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Environment and Outdoors

Portland Initiative Aims To Reduce Carbon Footprint With Heat Pumps, Solar Panels, EV Chargers

California Solar Panels
Rich Pedroncelli
/
AP
FILE-- In this Oct. 16, 2015 file photo a solar panel is installed on the roof of the Old Governor's Mansion State Historic Park in Sacramento, Calif.

Maine's largest city has launched a new initiative to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

Portland's 'Electrify Everything' campaign will use bulk purchasing to lower the cost of heat pumps, solar panels, and electric vehicle chargers for businesses and homeowners.

Heating and cooling buildings accounts for 60% of carbon emissions in Portland, says sustainability director Troy Moon. In order for the city to reduce its fossil fuel use, Moon says, electrification is essential.

The Electrify Everything campaign is modeled after other community initiatives across the US to weatherize and solarize homes and buildings. Portland is currently seeking vendors that will provide equipment such as heat pumps, solar panels and EV chargers at a reduced cost to participating small businesses and homeowners.

"People often wonder what can they do to help work on climate change, what impact can they have as an individual? Certainly electrifying your home and reducing emissions in that regard is one really important way to do that," Moon says.

Moon says the goal is to have a minimum of 100 homeowners make at least one change through the program to reduce their carbon footprint. After contracting with vendors and an education campaign, Moon expects installation of appliances will begin next spring. He says Portland will ensure its program is accessible to low income households.