When Jackie Kohon and Jun Suzuki bought their Portland home in 2007, they ordered a free Energy Saver Kit from Energy Trust. The energy-saving light bulbs and showerhead that came in the kit were just the beginning of a journey to make their home more comfortable and energy efficient.
After the first winter in their home, which was built in 1940, they realized that energy-efficiency upgrades could offer more than just energy and cost savings. Jackie often works from home, but in the winter months she had to bundle up. “I’d be at my desk in a sweater, jacket and hat, trying to stay warm,” Jackie said. “It was drafty and cold and our energy bills were high. We knew we needed insulation.”
The couple, customers of PGE and NW Natural, scheduled an in-home energy review and walked through their home with an Energy Trust advisor. “We learned a lot about little upgrades to save energy and make the house feel warmer and cozier,” Jackie said.
With the recommendations from the Home Energy Review and help from Energy Trust incentives, Jackie and Jun made energy-saving changes gradually over time. They started with attic insulation and later had insulation blown into the walls.
“The wall insulation made a really big difference,” Jackie notes. “Now I almost never have to wear a jacket when I’m working! With each upgrade we made, we saw a change in our bills.”
In addition to adding insulation, Jackie and Jun installed compact fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs in every light fixture, purchased an energy-efficient clothes washer, dishwasher and refrigerator, upgraded to a ductless heat pump in their remodeled basement and installed a tankless gas water heater.
They’re happy with the results. Besides enjoying lower energy bills and improved comfort, they’ve learned that their home’s energy use is one of the lowest in the neighborhood. Bi-monthly personal energy reports, which they received through their utilities and Energy Trust, show how their energy consumption compares to neighbors and provide tips on ways to save even more.
While Jackie and Jun have tackled nearly every energy-saving project on their list, a few air leaks remain. Once they’ve sealed around doors and a few other places in the house, they’ll be bundled up and ready for whatever the next winter brings.