With 2017 still reasonably fresh, a quick survey of our colleagues and peers reveals an unusual unanimity: 2016 was not a great—or even a good—year.
Many people are referencing the presidential election, an emotionally charged and historic event by any standards. Given this country’s two-party dichotomy, it’s tempting to see the other party’s win—whoever that “other” might be—as confirmation of the either/or paradigm: Either “we” win it all, or “we” lose it all, and are resigned to gritting our teeth for the next four years.
But this convenient dualism masks some very important truths. For one, the decisions that most affect affordable housing and sustainability are increasingly made at state and local—not federal—levels.
Likewise, though the new administration shows every intention of thwarting the types of climate change initiatives we believe so passionately in, the reality is that sustainable energy is here to stay. Given the economic truths associated with cleaner sources of energy—whether they be rapidly expanding renewables like wind or solar, or less impactful sources like hydro—it is very unlikely that the next four years will see a large-spread return to coal. And the depressed state of the fossil fuel industry— globally, oil and gas prices are at extended lows—disincentivizes their exploitation in the near- to mid-term future.
That’s not to say that we don’t face grave, even extreme challenges on the path towards housing equality and energy sustainability. But last year’s election did not stop our progress or reverse our gains; our goals and targets are just as clear and achievable now as they were on November 7th.
With this in mind, we want to close by sharing a few of the reasons 2016 was a very GOOD year. In the last calendar year, MPower Oregon’s sustainability and efficiency upgrades to some 243 affordable housing units yielded some very tangible results. On average, our projects an average utility cost savings of 36%. In real numbers, this was:
- 746,483 kWh of electricity saved. This is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from 111 passenger cars driven for one year, or put another way, driving a single car 1,257,310 miles.
- 854,614 gallons of water saved. This represented the equivalent of 47 swimming pools.
- $62,530 in annual utilities costs, an average savings of $257 per unit, or $21.50/month put towards other purposes.
- In addition, MPower issued $73,000 in grants and accessed $154,606 in incentives
We’re proud of what we accomplished this past year, and grateful for the support of our many allies and partners. Against what might appear to be a dismal backdrop, we’re excited to push even farther in 2017!