Clients fight climate change in Oregon


“Future risks from climate change depend primarily on decisions made today.”

- Fourth National Climate Assessment

Two weeks ago, thirteen federal agencies put out a report with the most direct warnings to-date about the consequences of climate change in the United States. One of the key findings - Unless we significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to changing climate conditions, the damage will reduce the American economy by as much as ten percent by century’s end.

The report got us thinking: How are our clients reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting themselves from, for example, more extreme heat waves and wildfire smoke in Oregon? We started by running the numbers. In the last twelve months, clients completed projects saving an impressive 488 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. If that number strikes you as a bit abstract, consider a few examples to make it more meaningful.

saving 488 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions is equal to:

Making 53 homes net-zero. The energy savings that our clients achieved would completely offset the gas and electricity usage of 53 average homes for a year. The savings would offset the electricity needed to power 73 homes for year.

Driving 1,196,587 fewer miles in an average passenger car. Another way to think about it - You could save 488 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by taking 105 average cars off the road for a year, saving 54,935 gallons of gasoline.

Planting 12,652 tree seedlings and letting them grow for ten years. The savings would also be equal to the carbon sequestered by 575 acres of U.S. forest in one year, or four acres of U.S. forests preserved from conversion to cropland in one year.

Source: U.S. EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator

It’s important to take heart from the successes and know that together we’re doing something with a positive impact for years to come. What’s more, the impact is getting bigger every year. We saw a 36.7% jump in total energy savings from client projects in the last twelve months compared to the previous twelve months, when clients saved 357 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

What’s driving the increased energy savings?

There’s a lot to say here, but two things top the list. First, more clients are working with us. This year, we saw increases in the number of new clients, previous clients coming back for new projects, and client referrals to friends and family members who need our help. More clients mean more energy savings.

Second, clients are investing in more energy efficient technologies. High efficiency heat pump systems offer one of the best examples. In 2018, clients chose to install 34% more heat pump systems compared to 2017, replacing traditional heating and cooling systems in their homes. Heat pumps save 50% on energy bills compared standard systems while delivering the same level of space conditioning (Source: U.S. DOE).

How clients are adapting to new climate conditions in oregon

Oregon’s climate is getting hotter and drier. That means more heat waves and wildfires moving forward. In most parts of Oregon, the temperature has increased by about two degrees Fahrenheit over the past century. The trend appears to be accelerating. By the end of the century, the average area burned by forest fires is expected to double from 4% to 8% of the land in Oregon burned per decade (Source: U.S. EPA).

So how are clients adapting? For one thing, we’re seeing greater emphasis on cooling and indoor air quality, especially in the summer and early fall. The ductless heat pump stands out as a client favorite for both efficient cooling and air filtration. When installing a ductless heat pump, we recommend going with the two stage catechin filter, which traps particulates as well as germs, bacteria, and viruses in the home.

We invite you to learn more about reducing wildfire smoke with your HVAC system. You’ll find an overview of options from no and low cost solutions to dedicated whole home air filtration systems. You may also want to read more about options for cooling your home. We give special attention to efficient cooling systems that help to save money on your energy bills and reduce emissions over time.

Bill Hoelzer