Dec 07, 2018

It seems every day is colder and colder. Putting my hand to my window last night I could feel the cold clamoring to get in. I’m lucky though — I have double-insulated windows and an efficient heater for my home, but many others are not so lucky.

I own and manage six mobile home parks across Central Oregon, and utilities can be a particularly large expense for my tenants. Mobile homes, especially older ones, are energy inefficient. They lose heat around windows and doors, and through the floor. A lot of the mobile home parks we own are also retirement communities, with older people on fixed incomes who can’t necessarily afford upgrades that would make their homes more energy efficient.

A policy to help Oregon’s most vulnerable.

The Clean Energy Jobs bill, a piece of legislation being considered for passage by the Oregon Legislature next year, could help mobile-home owners make retrofits that will increase efficiencies and save them money on heating costs. Installing additional insulation, skirting and belly wraps would not only help mobile-home owners save money, but also create good-paying jobs for the installers.

Clean Energy Jobs will increase the demand for contractors, engineers, administrative assistants, salespeople, electricians, and others, as the revenue generated from the price on pollution would be used to fund projects across the state. These projects would range from allowing homeowners to install on-site solar, and businesses to do energy efficient upgrades that save costs. And in my case, the bill would make it easier for my fixed-income renters to make upgrades to their homes that will make them more comfortable — and more resilient against Central Oregon’s harsh winters and hot summers.

It’s an economic reality that rent is rising all across Oregon, and while there are many factors that play a part in why, it’s safe to say that climate change is a factor. For mobile home parks, water costs are added to the cost of rent. As the climate warms, it increases the scarcity of resources like water. In Central Oregon especially we’ve experienced drought and decreased snowmelt, which drives up prices and makes water less plentiful in our area. Water costs have been increasing so rapidly that they now make up 25 percent to 30 percent of rent each month. Since mobile home parks like ours only have one meter, there’s no way to charge individuals for their consumption, so we have to adjust rent all over.

A policy to help small business owners across the state.

Clean Energy Jobs could help property owners like me pay for projects that increase the efficiency of how water gets delivered to our tenants, something that not only helps conserve a precious resource but also will help my tenants save money in the long run. I do what I can to try and keep rent prices stable for my tenants, and Clean Energy Jobs can help me do more. Clean Energy Jobs makes economic sense for everyone — both for renters and property owners, for businesses as well as homeowners. It would drive down costs while at the same time increasing the availability of good-paying jobs. It’s a policy that should be implemented while we still have time.

Guest blog post by Judd Hancock, co-owner of Hancock & Hancock Property Management in Bend. This originally appeared in the Bend Bulletin as a guest opinion piece.

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