Make your home efficient in 2023

A single mom’s step-by-step guide

If you’ve ever wanted to make your home more efficient and sustainable, have we got a story for you. A few years ago, Sarah, a single mom who works at PGE, decided to make her 1960’s home more energy efficient. Join Sarah on her multi-part Energy Makeover video series below, where she goes into more details about how she did it, and how she paid for it.

By doing things in steps, over time, it helped make her upgrades affordable and manageable.

“I wanted to make sure I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. So, I did my research. I checked out information on PGE’s website and on Energy Trust of Oregon…they’re a great resource for cost effective improvements.” said Sarah.

The websites pointed her to some easy DIY things like installing LED lighting and these cool energy efficient honeycomb shades...and these upgrades definitely helped reduce her energy use, but she didn't stop there. What she learned along the way can help anyone who wants to improve their home’s energy efficiency. Here are 5 simple steps Sarah took:

1. Research and DIY projects

She started with easy DIY things, like installing LED lighting and low-flow showerheads, and installing off-the-shelf honeycomb blinds, which save energy.

2. Energy Audit

Then she spent $450 on an in-depth home energy audit to help her better understand her home’s energy use and prioritize what would give the most bang for her buck. In her case, it was insulating her attic and walls and sealing air leaks around windows, doors, floorboards and outlets. The cost and comprehensiveness of energy audits vary, but with prices starting around $200 and all the information they provide, it’s money well spent.

3. Heat Pump

Next came installing a new ductless heat pump, which saved her 40% on her heating bills. And with the heat pumps added air conditioning, she stayed comfortable in the summer months too!

Heat pump above a computer and bookshelf with a newly installed thermostat

4. Appliances

One by one, she updated to Energy Star appliances since the old ones accounted for 21% of her electric bill (the old side-by-side fridge being the biggest drain). Over time she made additional improvements, like an induction stove, Energy Star dishwasher, water heater and washer and dryer. Sarah’s tip: Look for floor models on sale to get a good deal on energy efficient appliances.

5. Windows

After all the other stuff was done, Sarah updated the windows, too, which added curb appeal and energy savings. She even purchased an EV, installed a Level 2 charger and made the switch to electric lawn tools!

“Most of my home improvements weren’t the “typical” cosmetic ones I wanted to make at first, but each step helped me save money that paid for the next step and eventually we tackled some of those cosmetic upgrades too.” said Sarah, “I learned that the sooner you take action, the sooner you reap the benefits.”

And, when you break it down into simple steps taken over time, it might even be easier than you think! The most important thing is to just get started. You’ll be glad you did.

Get started today

Whether you own or rent, find out how rebates and tax credits PGE from the Inflation Reduction Act, Energy Trust of Oregon and PGE can help make energy improvements in your home.