Portland Homeowner Shares the Steps to an Enhabit Home

This Portland, Oregon home has been extensively updated with energy efficiency upgrades as well as a seismic retrofit. Portland, Oregon homeowner Laura Parisi finds peace of mind in a home with the whole package: energy efficiency, solar panels, and a seismic retrofit—all thanks to Enhabit.

The cape cod home nestled in a North Portland neighborhood was built in 1943—a rarity, as not many homes were built during World War II. It was a classic home, but lacked the modern features found in newer houses.

With an inefficient heating system and drafty rooms, Laura (alongside her husband and dogs Calla and River) were more than ready to make their home a better place to live.

Laura took three big steps to make her home a comfortable, safe, efficient haven.

Step 1: Identifying the problem.

Relying on oil heating was a burden. It was expensive, difficult to manage, and most of all—uncomfortable.

Filling an oil take is not a pleasant task. Laura recalls smelling fumes similar to that of jet fuel filling her house and the surrounding area. Even the neighbors would complain of the smell.

On another level, Laura’s drafty upstairs bedroom felt anything but homey.

“During winter, I would have to sleep in my sleeping bag under a down comforter in order to stay warm,” she says.

After making it through the night, she made a mad dash out of a warm shower to a freezing cold room, only to open a closet of freezing cold clothing.

Laura couldn’t take living that way anymore; it was time for a change. Who did she turn to in order to take the next step? Enhabit.

Step 2: Energy efficiency upgrades.

In 2013, Laura began her first project with Enhabit (then known as Clean Energy Works). She was paired with partner contractor Balanced Energy Solutions, who installed a comprehensive package of energy efficiency upgrades, including air sealing, attic insulation and ventilation, a new heating system, gas conversion (from oil), new water heater, and rim joist insulation.

The bedroom transformed into a much more comfortable space, and Laura’s days of smelly oil tanks were long gone.

“It’s important to me that the house isn’t leaking everywhere, and it feels good knowing it’s a more efficient home than it once was,” says Laura.

But, she wasn’t done yet.

Step 3: Solar panels and a seismic retrofit.

A couple of years later, in 2015, Laura took her humble abode to the next level: installing solar panels and getting earthquake-ready with a seismic retrofit.

She came back to Enhabit to take advantage of additional service offerings. This time around, she was paired with partner contractor Neil Kelly.

Laura’s home renewal journey continued with the addition of solar panels on her roof and an earthquake-readiness upgrade: bolting her home to her foundation, easing her fears of a looming Pacific Northwest earthquake.

Laura says she never wants to live in another house without all of these features: “It’s worth it. I feel better. Most importantly, I feel safer in my home.”

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Calla and River love their Enhabit home, too!


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