The homes of dozens of families and seniors in Southern Oregon are safer and more comfortable thanks to the work of an Energy Trust of Oregon trade ally in The Klamath Basin.
Seasons Change, is a heating and cooling contractor based in Klamath Falls. The company’s owner recently worked with the Klamath Tribes and a community organization called Turtle Cove Partnership, helping them make critical energy upgrades at no-cost.
With Seasons Change, the tribes and Turtle Cove accessed Energy Trust’s Community Partner Funding which offers groups that work with rural and BIPOC communities or communities experiencing lower incomes higher cash incentives for energy upgrades such as efficient heating and cooling solutions, water heating and others.
“The tenants were always cold,” said Wanda Powless, executive director of Turtle Cove which provides transitional housing to women and children. “It was problematic and costly, and we saw no light at the end of the tunnel.”
Since 2012, Powless and a group of partners have transformed the old Olympic Lodge Motel in Klamath Falls to housing for families in need. Seasons Change installed 35 new, energy-efficient ductless heat pumps at Turtle Cove which offer both heating and cooling.
“I can’t say enough about the professionalism of the Seasons Change folks,” said Powless. “They worked steadily for two weeks in zero-degree temperatures while addressing all the questions from the tenants.”
Just to the north, in the town of Chiloquin, the Klamath Tribes own an affordable multifamily property called the Congregate Building. The building consists of 14 two-bedroom rental units that primarily house tribal elders. With no forced air heating or air conditioning, tenants in the building relied on baseboard heating in the winter and window AC units in the summer.
“During the winter, some of the tenants had to bring in several space heaters to heat their units,” said Ellsworth Lang with the Klamath Tribes. “When the tenants were hot this past summer, they wanted to open their windows, but we were in close proximity to two major forest fires, so there were air quality issues.”
Lang, who is also an Energy Trust board m
heir units, with zero out of pocket costs to the tribe.
“We like doing these projects because we’re able to positively impact lives,” said Seasons Change Owner, Matthew Johnson. “Prior to the installation, many of the elders couldn’t afford to properly heat their homes. They’d set the heater at 60 degrees – which meant they weren’t comfortable. After the project, they could afford to be warm while seeing a major decrease in their heating bill.”
Johnson has been a Trade Ally for more than 20 years. “We did 360 ductless heat pump installations in 2022 and we’re pacing to do double that this year,” said Johnson. A lot of that is due to these incentive programs that are available through organizations like Energy Trust. Together we can change lives for the better by increasing our customers’ comfort and overall well-being. That’s what it’s all about.”
For more information on becoming an Energy Trust trade ally visit insider.energytrust.org/become-a-trade-ally.