Nov 29, 2017
When people think about clean energy jobs, construction and energy efficiency work can be overlooked for high-profile projects like solar farms and wind turbines.
The cleanest, cheapest energy in the world is the energy you don’t need to use at all because your building, machinery or home is efficient and doesn’t need it. And while everyone benefits from more efficiency, not everyone has the same access to improvements, which will save them on energy costs and create healthier homes. Doing it right will prevent displacement and improve the health of all of our communities as we grow and move forward in Oregon.
I got into contracting back in 2003. I started doing it on the side just to make extra money while raising my children and working another job that was not providing a living wage. When my kids were younger, it was really important to me be able to provide for us and to be available for them. Owning my own business provided those things for me and I love the work.
My favorite part about contracting is working with people. I was a social worker before construction. Most of the people who are making big decisions about their home are women, and many are a little intimidated by construction. It can be difficult to establish trust. It’s fun to be a woman and help my clients feel safe and comfortable. I love the fact that I can give them a really good experience with construction through a well managed project.
For us, as contractors, the coolest thing is to complete full scale projects in underserved communities. As both a certified EnHabit contractor and a certified woman owned business, we are committed to equity, to sustainability, and to making people comfortable in their homes. We want to take care of everybody involved in the project, including ensuring that contractors are being paid a fair, family supporting wage.
Good Energy Retrofit follows High Road Standards, which means we have agreed to follow certain standards for our employees. We have agreed to hire locally, to provide health insurance to our employees, and to uphold high quality standards for our work. In return, we partner with a third party that connects us to community members who need our services.
The will to do something about climate change is there and our part of the solution saves people money too. There is an opportunity for legislators to provide incentives to start these projects through a program like Clean Energy Jobs. Something that I am personally concerned with is income disparity. Something that I love about this work is helping people stay in their homes for longer. It does make a difference for these homeowners and I hope to see more investment in these types of community development projects.