Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Progress In Residential Weatherization?

The 2000 Census reported 911,595 detached single family residences in Oregon. In how many of these, do you think $500 of smart weatherization would be repaid by savings in less than five years? In my experience, it would be at least half. Call it 400,000 homes. Investments of $1000 or $2000 might likewise find five year payback in nearly as many homes. This is the really low hanging fruit, little picked, left to rot in energy waste of ruin to us all. Weatherization measures with payback in under sixteen years, 6% rate of return, surpass most savings-income opportunities and, too are targeted in weatherization programs. Homes in Oregon needing such work may approach 90% of the pool, say 750,000 homes.

How are we doing in accomplishing this work? Here are numbers reported by my weatherization sponsor, Energy Trust Of Oregon, ETO. 

At 1/18/2015, belatedly note great error in this table. 
The correction was mentioned in a subsequent post of 3/19/2014,
Counts are of measures completed, not number of homes served! The note continues at end of this post.

The table is drawn from my PDF summary with cited references, Reports Residential Weatherization Oregon . It includes only jobs submitted for offered rebates, and only those homes heated by Metro Portland gas and electric utilities. It includes a random scatter of measure rates of return. Statewide and including homes which have oil or wood heat, say totals are times two.The sum of treatments over four years is then 77,000 homes. At this pace we would catch up on lowest-fruit weatherization in another twenty years, if not distracted by harder picking. We need to double the pace of weatherization just to return to that proven achievable after the sky fell in 2008. At present pace times fifty, we could catch up on lowest-fruit weatherization in two years. We could have some remarkable achievements in five years, just as evil fracked fuel must disappear. If we can raise the commitment, this can be done. It must be done. How do we raise the commitment? Come to our senses and ban fracking, now.

At 1/18/2015, belatedly address error in the above table, reported in the 3/19/2014 post:

I had thought the pitiful achievement was of houses weatherized. In fact, numbers are annual totals for all measures completed. The number of houses treated in any year, is about one fourth of the table number, currently about 2000 homes per year. The biggest measure count is in replacement windows. With windows, on average there is probably one more measure for a house in that year. The same houses of diligence might pepper the list over several years where budgeted from available cash.

Know that the pitiful numbers do not appear in glowing annual self-reports by Energy Trust, to Oregon Public Utilities Commission. Look at any report. Here is a link to the report for 2012 . A PDF search of "homes served" finds no instances. There are no such numbers. This is conscious and ugly deception. 

Absent productive residential weatherization, there can be no happiness with the $180 million per year taken by Energy Trust, from the Public Purpose Fund. If only $5 million per year is credited to fruitful management of existing home weatherization, that is $25,000 per home. This is shameful. That it is known and tolerated by regulators, is yet more shameful. What might we say about the other $175 million?

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