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Healthy Energy Improvements for Rental Housing

visionlogo4sm.jpgThursday February 13, 2014  -  12:00pm - 4:30pm

Thurston County Public Health & Social Services

412 Lilly Rd NE, Olympia, WA


Click Here to Read the "Report to the Community"



The Program:

Presenting the Vision:

Steve Abercrombie, President of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild – South Sound Chapter



And a panel of local experts:

  • Andrew Barkis, Hometown Property Management
  • Shelley Westall, a private Landlord
  • Wayne Ballew, Puget Sound Energy
  • Aisheh Al louzi, A Renter
  • Ramsey Zimmerman, Thurston Energy
  • Kyle Kennemore, Echo Energy

The presentations will set the stage for lively, generative “world café” breakout sessions to explore the business case and forge partnerships to empower landlords and renters to make improvements.

Admission: $20/person in advance, or $25 at the door. EXCEPT!  Lunch is FREE for landlords, property managers and renters – thanks to our sponsors!

For more information, please visit or call 360.789.9669.

Click Here to Register Now


The Panelists:

copy_of_abercrombiepic.jpgSteve Abercrombie, President - Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, South Sound Chapter

Steve is an energy and sustainability professional with more than 10 years experience as a sustainability consultant, educator, and change maker throughout the Pacific Northwest, nationally, and internationally. Steve currently serves as the President of the South Sound Chapter of the NW EcoBuilding Guild and works as a Project Manager for Innovate Washington’s Smart Buildings Center initiative.  His current work focuses on commercial energy efficiency retrofits and regional data collection to support regional energy efficiency innovation. Previously, Steve’s experience has ranged from consulting for major retailers and financial institutions, to building cob, straw bale, and light clay structures with Tennessee’s red clay. Steve teaches about the built environment at The Evergreen State College; he also has a Master's degree from Evergreen and a BA from University of Washington. He is a LEED Accredited Professional and is an associate member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Steve lives with his wife in Olympia, and they are upgrading their 1980’s home for health and efficiency as well as preparing their garden for the coming growing season.

KyleKennemore.jpgKyle Kennemore, Echo Energy

Kyle is an expert in home performance contracting, co-owns ECHO Energy with Johnny Cooley. Prior to ECHO Energy, Kyle worked as a residential and commercial cable installer for Comcast and before that, a cowboy. Living most of his life in Thurston County Kyle has a special place in his heart for the community.  "I can’t tell you how great it feels to have a customer call us up out of the blue just to tell us thank you for the work that we did and that their utility bill went down but their level of comfort went up."  With passion for innovative technology and building science Kyle prides himself in working with customers to develop priority based energy efficient upgrades.

AndrewBarkis2.jpgAndrew Barkis, owner - Hometown Property Management

Andrew has been in the property management profession since 1989, starting as an Apartment manger in Seattle and going on to work for a very large Property management firm in Spokane in the mid 90’s.  He returned in 1996 and has been managing single family homes in Thurston County for 18 years.  In 2004 he and his business partner purchased Hometown Property Management, currently managing over 1000 single family homes. He is a certified Master Property Manager for the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), and Hometown is a CRMC(Certified Residential Management Company, currently held by only 52 companies nationwide.  Andrew is very active in our local community serving on many boards and organizations including the Thurston County Boys and Girls Club, The Thurston Economic Development Council BRC board and the Washington State National Federation of Independent Business Leadership Council.  He and his wive Lisa have been married for 21 years and are the proud parents of two sons, Cameron and Evan. We love the area we live in and spend as much time as we can enjoying our community's recreational resources and the beautiful outdoors.

shelleypic.jpgShelley Westall, Private Landlord

Shelley Westall, a native Olympian, has a decade of experience buying and selling homes in Thurston County. Her interest in real estate investments and interior design led her to change from a successful career in state government to one as a professional real estate agent.  Shelley's commitment to public service is the cornerstone of her relationship with her clients. She has served the citizens of Thurston County and Washington State as a special assistant to two Governors. In that capacity, she worked on the Governor's Early Learning Commission, the Senate Long-Term Care Commission, and statewide projects to improve access to health care and support of veterans.

WBallewpic.jpgWayne Ballew, Efficiency Outreach Coordinator, Puget Sound Energy (PSE)

Wayne Ballew was promoted to Efficiency Outreach Coordinator serving Thurston, Pierce and Lewis counties, in early December 2013.   Wayne is responsible for linking local governments and community entities with PSE’s energy efficiency programs to increase efficiency in facilities, residents’ homes and businesses. Wayne is active in the community promoting PSE’s products and services at trade shows, fairs, educational workshops and trainings, as well as providing presentations to a variety of audiences.   Previously Wayne served as Senior Energy Advisor for over two years. Wayne provided consultation on energy efficiency and offered solutions for saving money every month.  Prior to joining PSE, Wayne spent over 10 years as a production manager for Masco Contractor Services, a nationwide leader in building product installation.   He is a current participant in the Leadership Thurston County program, and serves on the Board of Directors for Homes First, a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing for low income families.   A Thurston County native, Wayne enjoys sea kayaking, hiking, backcountry backpacking and playing bass guitar.

Aishehpic2.jpgAisheh Al louzi, A Renter

Aisheh has a unique professional and educational background.  Her passion about public service, environmental causes, and sustainability issues led her to study and obtain her Masters of Public Administration Degree from Evergreen State College and Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Jordan. She is active in our local community through lots of volunteer work. Currently she works with the Department of Social And Health Services in a temporary position and volunteers for the Olympia Police Department. In her spare time, she loves to run, play and watch sports, read, cook, and spend time with her 4 year old son Daniel, who keeps her very busy!


Ramsey Zimmerman, Thurston Energy Program Director

Ramsey works with residents and businesses to save energy and save money by enabling energy efficiency improvements on residential, commercial and other properties.  He directs the program design, service model, marketing, finance and operations of the Program. Ramsey also directs the Pacific Five-county Energy Efficiency (Pac 5 Energy) Program, which is applying Thurston Energy’s “Pathway to Savings” model to the communities of Mason, Lewis, Pacific, and Grays Harbor Counties.

Ramsey joined the EDC Team in December of 2009. Ramsey has invested his career in advancing energy efficiency, renewable energy, green building and recycling practices as a means to make businesses more successful. He has a MBA from the University of Michigan and a BA in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia.


Healthy Energy Improvements for Rental Housing

Background Information for Symposium Feb. 13, 2014

By Chris van Daalen


Due to the Recession, foreclosures, as well as income and population demographic trends, more people than ever are renting rather than owning their homes.  Because of high energy and healthcare costs, more renters are looking for and demanding homes that are affordable, energy efficient and healthful living environments.  Some rental properties may be poorly insulated or maintained, leading to higher energy bills and poor indoor air quality.  This is especially difficult for many low- and moderate-income families, as well as elderly people on fixed incomes - the people who can least afford the financial and health burden this creates.  Demand for rentals is growing nationwide:  It is estimated that 5-6 million new renter households will form in the next 10 years[1].  While some government policies and programs exist to protect the health of the least vulnerable, a market-based solution will be critical if we hope to encourage healthy efficiency improvements to properties in the middle of the rental market.

Let’s build a Market-Based Solution


Thurston Energy and similar projects have successfully built a value proposition to convince homeowners to make healthy energy improvements.  Yet, incentivizing owners of rental homes (absentee owners) has proved more of a challenge: even if landlords want to make such improvements, they often find the investment hard to justify because energy cost savings accrue to the renter, not to the owner.  There are obvious social, environmental and economic benefits of such investments, but those accrue mostly to society as a whole, again not directly to the rental property owner[2].  This “split incentive” problem is a recognized market failure which has a dampening effect on healthy energy investments in rentals (HEIRs)[3].

To bridge the gap, a team of local stakeholders came together in late 2013 to explore whether a combination of market-based strategies could offer a more compelling return on investment scenario to landlords, while empowering renters to choose more efficient healthy homes.

This conversation and initiative was sparked from a dialogue at a previous Vision2Action Symposium in October 2012.

This paper provides background information to inform our ongoing conversation.


[1] Bipartisan Policy Center:  Infographic:  Supply and Demand in Rental Housing.  Washington DC: January 2013  Click Here to open.

[2] Elevate Energy. Preserving Affordable Housing through Energy Efficiency: Non-Energy Benefits of Energy Efficiency Building Improvements.  Click here to open.

[3] Minnesota Community Action Partnership, Rental Housing Energy Efficiency Work Group.  Energy Efficiency in

Rental Housing January 2011.  Click here to open.

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