PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Oregon families who lost their homes to wildfire now have an even greater incentive to make their next homes energy-efficient thanks to increased assistance from the Energy Trust of Oregon

Energy Trust of Oregon has been offering cash incentives to encourage people to replace their destroyed buildings with more energy-efficient structures. On Monday, the non-profit announced it was doubling its financial support. 

For wildfire survivors who lost their homes, the incentives range from a minimum of $2,246 to a maximum of $8,171. The better a home’s energy performance score, or EPS, the higher the total incentive amount.

“Sadly, we’re seeing wildfire seasons lasting longer and becoming more severe,” said Michael Colgrove, executive director of Energy Trust. “This new support will help Oregonians who have faced tragedy rebuild family homes that use less energy and are more resilient in the face of future disasters.”

In September 2021, Scott Leonard, a manager with the new construction program at Energy Trust of Oregon, told KOIN 6 News that sometimes features that make a home more energy efficient also make them more fire resilient. For example, he said sealing attic vents properly can help prevent embers from flying in, putting a barrier of rigid insulation on the outside of the home can serve as a non-flammable barrier, and installing triple-pane windows can also protect a home from extreme heat. 

In addition to these features, incentives are also being offered for energy-efficient features such as advanced framing and lighting, high performance windows, efficient appliances and heating and cooling

Energy Trust of Oregon said the more efficient the home, the higher cash incentives available. 

Leonard said he hopes the incentives will make the rebuilding process easier and allow people to live in more affordable homes. 

To qualify for an incentive, a home or building must receive an EPS. In order to participate in the incentive program, Energy Trust of Oregon says a person must first select a qualified builder through Energy Trust’s list of allies

Then, the builder selects a program verifier before construction begins. The verifier will use energy modeling software to determine the incentive amount. When the insulation is installed, the verifier will perform an inspection and diagnostic tests to evaluate its energy performance. 

Finally, when the home is completed, the verifier will return once more to ensure the home meets EPS requirements and will confirm the incentive amount. 

More information about the incentive program is available on the Energy Trust of Oregon website

Energy Trust of Oregon is working with Oregon’s Department of Energy and Oregon’s Building Code Division for its incentive program.