Another Voice: Ask Salem to support Clean Energy funding

For the last 16 years, my company, McDowell & Son, has served the Hood River area, providing local homeowners with construction and residential energy efficiency services. As a partner of the nonprofit Clean Energy Works Oregon (CEWO), we are helping make it easier for local homeowners to make comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades to their homes.

CEWO connects homeowners to local lenders for low-cost financing, to local utilities for cash incentives, and to certified energy-efficiency contractors like us for construction services.

Since fall 2012, we have completed more than 35 CEWO home energy assessments and five home energy retrofits in Hood River County. We’ve helped our customers save money on monthly utility bills while making their homes more comfortable. Plus, we’ve been able to provide full-time work for our employees to whom we provide a good, living wage, and we work with numerous local subcontractors to complete aspects of each project.

None of this would be possible without public investment. CEWO was created through a public-private partnership involving numerous public agencies, utilities and contractors. The program has helped thousands of Oregonians make their houses more comfortable while reducing wasteful energy expenses and improving the value of their largest asset, their home.

And equally as important, CEWO has ensured a regular paycheck for more than 1,300 workers. As a small-business owner and employer, I know how important that is.

Now, the State of Oregon is considering legislation that would provide secure funding for CEWO into the future. With more than 600,000 homes throughout Oregon in need of an energy upgrade, representing $8 billion in economic development, I see continued promise in programs like CEWO, which has a proven track record of creating jobs, growing businesses, and increasing private investment.

That is why I am encouraging my legislators to fund efforts like Clean Energy Works Oregon, and I encourage you to do the same.

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Melissa McDowell is owner of McDowell & Son in Hood River.

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