Apr 29, 2015

Robert Hamerly

 

What I do in my work, with my company and for my customers all boils down to one thing-- quality of life. Oregon is a good market for home performance improvement because people here, at their core, understand the benefits of efficiency. It’s a mindset in Oregon to use our resources wisely, to get the most out of what we have.

Only about one in 10 Oregon homes are built or fixed up to perform at their best. There is a lot of room to grow for my business and others like it. A lot of work to be done. Those people who are already enjoying healthier indoor air, lower energy bills and a more comfortable home are who I call “early adopters.” They’ve opted to have the improvements made.

The idea that we can use less and get more is pretty mainstream. The next step is a change in policy to help people get over the hump. The right framework applied statewide will drive innovation and affordability. It should be long-term and incentivize the market to give people easier access to home performance improvements.

When more homeowners can make a kilowatt do twice as much work as before, it’s a win for everyone. It lowers the bills for the owner and utilities don’t need to produce as much power. We still burn coal to make a lot of the electricity in Oregon. Less demand for power means less pollution in the air. It’s a better quality of life.

My crews keep pretty busy at work depending on the season. We employ 30 people and I’m proud to say they make a good wage and we can provide them with benefits. With more demand, we could afford to do even more for them: help pay for advanced education and save for retirement. This can be a career, not just a job. The better trained and happier an employee is, the better quality of work he or she will do. That’s good for the customer and for our company. And it all happens here in Oregon, keeping the opportunities and income local. Quality of life is raised for everyone around.

Efficiency is the heart of capitalism. Finding a way to spend less and get more out of it allows us to better ourselves with the savings left over. It’s the American way. It propels our country. Henry Ford was a hard worker but he worked efficiently, making his process leaner, getting more from less. He saw profit in reducing waste. Families shouldn’t settle on higher energy bills just because they can get by.

It’s an easy choice when you take a long view. Right now, we run too much on dirty energy that comes with a lot of consequences. We have the know-how and workforce to change over to a clean energy economy. We just need to commit to do it.

Robert Hamerly is owner and operator of GreenSavers, a home performance contracting and energy efficiency upgrade company operating in Bend and Portland.