Posts Tagged ‘Weatherization’

December 21, 2013 · by pcriadmin · Featured, PCRI

PCRI believes that low-income families should not be forced to choose between keeping their homes warm and putting healthy food on their table.  To help low-income families stay warm and have money left for other essentials, a partnership of Portland businesses will soon begin a pilot weatherization program at ten of PCRI’s single-family homes in North and Northeast Portland.

HELP installers discuss a home's weatherization measures.

HELP installers discuss a home’s weatherization measures.

The pilot, a collaboration between Portland non-profits PCRI and Verde, will be funded by NW Natural.  It provides energy-saving weatherization improvements like air sealing and insulation to low-income households without challenges like waiting lists and up-front costs that accompany many existing weatherization programs.

“This pilot is a great opportunity to more efficiently provide utility cost savings to families who need it most,” said Travis Phillips, Housing Development Manager at PCRI.  “We’re eager to see and expand on the pilot’s success so these and other families can spend their hard-earned salaries on school books and healthy food instead of keeping their home warm

PCRI and Verde are also using the pilot to provide economic opportunity to low-income families and communities of color.  The two non-profits engaged Home Energy Life Performance Group (H.E.L.P.), a minority- and woman-owned business who has already weatherized and reduced energy consumption for over 800 Oregon homes, to perform the weatherization improvements.  The project is expected to create 340 work hours in its pilot phase, with additional opportunity in future phases.

“Along with helping Oregon families to live in warmer, healthier homes, partnerships like this mean we can grow skilled-labor jobs, while generating additional opportunities for multiple local business providers,” said Berenice Lopez, President of Home Energy Life Performance Group.

Beyond measures like air sealing and insulation, the pilot includes an education program, funded by a grant from a private foundation, helping residents understand the work being performed and how household habits affect their energy bills, comfort and healthy indoor environments.

“NW Natural is excited to fund and partner on this innovative program,” said Bill Edmonds, NW Natural director of environmental management and sustainability. “Even though gas prices are as low as they were in 2004, that doesn’t make drafts any warmer. We think it’s important to reach as many households as possible with education and services about energy efficiency.”

The pilot phase of the project is expected to be complete in early 2014.  Following a successful pilot, PCRI and Verde aim to replicate the program elsewhere in PCRI’s affordable housing portfolio, for seniors in PCRI’s Homeownership Retention program, and with other organizations serving low-income Oregon residents.

Want to learn more? Contact Travis Phillips at PCRI and read about our partners below:

ABOUT VERDE:  Verde serves communities by building environmental wealth through social enterprise, outreach and advocacy.  Verde establishes social enterprises to employ and train low-income adult community members, create contracting opportunities for minority-owned and women-owned businesses, and bring environmental assets to low-income neighborhoods. www.verdenw.org

ABOUT H.E.L.P.: Born out of a desire to build an organization that combined green job values with assistance to homeowners, Home Energy Life Performance Group, Inc. (H.E.L.P.) has been a driving force in Oregon’s home performance industry and is committed to helping make warmer and healthier homes accessible to all Oregonians.  The company’s trained and certified staff perform all aspects of weatherization using building science practices. www.helppdx.com

ABOUT NW Natural: NW Natural (NYSE:NWN) is headquartered in Portland, Ore., and provides natural gas service to about 689,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is the largest independent natural gas utility in the Pacific Northwest.  Additional information is available at www.nwnatural.com.

March 7, 2012 · by pcriadmin · Featured, PCRI

Last weekend, PCRI and Cascadia Green Building Council’s Emerging Professionals organized a hands-on volunteer home improvement project in one of PCRI’s affordable rental homes.  The volunteers teamed up with Green Hammer Construction in mid-February to observe and participate in Green Hammer’s Home Performance assessment process, conducting weatherization testing, inspecting insulation and verifying safe operation of combustion appliances, like the furnace.

Armed with information gained from the testing, the crowd of nearly two dozen volunteers (pictured at right), led by PCRI, Emerging Professionals and Andrew Morphis of Green Hammer Construction, tackled projects to make the home healthier, more comfortable and more efficient.  Existing carpet was removed to expose wood floors that were ready for refinishing.  Old kitchen cabinets were deconstructed to make way for new, more usable ones.  Windows that were previously painted shut were once again made operable for fresh-air ventilation.  Insulation was improved and volunteers slathered mastic on the heating ducts to ensure they operated as efficiently as possible.  All of the materials that volunteers removed were carefully sorted to enable recycling and keep as much as possible out of the landfill.

PCRI’s Executive Director, Maxine Fitzpatrick greeted the volunteers before they started on the project.  She thanked them for their service, adding that their volunteer efforts are priceless in supporting PCRI’s ability to provide below-market rate rental homes to residents who rely on these opportunities to stabilize their lives and return to self-sufficiency.

In addition to the home improvement benefits realized by PCRI, volunteers utilized the day as an opportunity to learn more about efficiency, home performance testing and existing buildings.

“I think there were a lot of learning opportunities for energy efficiency projects as well as the real world variability of existing buildings and the challenges that they inherently represent,” said Emerging Professionals volunteer Jackie Kingen.

To reward the volunteers’ hard work, Parr Lumber rolled up to the work site with their BBQ trailer and grilled up a meal of burgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers (plus some chips and cookies for good measure!) to refuel the volunteers on the day of the event.

Click on any of the pictures below to view the full size image.

PCRI’s is a Community Partner with Cascadia Green Building Council and the International Living Future Institute for their upcoming Living Future 2012 Conference.  The conference, scheduled in May, will be the Northwest’s premier Green Building conference and expo.  More information about the conference can be found at the Cascadia GBC’s website.

February 11, 2012 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

PCRI and Cascadia Green Building Council’s Emerging Professionals are teaming up with Green Hammer Construction for a hands-on volunteer project on March 3, 2012.

Register now to participate!

Volunteers of all kinds are encouraged to participate – no green building knowledge is necessary!  For the project, Emerging Professionals and other volunteers (you need not be an Emerging Professionals member to join) will utilize information gained from pre-improvement testing performed in mid-February to implement upgrades and other refurbishments targeted to improve the efficiency, health and durability of the home.

Does the thought of all that volunteering make you hungry?  We’ve got you covered!  Parr Lumber is generously grilling up a BBQ lunch for volunteers on the day of the event.

Please note: registration is required for the volunteer event.  Important information (including the volunteer site) will be distributed to the list of registered participants.  Please contact Travis at PCRI if you have any issues with registration.

PCRI is pleased to announce our alliance as a Community Partner with Cascadia Green Building Council and the International Living Future Institute for their upcoming Living Future 2012unConference.  This volunteer project leads up to the May conference.  More information about the unConference can be found at the Cascadia GBC’s website.

February 11, 2012 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

PCRI and Cascadia Green Building Council’s Emerging Professionals are teaming up with Green Hammer Construction for a hands-on volunteer project on March 3, 2012.

Register now to participate!

Volunteers of all kinds are encouraged to participate – no green building knowledge is necessary!  For the project, Emerging Professionals and other volunteers (you need not be an Emerging Professionals member to join) will utilize information gained from pre-improvement testing performed in mid-February to implement upgrades and other refurbishments targeted to improve the efficiency, health and durability of the home.

Does the thought of all that volunteering make you hungry?  We’ve got you covered!  Parr Lumber is generously grilling up a BBQ lunch for volunteers on the day of the event.

Please note: registration is required for the volunteer event.  Important information (including the volunteer site) will be distributed to the list of registered participants.  Please contact Travis at PCRI if you have any issues with registration.

PCRI is pleased to announce our alliance as a Community Partner with Cascadia Green Building Council and the International Living Future Institute for their upcoming Living Future 2012unConference.  This volunteer project leads up to the May conference.  More information about the unConference can be found at the Cascadia GBC’s website.

July 8, 2011 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

Updated 8/1/2011: PCRI extends an open request for proposals for rehabilitation of 11 PCRI-owned scattered-site single family affordable rental homes in Portland.

PCRI will host a pre-bid conference to meet prospective contractors, provide information about PCRI as well as share information and answer questions regarding the rehabilitation projects and specifications as well as PCRI’s goals for the rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation funding will be provided by Portland Housing Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  PHB representatives will be present at the conference to share information and answer questions about contractor requirements and required project reporting.

WHEN:     Friday, August 12, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. (please note new date!)

WHERE:  Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (OAME)

4134 N Vancouver Avenue, Portland, Oregon

Interested contractors MUST attend this pre-bid conference.  Contractors should also complete PCRI’s Contractor Qualification forms prior to inspecting properties and submitting proposals.  Forms will be available at the meeting or may be requested by calling PCRI at (503) 288-2923 or emailing travis@pcrihome.org.

The homes to be rehabilitated are located in North, Northeast and Southeast Portland.  Rehabilitations vary by property and may include interior renovations, interior and exterior painting, roof repair and/or replacement, cabinetry and fixture replacement, electrical and plumbing upgrades, foundation upgrades and repairs, floor refinishing and/or installation.  Projects will involve coordination with lead-based paint removal and weatherization upgrades.

UPDATE 8/1/2011: Proposals will be due by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 29, 2011 and may be submitted in person, electronically (email), or by fax.  Bids will be opened at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 followed by PCRI review and (as needed) clarification.  Successful bids will be awarded by end of day on September 9, 2011.

PCRI representatives will be present to meet contractors at pre-set times at each site on Monday, August 15 and Tuesday August 16.  The meeting schedule and site addresses will be available at the pre-bid conference noted above.

February 1, 2010 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

Partnering with Multnomah County’s Weatherization Assistance Program, PCRI is working to make our homes warmer, more comfortable and more efficient places to live.

The Weatherization Assistance Program is nothing new–it was created in 1976.  But the weatherization spotlight shines brighter than ever, thanks to President Barack Obama.  In an interview last year with CBS’ Katie Couric he said this about weatherization programs:

“We’re going to weatherize homes, that immediately puts people back to work and we’re going to train people who are out of work, including young people, to do the weatherization. As a consequence of weatherization, our energy bills go down and we reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Lower energy bills?  Decent paying jobs?  Hey, PCRI is all for that too (which is why we’re also a partner in the Department of Labor’s Pathways out of Poverty program)!  In January, Multnomah County’s weatherization inspectors audited the first two PCRI homes, with more on tap for the coming months.  But what does “weatherization” mean?

The first–and probably least interesting–step in the weatherization process is the application.  It’s short, and PCRI residents can pick them up and drop them off at our office.  We can also help with completing them and we’ll submit them to the county.  Multnomah County’s weatherization staff reviews the applications, then schedules an in-home energy to determine what improvements give the most bang for the buck.

With the paperwork (well, some of it at least) out of the way, the more exciting stuff begins.  An energy audit typically starts with a blower door test (pictured above)–simply, an industrial fan mounted in the home’s front door.  The fan creates suction inside the house, making it amazingly easy to see where air leaks are.  Curtains on leaky windows blow around like the window is open, unlatched doors swing open in the blink of an eye and other leaky spots create a obvious breeze.

Besides finding leaks and drafts with the blower door test, the insulation is inspected.  Sometimes this is done with a heat-sensing infared camera (very cool); other times it’s done the old-fashioned way–by crawling in the attic and fighting cobwebs in the crawl space for a first-hand look.  Bathroom and kitchen vent fans are checked too, since it’s even more important to exhaust moist air when the house has been weatherized.

After the crawling around is complete and the blower door kit is put away, the weatherization inspector takes measurements and makes a drawing of the house.  Back at county HQ, this information is used to create an energy-use model of the house.  While the inspector may already have a good idea of what improvements are required, the energy-use software puts the savings into hard numbers.

Heat-sensing cameras and computer modeling software won’t keep the house warm, though.  That’s the job of the insulation and weatherization crew.  Check back in a few weeks for Part Two of this story.  As our first homes advance to Part Two of the program, we’ll have more photos and a virtual tour of the process.

Are you a PCRI resident who is interested in having your home weatherized?  Call or stop by our office and we’ll help out!