The Saylor Family Started with a Heat Pump

Testimonial from Erin Saylor

Referred by PGE.  

Erin Saylor’s views on electrification were informed by her work at an environmental nonprofit where she had a front row seat to discussions about the climate and health impacts of our country’s reliance on fossil gas. She was determined to start to wean her family off fossil fuels, but even she is surprised by how fast the state-wide emphasis on electrification has happened. “It seems like the benefits of electrification were just whispers a few years ago, but the 100% Clean Energy for All legislation that will move Oregon to clean electricity by 2040 has really moved electrification discussions to the forefront.” 

She has also become more concerned about the potential health impacts the family’s gas appliances have on her three young children. Financial constraints led her family to think carefully about where to start. But with their gas furnace in a poorly ventilated closet in the main part of the house, a carbon monoxide scare in a vacation rental, and last summer’s heat dome, they decided to start by replacing their furnace with a new heat pump system that provides both heat and air conditioning. A ducted heat pump system was installed in the main part of the house while a ductless mini-split was added to the primary bedroom over the garage. The family was delighted to work with Green Savers, an Electrify LO recommended contractor. The system was designed with an eye toward easily adding rooms to the house in the future. 

To finance the system, the Saylor’s participated in a program through the regional nonprofit called Craft3 which allows them to pay for the new system through their monthly PGE bill. They appreciate several aspects of their new heat pump system: the air conditioning, the ability to control the temperature of individual rooms, its relatively quiet compared to other HVAC units, and a perception of greater comfort as the temperature stays more consistent.  

The Saylor family is planning more electrification projects in the future – likely next on the list: replacing their gas water heater with an electric heat pump water heater. Longer term, they’re considering a kitchen remodel that would add an induction stove and a potential move to an EV car – assuming they can find one that fits the whole family. Erin’s advice is “do your research, find a good company to work with, and go for it. Electrification protects the environment, improves safety for your family, and will save you money in the long run.”

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Duke Castle’s Electrification Journey

Testimonial from Duke Castle

Duke Castle was part of a team working on the initial city-community climate action plan and learned that the quickest and most impactful thing citizens in Lake Oswego could do to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions was to electrify their vehicles. So the first thing he and Jan did was purchase an electric vehicle in the fall of 2018.

It was shortly afterwards that he began to hear about taking the electrification concept even further by electrifying everything in their home and getting off “natural” gas. Duke knew about heat pumps as the best answer for home heating but held off due to their higher cost. What finally convinced him to make the move was when Portland General Electric offered a $3000 rebate. He and Jan knew from past experience that when a gas heater fails you don’t have a lot of time to research alternatives. So they decided to act then while the rebate was still available.

Duke contacted Sunset Heating and Cooling and spoke to Peter Fritz who was quite knowledgeable and recommended a heat pump sized for their home along with a list of additional rebates they would qualify for.

Duke’s neighbor, Kathy Kremer, told Duke about the existence of heat pump water heaters so he and Jan made that conversion also.

“We had no other gas appliances at that point so I was able to call Northwest Natural and tell them to terminate our service. That felt great”!

One benefit of going with a heat pump was that the Castles now had air conditioning. Their home is so well insulated that air conditioning was never needed until the temperature reached 1160 in June 2021. “Wow, were we glad we made the switch to a heat pump when we did.”

Other changes have included signing up for community solar and signing up for PGE’s Time of Day rate structure which is saving about $35 per month.

Overall the Castles are very pleased with their choices. The EV is really fun to drive and the home is comfortable all year round.

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Kathy Kremer Has Approached Electrification Step by Step

Testimonial from Kathy Kremer

Kathy Kremer was always interested in sustainability, which she routinely incorporated into her work as a residential building designer. But in the last five years she has retrofitted her small (830 square feet–“I like small” ) Lake Oswego home mindful of the climate crisis and a slew of available incentives. She still had her original decades-old oil heater. She started her electrification journey by converting to a type of electric heat pump called a “ductless mini-split” that is wall mounted and does not use vents or ducts. She hesitated because she was not fond of the wall mounted look, but finally decided energy efficiency was more important than aesthetics. And the truth is “I began liking its looks when I began to truly appreciate its efficiency and value.” She followed with a heat pump water heater that “paid for itself in two years”, and then an electric vehicle. But her favorite appliance, being an avid cook, is her new induction range “So precise and so freaking fast! Whoever said a watched pot never boils is wrong when it comes to induction.” She understands that her clients may have an “atavistic pleasure in fossil gas”, but induction cooking is not only safer, but “just plain joyful”.

Overall, she is impressed by how much her energy costs have reduced. In 2017, as she started her electrification journey, her one-year energy cost, including hot water, heat (oil), gas for the car, and electricity, was $3786. Last year, with all her energy now electrical, her cost for hot water, heat, electricity, and EV car charging was $1607. “Imagine what the savings would be with a larger home.”


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