The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), a provider of wholesale electrical power to more than 140 utilities across the Pacific Northwest, has announced the launch of Comfort Ready Home, a program providing tools for utilities to tap into potential energy savings through customer weatherization projects, and HVAC and water-heater upgrades.
Research conducted by BPA found that in recent years, only 6% of homeowners in the Northwest made weatherization improvements such as duct sealing, installing high-quality insulation or updating inefficient water heaters and HVAC systems. Comfort Ready Home offers utilities a wide range of services and resources, including step-by-step instructions and marketing tools to help establish new programs or enhance existing offers for upgrades. The program also educates homeowners about ways to make their homes more comfortable and efficient, and connects them to qualified contractors and utility incentives.
“Our research shows there is a major opportunity for utilities and their customers to see significant energy savings through simple and affordable home upgrades,” said Rob Burr, Residential program manager at BPA. “The goal of Comfort Ready Home is to make it as easy as possible to make that happen. These types of projects don’t just help individual customers; they can help entire communities cut their energy use.”
To establish or expand weatherization offers, Comfort Ready Home provides utilities:
- A comprehensive Field Guide detailing the Comfort Ready Program and current BPA-qualifying measures;
- A marketing toolkit that includes promotional pieces, social media content and customer product guides; and
- Region-specific technical support and outreach assistance from Comfort Ready Home Field Specialists.
Comfort Ready Home also offers contractors free tools and education to help grow their business around weatherization, HVAC and water-heating installations. That includes free training and support specifically for multifamily projects — a critical opportunity for reducing energy use in the region.
“We hope this effort draws contractors back to weatherization,” said Burr. “More and more people are looking for ways to improve comfort, save energy and reduce their utility bills, and they’re looking for trusted, experienced professionals to help them do it. Comfort Ready Home brings everyone — customers, contractors and utilities — to the same place.”
Some of the most common weatherization projects recommended by Comfort Ready Home include the installation of high-performance insulation, air and duct sealing, and professionally installed windows and doors. These upgrades help keep temperatures constant, reduce drafts and preserve air quality.
The program helps utilities promote ductless heat pumps, which use as much as 50% less energy than typical electric-resistance heating, while offering comfort year-round. Heat pump water heaters, also promoted by Comfort Ready Home, use a fraction of the energy of standard electric water heaters.
Comfort Ready Home recently introduced a searchable contractor database and BPA will continue to expand the program over the next year. Future plans include introducing features such as webinars, workshops, DIY resources and more.