New insulation helped High Score Arcade level up

New insulation helped High Score Arcade level up

Arcade Owners posing against pinball machines
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In the small town of Molalla, Oregon, Corinne and Kurt Thomas founded High Score Arcade. Growing up, Corinne Thomas spent her childhood helping her father with the family’s skating rink. “My father would have me empty the coin bins and overall taught me how to run a business. He also used his business to help the community. He did a lot of work with hospitals and children,” said Corinne. This value of supporting and promoting community is something that inspired Corinne and Kurt.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kurt bought and fixed up old arcade games as a hobby and an activity to share with their grandchildren. As the Thomas’s collection of restored video games grew, they saw their hobby as an opportunity to connect with the Molalla community.

In 2020, the Thomas’s purchased a 100-year-old building to start High Score Arcade. While the couple finally had a space to store and share their video game collection, the building needed to undergo many repairs before opening. After discovering the infrastructure had no existing insulation, Corinne knew the building was wasting energy and money.

“It was freezing and then hot, even with our AC, nothing stayed in the building. I did not want to freeze in the winter and roast in the summer,” said Corinne. With a long maintenance list, Corrinne had to prioritize projects based on budget and necessity.

To research financial support for the insulation project, Corinne reached out to Portland General Electric (PGE) who informed her about Energy Trust of Oregon cash incentives for energy-efficient building upgrades. This led Corinne to schedule a building assessment with an Energy Trust energy advisor to evaluate the space and provide information on the next steps to install insulation that qualified for cash incentives.

High Score received $6,300 to install 2,700 square feet of high-performance insulation, which covered 100% of the project cost* eliminating any out-of-pocket expenses. “Without the incentives, we would not have been able to put the insulation in. We would have had to open without it to make the money to pay for the project,” said Corinne.

With reduced air leakage and strain on existing HVAC systems, the new insulation will save High Score Arcade an estimated 54,400 kWh each year, which is equivalent to nearly $8,000 in annual utility bill costs.

Additionally, the building is now more comfortable year-round and has improved temperature control leading to a significant reduction in energy consumption. “After the insulation was installed, even the previous owners said the temperature felt much better, “said Corinne.

After completing the insulation project, High Score was able to open and continue its goal of supporting the community by hosting family events, acting as an after-school hub for local high school students and partnering with local non-profits. “We have to take care of the earth for future generations, so we want to decrease our carbon footprint where we can,” said Corinne. In addition to increasing efficiency, “the incentives allowed us to fix the temperature problem and put money back into the business.”

“As a small business, most of our overhead costs have gone to energy, so increasing energy efficiency is huge for saving money.”
– Corinne Thomas, co-owner, High Score Arcade

Learn more about saving energy and money for your business with support from Energy Trust by visiting our cash incentives page. To get started on your energy-saving project, email or contact an energy advisor.

*With additional bonus incentives.