Residents find comfort, cost savings in new manufactured homes
Oregonians living in older manufactured homes spend 70% more on energy per square foot than those living in houses, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. These higher energy costs disproportionately affect residents with lower incomes.
Through a pilot, Energy Trust has replaced 34 old, inefficient manufactured homes with new models that are significantly more efficient, comfortable and cheaper to maintain. At manufactured home parks in communities like Northeast Portland, Roseburg and Independence, Energy Trust provided cash incentives for replacing homes, made connections with government agencies that can provide additional funds, and connected participants with financing with affordable rates and loan terms. Some parks also received cash incentives and guidance to add solar panels on community buildings.
“We want to provide a place where folks can live that is safe and nice and clean and functions well. And, at the same time, remains affordable,” said Merten Bangemann-Johnson, CEO of NeighborWorks Umpqua, owner of Newton Creek Manor manufactured home park in Roseburg.
The key to success is collaboration. Energy Trust is developing partnerships with park owners and neighborhood organizations, leveraging additional funding from community and government agencies, and building a replicable model to replace aging manufactured homes with those that exceed current energy code. In addition to cash incentives, pilot participants receive expertise and guidance along the way.
People living in manufactured homes were disproportionally impacted by natural disasters and wildfires in 2020. In Jackson County, where manufactured home parks are a critical source of affordable housing, homes in 18 parks were partially or completely destroyed by fires last year. Through the manufactured home replacement offer, Energy Trust can help customers leverage disaster relief funds to lower the cost of replacing damaged homes.
When the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation was impacted by severe flooding in Umatilla County, the tribes worked with Energy Trust to leverage emergency funding along with cash incentives to replace 13 homes in the Lucky 7 manufactured home park. Once complete, the new homes will provide healthy, comfortable housing with much lower utility bills for tribal members.
According to Marcus L. Luke II, housing director for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation: “This opportunity included needed funding and addressed the need to replace outdated, out-of-code, inefficient units with energy efficient, quality and affordable homes.”
In 2020, Energy Trust initiated the replacement of 27 additional homes through the pilot and is working to identify more opportunities.