SOURCE: Avista

February 28, 2012 16:04 ET

Energy Efficiency Repowering Washington's Workforce and Public Spaces

Stories Show How Local Businesses and Public Entities Are Saving Energy and Creating Jobs

BREMERTON, WA--(Marketwire - Feb 28, 2012) - Bremerton, WA, like many towns in the country, has been hit hard by the economic downturn. RePower (a multi-jurisdictional initiative in Bainbridge, Bremerton and Kitsap County) is a community-based effort helping create local jobs for contractors by offering in-home assessments and energy-efficiency improvements that increase the comfort, health and safety of local homes. Contractors, such as Mark Timmerman and Matthew Stefnik feel RePower's positive economic impact in Bremerton and throughout the county. The increased demand for residential energy-efficiency services allows contractors to hire more employees, expanding services and increasing overall revenue in the industry. In fact, in just one year, RePower has created 28 contractor jobs in Kitsap County -- 43 percent of the goal -- putting workers in the construction industry back to work and creating a clean energy economy in Kitsap County.

"The push to energy efficiency has created a lot of work that wasn't there for me as just a remodeling contractor," said Matthew Stefnik of Matthews Energy Services. "It's really helped my company be able to provide living wage jobs to seven individuals that weren't there before."

In Spokane, WA, the INB Performing Arts Center held great potential for energy efficiency upgrades given its age. Improving the efficiency of the facility would reduce the amount of electricity and natural gas used, thus helping to offset rising energy prices. And, efficiency improvements would meet the Sustainability Goal of implementing conservation measures that would reduce energy use. Partnering with their energy provider Avista Utilities, the SPFD received guidance, technical expertise and financial incentives for efficiency improvements to the INB Performing Arts Center and the newer Spokane Convention Center. The results of the improvements at just those two facilities have been impressive -- reducing electric use by almost 2.7 million kilowatt hours and natural gas by almost 96,000 therms. That's enough energy to power 225 homes for a year and provide natural gas to 130 homes."

"The Spokane Public Facilities District and Dave Gebhardt put their core values into practice every day as they manage their facilities for sustainability and energy efficiency," said Doug Kelley, regional account manager for Avista Utilities. "Their vision and commitment benefits not only their facilities and guests, but also our community."

The companies, organizations and communities and their inspiring stories of energy efficiency are featured in videos produced by Climate Solutions, a Northwest-based clean energy economy nonprofit, who is spearheading the Solutions Stories project. The Solutions Stories project captures and communicates clean energy economy success stories happening now in the Northwest, including progress on clean energy and energy efficiency.

"Energy efficiency creates real wins and savings. There are enormous benefits that can result from modest public support in energy efficiency upgrades," said Climate Solutions Washington State Director Jessica Finn Coven. "This year, we could see even more of this public benefit and job creation from the State Legislature, and that would give more communities the opportunity for success like in Bremerton and Spokane."

The two videos stories are:


View the inspiring story here or use this embed code:


Watch how they are meeting their goals here or use this embed code:

Additional information about each story and other solutions stories can be found at

Climate Solutions is a Northwest-based clean energy economy nonprofit that works to accelerate practical and profitable solutions to global warming by galvanizing leadership, growing investment and bridging divides. Since 1998, Climate Solutions has pioneered the vision and cultivated political leadership in the Northwest for the proposition that clean energy and broadly-shared economic prosperity can go hand-in-hand. Through our like Business Leaders, New Energy Cities and Harvesting Clean Energy programs, Climate Solutions builds a powerful constituency for local, regional and national action on climate and clean energy.

RePower is a community-wide program dedicated to helping homeowners save energy, reduce costs, make their home more comfortable and more sustainable future. RePower provides in-home energy assessments, energy-efficiency financing and incentives, and a local, skilled workforce to make achieving these goals easier and more affordable.

In July 2010, the Cities of Bremerton and Bainbridge Island received a BetterBuildings award from U.S. Department of Energy. Bremerton and Bainbridge were two of 20 communities selected in the nation to receive funding for energy efficiency. With this award, the cities and key partners have come together to implement RePower. RePower Bremerton launched in September 2011, using the model that Bainbridge Island, WA developed with their RePower Bainbridge program. RePower Kitsap is funded by two separate grants. In December 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded a grant to Kitsap County and in October 2010, Washington State University's Energy Program and the Department of Commerce were awarded a BetterBuildings grant, also from the U.S. Department of Energy. These grants are funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the State Energy Program (SEP). With these grants, the County and key partners have come together to implement RePower Kitsap.

Avista Corp. is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities is our operating division that provides electric service to 360,000 customers and natural gas to 321,000 customers. Our service territory covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.5 million. Avista's primary, non-utility subsidiary is Ecova, an energy and sustainability management company with more than 500 multi-site commercial and utility customers, representing more than 450,000 sites.

The Spokane Public Facilities District's mission is to operate the finest public assembly facilities and provide the highest quality of Guest Services in a manner that ensures profitable operations and financial sustainability, returns value to the stakeholders, and maximizes economic impact to the Inland Northwest.

All videos were produced in partnership with Hal Calbom Communications.

Contact Information

  • For more info:
    Kimberly Larson,
    Climate Solutions
    Email Contact
    206-443-9570 x36

    Molly Brumley
    Colehour + Cohen, RePower
    Email Contact

    Debbie Simock
    Avista Corp.
    Email Contact
    509- 495-8031