Portland, OR.  Community Energy Project Home Energy Score Assessor, Jackie Zusi-Russell maintains social distance while evaluating client’s homes, but she’s still working to determine their energy score. Community Energy Project (CEP) has been educating and aiding homeowners in the greater Portland area for over the past 40 years. In wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEP has been forced to adapt.  

In-Home Auditor Geoff Fey works with a homeowner installing a water heater before quarantine began.

In-person home services are being provided, with a larger focus on exterior work to maintain social distancing. Heightened safety procedures require workers to wear gloves and masks with high enough quality to filter out asbestos. HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuums are also used during interior services to help filter the air. 

With more people stuck at home during quarantine, CEP is placing a larger focus on ventilation and filtration systems 

“Home is thought to be the first line of defense,” said Development Director Cameo Konfrst. 

Programs are typically directed towards seniors and those with disabilities. Low-income homes are also able to apply for free supplies and services. As paid programs have taken a hit, however, it becomes more difficult for CEP to fund free programs. 

Community Energy Project supports inclusivity, placing emphasis on serving a diverse community, according to their 2018-2019 Equity Report.

Konfrst urges people to invest more in local nonprofits such as CEP instead of nationalstating that smaller, local nonprofits can adapt more easily to the unique situation of a given area 

As a result of the economic downturn and the COVID-19 pandemic, society is hurting worst at the bottom, and that is where CEP is focusing. 

Workshops that were previously held in person have become virtual, but it is more difficult for CEP to reach their audience in comparison to other nonprofits. Low-income families do not all have the means to go digital. Workshops are being repeated at various times to help reach a wider audience. A calendar of events and registration are available on the CEP website.

From Community Energy Project: 

By empowering people with information and tools and facilitating connections to resources, we can increase the capacity of our community to address many home, environmental, health, comfort, and safety issues while conserving natural resources.