Nonprofit collaboration expands access to energy savings

a woman standing by the side of her home

An innovative collaboration between Community Energy Project and Energy Trust is helping low-income Portland residents enjoy the benefits of energy-efficiency and reduced energy bills. Nonprofit Community Energy Project, which has a long history of reaching residents with low incomes and communities of color, installs heat pump water heaters in low-income homes at no cost to the participants. Sponsored by Energy Trust, the effort tests a new model of program design that taps into the networks of community-based organizations to deliver services to wider audiences.

“This program was a blessing for me,” said Burnette Holder, who lives on Social Security and contacted Community Energy Project when her aging water heater failed. “They handled everything and even showed me how to adjust the temperature if I need to.” An Energy Trust cash incentive of $875 helped offset the full cost of the water heater for Holder, who will save an estimated $190 on her annual energy bill—stretching her income for other important needs.