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Success Story

Community Energy Project, Portland

Building confidence, empowering people

When it comes to insulating an attic, not everyone wants, or can afford, to hire a contractor. That’s where Community Energy Project’s do-it-yourself attic insulation workshops fill the gap.

Sponsored by Energy Trust, the free 2-1/2-hour workshops teach participants how to insulate a flat attic—covering everything from sealing air leaks, to installing ventilation, to laying down insulation batts. Participants leave with a detailed manual and the confidence to get the job done.

“We attract lower and middle-income attendees who want to save money insulating their attics themselves,” said Sherrie Pelsma, program director. “The workshops are also useful to those who end up hiring a contractor because they learn the concepts and terms.”

Now in their third year, the workshops use an easy-to-understand curriculum and are led by community educators who can teach in multiple languages. About half of participants are women. Attendees learn how to take advantage of Energy Trust cash incentives and leave knowing they can call an Energy Trust technician if they get stuck.

Community Energy Project estimates the workshops result in about 75 insulated attics annually. “Before we started offering workshops, only 30 percent of do-it-yourself projects passed inspection,” said Pelsma. “Now it’s close to 100 percent.”