Reducing the impact of the built environment on the natural world...

By Megan Kramer: Performance Homes Consultant

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While Living in Bend, Oregon in the early 2000's I was frustrated at the towns rate of growth and the skyrocketing housing prices. I decided to get involved with a tour of "green" homes that was taking place to learn more about how town could be developed in a better way. I met some incredible designers, architects, builders and other early adopters of efficient building practices. 

After heading back east and completing graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University where I earned a Master's in Green Design I found myself packing my Subaru and heading straight back to Bend where I had been offered a job with 3EStrategies coordinating the annual home tour that had sparked my interest with efficient building a few years prior. This event is now run by the High Desert Branch of the US Green Building Council, a group I was fortunate to be a part of since inception along with some exceptional local leaders in the industry.

When I moved back to Bend in 2006 the economy was suffering and a lot of folks were loosing their homes, they certainly were not building new ones at the rate everyone thought was an inevitable constant just a few year before. I was hired by Energy Trust of Oregon to recruit and train contractors, educate homeowners and conserve energy in the existing homes market. The opportunities were limitless but I had to face my fear of crawlspaces, learn to walk very carefully in attics and train contractors how to test homes using diagnostic equipment, air seal, duct seal and insulate while ensuring the heath and safety of the occupants. 

After a few years of program work, Mountain View Heating brought me on to implement Home Performance with Energy Star at their firm. We tested houses, partnered with an insulation company and taught duct sealers how to air seal. I developed a great respect for the industry and learned to communicate with installers, size equipment, design distribution systems and mediate homeowner expectations.

When I was offered a position managing a low-income weatherization program, I took the opportunity to expand my knowledge and experience by working with a different housing stock, client base and funding structure. I continued consulting with Neighbor Impact when my husbands job brought us to north central Washington. I am fortunate to be based in a small town while offering support to clients on a global scale.  

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I started Megan Kramer Consulting and started with just a few client. I made some local connections with the Sustainable Living and Farming Tour which lead me to Upper Valley MEND and the community land trust model specifically the Meadowlark project. I worked with their team to write a grant application requiring efficient design. I was geared up to offer HERs ratings and get the homes certified through Energy Star when MEND decided they were not in a position to implement the project as planned. I also work with Wenatchee River institute promoting events such as the Sustainable Living and Farming Tour and Bird Fest.  

On the commercial side, I am working with Freedom Energy Corporation reducing the energy use of public schools in California. We are fortunate to be tapping into Prop 39 funds through the California Energy Commission. From lighting upgrades and shell measures to full heating and cooling equipment retrofits we evaluate existing conditions, recommend upgrades and secure funding.

UPDATE: I am now a HERS Rater with over a dozen completed projects earning Utility Rebates, BuiltGreen Certifications and even the EnergyStar Homes Certification.