OEF Launches New Energy Retrofit Program for Local Nonprofits
Since the 30th anniversary of Oregon Energy Fund in 2019, we’ve been exploring new possibilities to expand our impact in the community. We know that energy assistance is just one way to assist struggling Oregonians. Now, we’re thrilled to announce the culmination of that process: a brand-new project that will provide full energy retrofits to Oregon nonprofits.
This program, the Nonprofit Energy Retrofit Collaboration (NERC), is a collaborative effort between OEF and the Oregon chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC). Together, OEF and NAMC will team up with a local nonprofit that provides housing or shelter for their clients, weatherizing their properties and upgrading them to energy efficient standards.
NERC will be funded entirely by corporate sponsorship, allowing us to develop new ways of helping our neighbors while still allowing our legacy energy assistance program to operate at full capacity.
Our first nonprofit partner will be Albertina Kerr, which serves low-income people with disabilities throughout Clackamas, Marion, Multnomah, and Washington Counties. Kerr’s facilities include 54 group homes for youth and adults, which house more than 500 people with a variety of physical and mental health challenges and are unable to work or live independently.
Many of these buildings are older, however, and would benefit from construction upgrades that Kerr cannot afford on its own. As such, OEF and NAMC will perform the updates, helping Kerr lower its energy costs and increasing the overall health and quality of life for its group home residents.
While construction will vary from building to building, some upgrades will include sealing cracks and leaks, replacing insulation, repairing or replacing roofs, updating water heaters and HVAC systems, and replacing older appliances with new, more efficient models.
Retrofits like these provide an array of benefits. They reduce energy costs and lower overall emissions. They improve the health of the building’s residents by improving indoor air quality and stabilizing the home’s temperature – a crucial point as Oregon experiences increasingly extreme temperatures and weather events. Finally, they provide a sustainable solution to energy insecurity, allowing residents to enjoy the comforts and health benefits of household energy for years to come.
We’re delighted to expand our programming in this way, and look forward to assisting nonprofits across the state in the coming years. And you can help us continue assisting our neighbors in need by donating to our energy assistance program today.