Urge Oregon's lawmakers to fight for clean buildings

You might not realize it, but Oregon's buildings – the places we work, go out to eat, and the cozy houses or apartments we and our families sleep in – are the 2nd largest source of climate pollution in our state. Buildings are also our first line of defense against the ever-worsening impacts of climate change like recent wildfires, heat waves, and ice storms, offering us shelter, heating, or cooling – they should contain everything we need to protect ourselves in case of a climate emergency.

Sadly, toxic "natural" gas still powers most of Oregon's buildings, placing us and our loved ones at higher risk of developing debilitating health conditions. Our state has fallen behind neighboring states regarding policies and incentives for resilient, climate friendly homes & buildings.

We need every voice to urge our elected officials to pass bills for cleaner, healthier, and safer homes & buildings powered by clean energy – like solar power, or wind. Can we count on you to do your part by signing this petition to Oregon lawmakers now?
Dear lawmaker,

Buildings make up 34% of our state's energy usage, and as we currently stand, the majority of buildings in Oregon use so-called "natural" methane gas to power their appliances and heating systems. Burning this fossil fuel releases toxic chemicals throughout any building that runs on methane, sharply increasing the risk of asthma and other dangerous medical conditions affecting the heart and lungs for anyone regularly inhaling the carcinogenic gas. The groups most impacted by the dangers of "natural" gas are low-income and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) communities, who are more likely to live in areas with higher pollution levels and suffer higher rates of negative health consequences. Just as dire, children are the most vulnerable demographic to suffer from detrimental effects on health caused by "natural" gas in homes. We demand clean & healthy, climate change-ready buildings so ultra-wealthy gas mega-polluters are no longer able to poison our kids.

We can't allow this injustice and public health crisis to continue in Oregon. The sooner that Oregon can update our homes & buildings to withstand climate change's increasing harms and run on efficient, clean energy, the sooner we can significantly reduce our state's climate pollution and safeguard the health of thousands in the process. 

We're asking you to pass a bill which will:

  • Require newly constructed homes and buildings to be more energy efficient – saving us money on utility bills and protecting us from increasingly severe heat waves and wildfire smoke.

  • Require new homes and buildings to be all-electric, ending the use of methane "natural" gas for heating, hot water, and cooking.

  • Provide incentives and remove barriers for Oregonians with polluting gas furnaces, water heaters, and stoves, to install more efficient, all-electric heat pumps and other appliances.

  • Provide incentives to retrofit existing homes with better insulation, windows, and other upgrades to waste less energy and be more climate-resilient.

  • Make sure a majority of incentives are given to low-and middle-income people first, prioritizing Black, Indigenous, and people of color who have been historically excluded from investments.

  • End subsidies for pipelines and appliances that expand the use of methane "natural" gas in homes and buildings.

  • Create and expand workforce programs to train Oregonians in the booming fields of construction, energy efficiency, and electrification, to fill good-paying jobs in the clean building economy.

The best part about clean energy is that switching to using it over fossil fuels brings only net-positive outcomes. Electric energy from wind and solar is less risky than methane "natural" gas, which can easily ignite to cause disastrous explosions from gas pipeline leaks. These pipelines cost a ton of money to set up and perform maintenance on, while clean energy options are cheaper as well as easier to install and upkeep. Coupled with the fact that clean energy wastes less power than gas, clean energy-centered homes and buildings would save Oregon residents countless dollars on utility bills. For example, all-electric heat pump cooling systems have been proven to heat and cool residences far quicker than standard gas heaters and AC units, using less energy, and in turn, saving money.

Meanwhile, giant fossil fuel companies like NW Natural are trying to increase fossil fuel burning in our buildings as they simultaneously plan on unfairly hiking gas rates. By phasing out the burning of dangerous fossil fuels in our buildings, we'll save the people of Oregon money, create healthier environments to live and work, take power away from fossil fuel megapolluters, slash our state's emissions, and open the doors to the long list of benefits and possibilities we could achieve by embracing clean energy sources. With so many great outcomes awaiting us, the time for Oregon's transition to clean, healthy, liveable homes & buildings in Oregon is here!

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