Electrify LO Project

Solar Panels

Electrify LO:
Important Steps We Can Take to Slow Global Warming

“On climate policy, there’s one main thing and then there’s everything else…Clean electrification is the entrée; everything else is a side.”

David Roberts, climate journalist, July 9, 2021

Many of you are alarmed about the climate crisis and trying to figure out what you can do to help slow global warming. You are not alone. In the 2021 Lake Oswego Community Survey, addressing climate change was one of the top concerns of Lake Oswego residents.

One of the most impactful changes you can make is to electrify both how you get around and the sources of energy in your home. Electrification moves us away from fossil fuels that are the primary source of the climate crisis toward “clean”, renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydropower.

Data from the CoolClimate Network, an affiliate of UC, Berkeley, shows that a Lake Oswego household can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40% by electrifying everything. That’s significant!

Contact

Linda Ganzini  lganzini@losn.org

Get Involved

Please contact us if you wish to help with our efforts.

Partners

Electrify Now

Currently Portland General Electric, our local electricity utility, is working to meet a state-mandated requirement for electricity that is 80% clean by 2030 and 100% clean by 2040. However, you don’t have to wait. You can support 100% renewable energy now by installing rooftop solar, participating in a community solar program, or signing up for PGE’s Green Power Choice.

To help you reduce your electricity bill while making the clean energy transition go faster, there are many new high-efficiency electric appliances available for cooking, water heating and space heating that use less electricity. In addition, electric appliances and vehicles are frequently quieter, safer, have lower maintenance costs, and are fun to use.

Through our Electrify LO program we hope to get everyone in Lake Oswego on to electricity as quickly as possible. We will show you step-by-step how to make the transition to clean energy and help you along the way.

Where You Live

Heating and Cooling Your Home and Water

Replace your furnace/air conditioner with an electric heat pump. A heat pump works like a refrigerator. In the winter it takes the heat from the outside air and pumps it into your home. In the summer you flip a switch, and it works as an air conditioner by taking heat out of your home and into the outside air.

Heat pumps can also be used to heat your water. Heat pumps are cleaner, more energy efficient, and healthier than natural gas furnaces. Consider retiring your furnace or water heater early before it breaks down.

For more information, see our Heat Pumps page.

Electrify LO

Cooking Your Food

Electric induction cooktops are more energy efficient than natural gas or other electric stoves. Advantages include that they:

    • Outperform other cooktops in speed of heating and temperature control. Because of this they are preferred by many professional chefs.
    • Can be inexpensive—single-burner countertop models can cost under $100.
    • Cause less indoor pollution that may harm your health compared to natural gas.

For more information, see our Induction Cooktops page.

Maintaining Your Yard

Interested in eliminating the noise and pollution from gas powered yard equipment? There are now electric options for every piece of landscaping equipment available that you or your landscaping service can use. Check out what equipment is available and which landscaping services offer an all-electric service at our Electric Landscaping Project page.

Electrify Everything

How You Get Around

Automobiles and trucks, burning fossil fuel, are one of the greatest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. That is why making your next purchase an electric vehicle (EV) is one of the best things you can do to eliminate toxic air pollutants while you are also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

EV options are rapidly expanding. They are fun to drive, less costly to maintain, and have numerous financial incentives that make them much more affordable.

For more information, check out our EV page.

What Electrify LO Offers

    • Information through online forums and videos, in-person events, and written guides.
    • Connect with your neighbors: Hear testimonials and advice from community members who have already begun the transition.
    • Network of local contractors: Find contractors who understand your objectives and will work with you to give you good service.

What Else

The climate crisis is alarming, but each of us can make more of a difference than we imagine, and we can support each other as we go. So please join this effort and begin your electrification journey. Pass on the word to others in Lake Oswego about how they can become part of this community-wide effort. Check our Electrify LO Resources page and the website of our partner Electrify Now for detailed information.

The Inflation Reduction Act Makes Your Electrification Journey More Affordable

    The Inflation Reduction Act, signed by President Biden on August 16, represents the most important federal climate legislation ever signed into law. It is estimated that the bill will reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by about 40% below the nation’s previous peak. The law includes many ways to reduce the emissions from your home. Increased tax credits for rooftop solar are available immediately. After January 1, 2023 almost everyone is eligible for a $2000 tax credit for a heat pump space heater and another $2000 tax credit for a heat pump water heater. Other tax credits are available for upgrading your electrical panel, basic weatherization, and whole home energy reductions. Check out the calculator from Rewiring America to see what savings you are eligible for using the Rewire IRA Calculator. Depending on your income level these credits can add up to as much as $14,000. Rewiring America calculates that the average American family will save $1800 per year in energy costs by moving their cars and appliances away from fossil fuels to electricity.

    Electrification Journeys – Testimonials

    The Saylor Family Started with a Heat Pump

    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....

    read more
    Duke Castle’s Electrification Journey

    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...

    read more

    Wastewater Treatment Plant Project

    Wastewater Treatment Plant

    Wastewater Treatment Plant Project

    Overview

    Lake Oswego’s wastewater is currently treated at Portland’s Tryon Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (TCWTP) located in the Foothills area. The plant needs to be significantly upgraded or replaced to meet current and anticipated water quality discharge standards. The Cities of Lake Oswego and Portland are evaluating whether a new plant can be built for similar cost to upgrading the aging facility.

    Contact

    Partners

    Benefits

    The replacement of the Tryon Creek WWTP is a once in 50+ year opportunity to make a huge positive impact on our community’s carbon emissions. WWTP’s are typically one of the biggest emission sources in a municipality. Although wastewater treatment plants’ primary role is to treat sewage to meet water quality discharge standards, there is also a unique opportunity to produce energy from sewage.

    We are lucky in the Northwest to have some great examples of wastewater treatment facilities that have seen the benefits of incorporating sustainability.

    • Gresham, Oregon. Net zero. Produces all the energy it needs to run its wastewater treatment plant. Some of its features include: generation of energy from biosolids and locally sourced fats, oils and grease (FOG); solar power array, extraction of heat from the incoming sewage; water reuse; implementation of energy efficiency and conservation measures. 
    • Clean Water Services (Washington County, Oregon). Recognized for transitioning from a traditional wastewater treatment to comprehensive resource recovery and resiliency. 
    • Water Environment Services (WES), Clackamas County. In August 2021, WES installed a biopower generator that creates power and heat from the incoming sewage. 

    Goals

    Our goal is to have the facility include as many sustainability features as possible now and be future-focused by employing a design that allows the addition of sustainability features and doesn’t preclude innovation.

    LOSN has convened a group of citizens including members of the City’s Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB), former council members, and to encourage and support the city in making this the most sustainable facility possible. Some of the features already proposed by the project design are a new energy efficient process, AquaNereda that is also more compact and reuse of some of the water in the treatment process.

    We are focused on four primary recommendations to the city.

    1. Make Environmental site assessments of the existing site and proposed new site public:
    2. Transparent metrics. Assess environmental and sustainability benefits for use of solar, energy generation from biosolids, energy efficient facility design
    3. Be Future-Focused. Design to allow for sustainability attributes now and in the future such as solar, biosolid treatment, treatment of microplastics, pharmaceuticals and others
    4. Obtain a third-party sustainability review.

    Tryon Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Service Area

    Mayor Carson and students for Clean River Measure, 1938
    Photo courtesy of The Oregonian

    Community Solar

    Solar Panels

    Community Solar Project

    Overview

    Rooftop solar using photovoltaic cells is a great way to address climate change by moving off fossil fuel sources of electricity. However not everyone in Lake Oswego has good solar access. The answer then is to consider Community Solar.

    Most simply, community solar is solar energy that is generated from a central location and shared by multiple owners or subscribers. That means you don’t need your own rooftop panels to get the benefits of solar.

     Benefits of Community Solar

    • Supporting renewable energy, reducing emissions, and accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels.
    • Creating local power projects that increase regional grid resiliency.
    • Saving money on energy bills each month, with no up-front investment.

    Here’s how it works:

    1. Choose a solar project, sign up, and pay a monthly subscription fee for the energy generated by local solar panels. Solar projects can be developed by businesses, schools, churches, homeowners’ associations, and more!
    2. The solar project generates energy for the power grid.
    3. You get a credit back on your utility bill for your portion of energy generated by the project.

    Electric Landscaping

    Electric Landscaping

    Electric Landscaping Project

    Overview

    Communities all over the United States are targeting gas powered landscaping equipment in response to the significant noise and the air pollution they produce.

    One of LOSN’s projects is working with others in our community and the region to switch from gas powered landscaping equipment to electric landscaping equipment.

    Contact

    Kathleen Wiens  kwiens@losn.org

    Want to get involved?

    Email us

    Benefits of Switching to Electric Landscaping Equipment

    Small internal combustion engines, such as those found in lawnmowers and leaf blowers, emit more carbon emissions than larger, more fuel-efficient engines.

    Emission Equivalencies for Gas powered equipment

    In addition, this equipment is responsible for significant noise pollution which can lead to hearing loss and high stress levels. Operators of this equipment can be particularly affected by the noise and air pollution.

    Community members are taking their concerns to their cities and neighborhoods looking for solutions. In our tri-county area, a volunteer organization in Portland has formed QuietCleanPDX to educate and offer solutions about phasing out gas powered leaf blowers. Thus, beyond the benefits of directly addressing climate change by reducing carbon emissions, switching out gas powered landscaping equipment has major benefits for the well-being of our community.

    Lawn mower, leaf blower, chain saw
    Project Focus and Partners
    City of Lake Oswego transitioning to electric landscaping equipment

    Status: In 2021, Lake Oswego City Council Approves All Electric Landscaping Contracts

    On February 2, 2021, the City Council approved two 100% electric landscaping contracts that cover over 200 public areas in the City. This is a great first step towards reducing the hazardous air and noise pollution that is caused by gas-powered landscaping equipment. By actively transitioning away from gas-powered equipment and using electric equipment (and rakes) this will help create a greener and healthier place for the landscaping workers, community and the environment.

    You can read more about this decision in the Lake Oswego Review: Lake Oswego City Council approves switch to electric landscape equipment.

    The Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB) led the way to addressing the switch to electric landscaping equipment by submitting an options paper in August 2019 to Council for addressing local air and noise pollution from gas-powered landscape equipment. You can read the options paper by clicking here.

    The city continued to make strides in moving to a electric landscaping use during 2021 with the following:

    • Increased electric equipment inventory including: electric large area mower, blowers, weed eaters and chainsaws.
    • Used electric vehicles for work inside the parks.
    • Evaluated electric trucks for the city fleet.

    One of the Sustainability Advisory Board goals for the city for 2022 is:

    Accelerate the Transition Away from Gas-Powered Landscape Equipment

    SAB will continue to encourage a transition away from gas-powered landscape equipment (GPLE) to improve air quality, reduce noise pollution, and minimize health impacts from use of gas-powered engines. The City has already taken the important step of eliminating gas- powered equipment from its contracted landscape services for 200 city-owned sites and has replaced some of the gas-powered equipment used by Parks and Recreation and Public Works. SAB would like to partner with the City and affected stakeholders to facilitate a similar, voluntary transition for community groups, landscapers, and residents throughout the City.
    By taking action now to support a voluntary transition away from GPLE, the City can improve health impacts of affected stakeholders, while enabling these stakeholders to be well- positioned for compliance with future regional and/or State legislation that would eliminate GPLE equipment. SAB will review the actions neighboring cities are taking and will engage with residents and landscapers to inform our recommendations.
    SAB will implement this goal by creating a 1-3 year plan for the City to support the Lake Oswego community in transitioning away from GPLE, built on voluntary measures and educational outreach, informed by a community survey and engagement efforts, including options such as equipment demonstrations, voluntary trade-ins, bulk purchase discounts, incentives or rebates.

    Advocate and promote the use of electric landscaping equipment by residents, landscapers, and other organizations

    We are partnering with QuietCleanPDX, American Green Zone Alliance, and Quiet Communities Inc to make it easy for residents and other organizations to switch to electric landscaping equipment and hand tools. We work with the City to schedule PGE Electric Tool Exchange events in our city.

    Electric Yard Care Resources

    Check our Electrify LO Resources page for detailed information.

    Next Steps

    • Advertise events to swap out gas powered equipment for electric equipment for residents and landscaping businesses (PGE Tool Exchange)
    • Ongoing education through our newsletters and forums

     

    Testimonials

    Why We Made the Switch

    Why We Made the Switch

    Testimonial from Jeff & Kathleen Wiens

    For years it was frustrating trying to start our gas lawnmower and edger. Having to mix oil and gasoline, trying to find a funnel to fill it was always a hassle. The cloud of smoke and fumes made the process even more unpleasant. It was frustrating having to wipe the spilled gasoline off of our hands and ground.

    read more

    Multifamily EV Charging Project

    Multifamily EV Charging Project

    Background

    Gasoline and diesel propelled vehicles are one of the greatest sources of air pollution and contributors to the current climate crisis. One of the best answers to these concerns is the growing movement toward electric vehicles (EVs). The Lake Oswego City Council’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan has made support for the adoption of electric vehicles in our community a key goal. As the graph shows the adoption of EVs in Lake Oswego is rapidly accelerating.

    Most EV’s currently are recharged overnight in a homeowner’s garage. However, people who live in apartments and condominiums typically lack access to convenient charging.

    To address this concern the city’s Sustainability Advisory Board and the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network have formed a joint committee of citizen volunteers whose mission is to encourage and facilitate EV charging in our city’s multifamily dwellings.

    Contact

    Duke Castle  dukec@comcast.net

     

    Team Members

    • Duke Castle
    • Buzz Chandler
    • Bob Sack
    • Matt Schaeffer

    EVs: a Rapidly Growing Market

    • EVs is one of the fastest growing market segments and not just for the rich. Used EVs are available locally for under $10,000
    • California, Washington and several other states have set deadlines to stop the sale of new gas and diesel vehicles. General Motors, Ford and other automobile companies have responded by planning for an all-electric future.
    • Federal and State EV incentives are readily available including extra incentives for lower income families to make more EVs affordable now.
    • Virtually all new apartments being constructed in Lake Oswego are adding EV charging as an amenity to address this growing trend

    Reasons to Act Now

    Available Resources

    To help you get started here are some available resources:

    We would like to hear from you

    We will be making recommendations to our city council on what more the city can do to help you. Please contact us at info@losn.org to let us know how the city can support you.