we will continue to power a strong community in the years ahead. Our recently adopted Strategic Plan highlights how we will continue to hold true to our core values as a public utility and make significant decisions involving the community's electric supply resources.Find Out More
With help from our Smart Growth Programs, the Eugene Country Club recently switched from a natural gas boiler to a clean, efficient electric heat pump system that will reduce the County Club’s HVAC carbon emissions by 95% and shave off thousands of dollars in annual operating expenses.Find Out More
Did you know that rental units comprise half of the available housing in Eugene? A 2017 study by the University of Oregon Business Consulting Group identified that more than 6,000 of those rentals are likely in need of energy upgrades. For this reason, our Customer Solutions team launched a new program this year to help tenants and property owners better understand the energy costs associated with their rentals, and to highlight savings opportunities from improvements such as duct sealing, insulation, and high efficiency heating systems.
For many of our customers, "affordability" is more than the cost per kilowatt hour for electricity. Energy efficiency plays an important role in how high an electric bill is. One way to measure efficiency is with a Home Energy Score (HES). Similar to the miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the U.S. Department of Energy's Home Energy Score communicates how efficient a home is based on its "envelope"—the ceilings, floors, walls and windows—as well as its heating, cooling and water heating systems. Tenants receive a Home Energy Score ranging from 1 to 10 after about an hour-long assessment by a state-certified home energy assessor. A score of 1 means the home would benefit from energy improvements, and a score of 10 means the home uses energy very efficiently. The report shows the home's current score, as well as the potential score after recommended upgrades. The report also shows estimated utility bill savings and carbon footprint reductions that could be achieved after investment in the energy-saving improvements.
In 2012 EWEB became a Home Energy Score Partner with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the first utility in Oregon to do so. Since then, the DOE program has steadily gained momentum nationwide. In 2016 the Portland City Council approved an ordinance that will require homeowners to get a Home Energy Score before they put their house up for sale.
EWEB has offered on-site energy audits for homes (both owner-occupied and rentals) and businesses for a number of years, but the new HES program is focused exclusively on rental housing during this launch period.
"We care about energy efficiency because it helps our customers manage their bills and make them more affordable," says Matt Lutter, a specialist in our Customer Solutions department. "The program focuses on rental housing because many rentals are inefficient and costly to live in, and there are often significant barriers to making efficiency improvements in these homes."
One barrier is what is known as "split incentives." Property owners don't make efficiency investments because the renters pay the energy bills, and renters don't make investments in property they don't own.
"When rental owners see the Home Energy Score report, we hope they will be more likely to invest in the efficiency upgrades that will make their rentals more comfortable and affordable, even if they are not paying the utility bills," says Matt.
A Home Energy Score has other benefits for both landlords and tenants. Property owners who are looking for a competitive advantage can use the Home Energy Score to "market" their units to prospective tenants. Renters can compare the efficiency and costs of various units before signing a lease. The expectation is that, over time, this kind of transparency makes energy-efficient rental housing the sought-after standard for both owners and tenants.
A sample Home Energy Score report.
To get the program off the ground, we partnered with the University of Oregon's Department of Sustainability and the City of Eugene. In late 2016, EWEB trained nine interns from UO to become state-approved Home Energy Assessors. The City of Eugene paid the interns' wages, making this a cost-effective effort for EWEB. The City considers energy score adoption to be a high-priority action for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (as outlined in their Climate and Energy Action Plan), so the partnership supports that action as well.
The partnerships make the program a potential win for customers, students, EWEB, and the planet.
"In order for the program to be a success, it has been important that the students learn some core skills so they are able to safely and accurately collect the necessary data while they are in tenants' homes," says Matt. "These skills will also be valuable to the students as they seek employment in the building industry, both locally and abroad, since all buildings use energy and many of the concepts apply to a variety of building types."
Interns worked in pairs, inspecting various access points such as the attic and crawl spaces, hot water heater, and windows.
"It's been interesting to learn about different ceiling construction types and how that actually plays into the efficiency of a home," said intern Janet Haselden. "And thinking about how to make spaces more efficient by not having huge windows; the design really matters in a home."
Home Energy Assessors also have learned how to "think on their feet" and communicate their knowledge to the tenants. "Being knowledgeable and able to meet the customer's expectations is important because they trust EWEB," intern Jenefer Heredia said.
Janet and Jenefer are third and fourth-year architecture students who jumped on the opportunity to work for EWEB. "One of the appealing things to me was the fact that we would become certified [with the Construction Contractors Board], and that looks really great on a resume," Janet said.
Since the program launched in January, the interns have completed 215 home assessments, averaging about 10-15 per week. Many homes have received poor scores. After the UO spring term ends, Matt says we will evaluate the program and determine next steps, which could include things like publishing Home Energy scores to help tenants shop for affordable housing, refining and continuing the program into the fall, offering Home Energy Scores for multifamily housing, and adjusting the program delivery to better motivate owners to take action.
Matt has seen some property owners take action as a result of the Home Energy Score program, and is looking forward to seeing more. "The program attempts to deliver affordability to the renters who need it by helping the owners with needed energy upgrades," he says. "The owners see improved tenant retention while tenants save money and enjoy better living conditions. Some rentals also have had fossil fuel equipment replaced with efficient heat pumps, which helps reduce carbon pollution. We hope to prove that the program benefits rental property owners, their tenants, and the environment."
If you have questions about the Home Energy Score program, please contact us at email@example.com.
500 East Fourth Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401
9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.