More Oregonians embrace all-electric home movement, ‘future-fitting’ upgrades that improve efficiency, help keep harmful smoke out | Ap

Brett and Lori Patten spent two years looking for their future home. For her, future-oriented thinking meant more than just a place to live for a long time. Your home and its renewable energy sources needed to minimize operating costs, ensure good indoor air quality and, most importantly, avoid fossil fuels to protect the future of the planet.

After examining the houses for sale, they decided to buy a solar-grade one. Their new residence, which is being built by Ichijo USA in Hillsboro, is expected to have zero energy costs based on their energy efficiency rating once photovoltaic panels are added to offset power consumption at home.

The 50-year-old Pattens imagine their retirement as free from electricity, gasoline and even gasoline bills. With their new home on the way and an electric vehicle as part of the plan, that future can begin now.

“For my wife and I, we want to be economical with our expenses, especially if we live on a steady income,” said Brett Patten. “And we have a social awareness of how we contribute to the environment.”

Anyone who has weathered Oregon’s frosty winters, sizzling summers, and forest fire smoke seems more anxious to have a tightly built, highly insulated home that keeps expensive heated or cooled air in while keeping harmful particles out.

During the record-breaking Portland heat wave, which reached 116 degrees in June, the Pattens escaped their energy-inefficient rental home – “it was brutal,” said Brett Patten, “it was 10 degrees hotter upstairs than downstairs” – and hung out in a model house by Ichijo USA, which resembles their future all-electric home in Hillsboro’s Reed’s Crossing.

There is no massive air conditioning here, he said, puffing and puffing, but the temperature is a refreshing 68 degrees on all levels.

A tight building envelope with controlled ventilation and air filter system not only reduces energy consumption and costs, but also keeps smoke and other pollutants out and reduces moisture that allergens and mold can cause.

Triple-glazed windows and additional insulation in the attic, on walls and floors can also dampen outside noise. And solar and backup battery systems keep devices and appliances running even during a power outage.

Although the Pattens plan is to generate electricity on the roof using photovoltaic panels, tenants and homeowners can sign up with Community Solar to get electricity from a locally developed solar farm at prices that can be lower than regular electricity.

Fully electric houses

For reasons of the climate, the indoor air quality and for reasons of cost savings, more and more Oregonians are modernizing their houses fully electric or are looking for new buildings with 100% electricity, both of which come from renewable sources.

According to the NW natural gas supplier, customers are paying less than 15 years ago to run their oven, water heater, oven, range and tumble dryer, especially if they install a high-efficiency natural gas oven and air conditioning.

But electricity is still needed to power lights, electronics, air conditioning or other devices.

Builders and owners of larger and more expensive apartments are increasingly joining the electric mobility movement.

However, in October, HBA debuted with a new event, the Homes of Tomorrow Today Tour, which allowed people to walk around eight all-electric homes with solar panels and car charging points. Also on show: electric lawnmowers and leaf blowers without emissions that can replace gas lawn machines.

According to experts, the construction and construction industry causes around 40% of global CO2 emissions. Furniture, furnishings and equipment also contribute to the overall carbon footprint. When these products are long-lasting and sustainable, their effects diminish, experts say.

Designer Emily Henderson, an influencer with a million blog followers, is renovating a centuries-old farmhouse for her family in southwest Portland. To contribute to her sustainable lifestyle, she is replacing gas systems with electric heat pumps for cooling and heating air and heating water, and adding other electrical systems.

Henderson was honest about the learning curve of cooking and baking with an induction range on her blog. Then she posted photos of high-end electronic offers from Ilve, Bertazzoni, Fisher and Paykel and others.

The Consumer Reports researchers found that the smooth-topped electric cookers they tested offered faster cook times, better bake and grilling, and more precise temperature control than gas.

“As we say in our home every night, ‘We love you, Mother Earth,'” wrote Henderson.

Row houses are grouped around an inner courtyard shaded by fir trees. Soundproof walls with cellulose insulation, coated double-glazed windows and other green elements reduce the operating costs of the houses and help to regulate the air temperature.

Spevak said a decade ago eco-conscious buyers asked him about water heaters, underfloor heating and gas stoves.

“Maybe there was a time when it made sense to burn methane in our homes,” he said.

“These days electrical systems are healthier, safer, and much more efficient,” he said.

According to Rachel Trice of Metro Portland’s Home Builders Association, Oregon’s recently updated building codes are among the most demanding in the country. Nevertheless, developers and builders who specialize in high-performance houses exceed these requirements.

Another option is Energy Star-certified homes, which have fewer greenhouse gas emissions than typical buildings and meet stringent energy efficiency standards from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Over the past 10-15 years, buyers have become increasingly aware of environmental concerns, said Douglas Macleod of Blue Sky Property Northwest, which sells efficient homes.

His customers, mostly first-time buyers and building society savers, also appreciate stricter building regulations and voluntary modernization by building owners.

Macleod recently sold a new 1,276-square-foot, all-electric home in the Roseway neighborhood of northeast Portland for $ 412,000. He also found a buyer for the 815-square-foot home next door, which sold for $ 342,500.

Governments are also making progress.

“California will go completely electric when it is built in 2023,” said Macleod. “The governor of the US state Washington wants to introduce laws similar to those in California and is talking about the adoption of regulations that require or encourage the construction of all-electric new buildings in Oregon.

“It’s coming,” he added.

Retrofitting

Nicholas Kinzie from Ashland tested the benefits of solar energy in the smallest of ways – with a solar cell phone charger. Over time, he has converted his house to net zero. It’s powered by solar panels that produce enough renewable energy to meet annual consumption, with Tesla Powerwalls for backup power.

A zero energy home also reduces pollution and makes a home healthier, quieter, more comfortable, and more affordable, according to the Energy Trust of Oregon.

In a video produced for the virtual event in October, he explained that external blinds and a retractable awning help keep the heat or cold inside.

The retrofitting or future furnishing of a property often also includes water-saving functions and sustainable building materials and surfaces that generate less waste.

Passive house fans prefer lower-emission insulation materials such as cellulose or wood fibers instead of foam. Windows have an additional layer between the inner glass and the outer glass. And windows are placed to maximize light, ventilation and views.

Although no window is as energy-efficient as a highly insulated wall, triple-glazed windows withstand the flow of heat twice as well as legally required double-pane windows, Everhart found.

The total energy required to dismantle, refine, produce, assemble, ship and install window materials – the so-called embodied energy and emissions – is only about 5 or 10% more than for a standard window.

“The good news is that we can produce high-performance building products with a little more energy than conventional building products,” says Everhart.

The size of the foundation is also taken into account in passive houses, since cement for concrete requires a lot of energy, mostly through the combustion of coal. Everhart said building materials and equipment are still primarily made from fossil fuels.

The orientation of the house to the property and its shape are also taken into account to reduce energy requirements.

The Everharts are paying about $ 6 more per month for PGE’s 100% renewable electricity program rather than getting energy from natural gas-powered power plants. They said that with the bonus they can support the future without having to install a wind turbine in their garden or solar panels on their roof.

“We didn’t electrify our home to save money now or for a long time,” said Tad Everhart. “We did it to demonstrate passive house design and technologies to save our planet and all children.”

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