Energy savings makes an economic impact in Southern Oregon


The exterior of an apartment building

The Housing Authority of Jackson County (HAJC) has invested in dozens of energy-efficiency projects for its affordable apartment communities in Jackson and Josephine Counties. Ranging from lighting upgrades, new appliances and water heaters, HAJC is making the benefits of energy efficiency accessible to nearly 990 low-income households in Southern Oregon.

Asset Manager Dianna Berry helps fulfill the agency’s commitment to create comfortable, environmentally-friendly homes. “Approximately 25 percent of the properties in our housing inventory are 30-plus years old. Energy-efficiency upgrades can give new life to a property and improve comfort for our residents,” said Berry. “Residents pay their own electric bills, so they benefit from reduced energy costs, and the community benefits from a reduction in our carbon footprint.”

The agency replaced more than 60, 50-gallon domestic hot water heaters that were 14-plus years old with more energy-efficient models. Berry says this investment had a substantial savings impact on tenant electric bills. Among other projects, they replaced single-pane metal frame windows with double-paned vinyl windows in one building and implemented a complete window replacement in yet another property.

The agency plans to test energy-efficient heat pump water heaters in its next project. And all upcoming new construction is designed to be solar-ready allowing HAJC the flexibility to easily and economically install solar panels as needed.

Countless energy efficiency projects have saved more than 843,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and 1,868 therms of natural gas since 2014. HAJC has earned $169,400 in cash incentives from Energy Trust and estimates it saves nearly $64,500 in annual energy cost savings.

“A big part of my job is to manage the spending of the capital reserve accounts. I do this by determining when the capital improvements are necessary for the preservation of our properties, even when there is a shortfall of reserves,” explained Berry. “Through the Energy Trust program, we’re able to earn cash incentives for our energy efficiency investments. These incentives help stretch our capital improvement resources and allow us to renovate or repair additional properties where we may not have the funding to do anything.”

To learn more about energy-efficient upgrades available for your multifamily property, visit www.energytrust.org/SouthernOregon