In 2020, massive wildfires spread across Oregon, burning through more than 1 million acres. The wildfires destroyed homes and sent an orange, smoky haze across the state.
“The wildfires that happened in 2020 were so devastating … we couldn’t ignore that this was a major problem,” says Scott Leonard of Energy Trust of Oregon.
The nonprofit offers Oregonians cash incentives to make their homes more energy efficient, for example by adding insulation or installing electric heat pumps.
He says that after the wildfires, his organization began offering additional incentives for features that do double duty: They save energy and make a house more fire-resistant.
For example, adding rigid insulation, installing triple-paned glass windows, and sealing attics can all help keep heat and flames outside the house.
So as people rebuild after a tragedy, Energy Trust of Oregon encourages them to make their homes more sustainable and resilient.
“We have our mission, which is to reduce the amount of energy used in buildings,” Leonard says. “But because there is this crosswalk between energy efficiency and wildfire resilience … we’re going to keep working on these things together.”
Reporting credit: Ethan Freedman/ChavoBart Digital Media