Successful Efficiency Projects

Some energy efficiency upgrades require a significant financial investment. We want you to get the most for the dollars you spend, so we have put together these suggestions to help you succeed at improving the efficiency of your home without breaking the bank.

Get Expert Help

  • Energy Audit, Air Duct TestingDetermining which energy efficiency improvements will have the greatest impact on your comfort and energy bills can be confusing.
  • If you heat your home with electricity, our Energy Experts will conduct a free in-home energy evaluation to identify potential energy savings opportunities. You must be present for the evaluation, which takes about 90 minutes to complete.
  • At the end of the evaluation, you’ll receive a customized list of recommended efficiency improvements and information about PUD rebates and state or federal tax credits that may be available.

Get More Than One Bid

For major projects such as window replacements, insulation upgrades, or heating system changes, get more than one bid. Our Energy Experts have lists of local dealers and licensed contractors to make getting a second or third quote easy. While we can’t tell you what your project should cost, we can provide average costs for similar projects completed by our customers.

Get Written, Itemized Estimates

When comparing proposals from multiple contractors, be sure to compare cost, energy efficiency ratings, warranties, and servicing of your equipment. The lowest price may not be the best deal.

Beware of the Aggressive Door to Door Salesman

Home ImprovementSome door-to-door salespeople are aggressive in trying to close the sale. If a salesperson says the price is only good for one day, pressures you into signing a contract immediately, or advises you against getting a second quote, don’t feel pressured to make a deal with him. There are many other contractors who will give you time to make a considered decision.

Ask For Referrals and Check References

  • Ask your friends, neighbors and co-workers for contractor referrals. Ask the contractors who give you quotes to provide references, and call them.
  • Visit http://search.ccb.state.or.us/search/ or call the Oregon Construction Contractors Board at (503) 378-4621 to ensure a contractor’s license is active.

Put Your Money Where it Will Do the Most Good

Our Energy Experts can help you choose the projects that will provide the greatest amount of energy savings for the dollars you spend. For example, if your house has no under floor insulation or attic insulation, and you decide to upgrade your windows, spending thousands of extra dollars to buy top of the line, triple-paned, ultra-high efficiency windows may not result in the most energy savings.

You may gain greater comfort and efficiency by upgrading to a good quality, double-paned ENERGY STAR® qualified vinyl window and also adding attic and floor insulation. Our Energy Experts can help guide you through decisions like this.

Check Insulation Levels First

Measuring Attic Insulation
Measuring insulation in the attic. How much insulation is in your attic?

Adding insulation doesn’t have the “wow” factor that new windows or an ugpraded heating system might bring, but often it is the best investment you can make. Having enough insulation really does make a difference in your heating and cooling bills.

Make Sure the Contract Meets Rebate Requirements

Our rebate programs have specific requirements. To ensure your project qualifies for the rebate without you having to spend additional funds to correct work done by a contractor, the contract you sign should specify that, “The project will meet requirements for Columbia River PUD’s rebate program.”

Communicate With Your Contractor About Permits

Many energy efficiency projects require a building or an electrical permit. Ask your contractor whether he will obtain permits and schedule final inspections, or whether you will need to.

A Word About Lead Based Paint

If your home was built before 1978, there are rules you must follow regarding lead-based paint. Visit http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovaterightbrochure.pdf for details.