Record-setting low temperatures can lead to record-setting energy bills, but UO students can get help improving their homes’ energy efficiency. Student and Community Outreach for Renter Efficiency ($CORE) sends peer energy educators to assess students’ dwellings for ways to be more green, complete with about $40 in free fixes.
“It’s a challenging audience,” UO Director of Co-Curricular Programs Shelley Bowerman says of student renters and a split incentive. “The landlords have no incentive to make energy efficiency improvements, and the renters don’t have the knowledge or resources.” With a swag bag of CFL light bulbs, faucet aerators and weather stripping, the program provides the resources that student renters are often reluctant to invest.
For about an hour and a half, student educators take residents on a tour of the home, pointing out energy escapes, such as single-pane windows, excessively cold refrigerators and inefficient light bulbs. Bowerman says that the peer educators benefit from the program, too, gaining consulting experience while still in school. “They have to be quite dynamic and creative,” she says. “They have some pretty funny stories.”
Bowerman says the program goal is to evaluate 70 to 75 homes by January. Interested renters can learn more at wkly.ws/1n3; at least one member of the household must be affiliated with UO. $CORE is funded by grants from EWEB, the city of Eugene and Bonneville Environmental Foundation and is run through UO’s Office of Sustainability.