Thursday May 9, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Homeowners and landlords interested in saving money on their heating bills are invited to a group tour of four Brattleboro homes on Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Diverse in size, style and age, the homes have all been retrofitted to save energy. The contractors and homeowners will be on hand to talk about the energy-saving features of each home.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for folks to see a wide variety of energy-efficient homes in their community, and to learn from contractors and homeowners about how to cut energy bills," said Paul Cameron, director of Brattleboro Climate Protection, one of the organizers of the tour. "The typical Vermonter can reduce their energy bills by 20 to 30 percent through a home efficiency project, an average annual savings of $1,000."

The tour will feature the homes of Caleb Clark, Abby Mnookin, Todd Smith, and Chris Chapman. Tour participants will meet in the Brattleboro Food Co-op parking lot at 2 Main Street by 10 a.m., and caravan to the homes from there.

The tour is part of the 2013 Vermont Home Energy Challenge, a statewide effort to make more Vermont homes and apartments energy-efficient, sponsored by Efficiency Vermont. More than 75 towns statewide have signed up for the Challenge, including nine in Windham County.

Under the Challenge, which is being promoted in partnership with the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network and other organizations throughout the state, towns are setting a target of weatherizing 3 percent of the homes and apartments and fostering more public awareness and engagement in energy efficiency efforts. Windham County towns participating in the Challenge are aiming to weatherize at least 332 homes and apartments in 2013.

If the Challenge is successful, it will have a major impact. Efficiency Vermont estimates that it could result in more than 2,400 home comprehensive energy efficiency projects -- and produce more than $2 million dollars in annual energy savings. This is the equivalent of saving enough energy to heat 400 Vermont homes for an entire year. It could also result in a 5,000 ton reduction in CO2 emissions, the equivalent of taking 900 cars off the road.

"The Challenge is all about neighbors helping neighbors reduce their home heating bills while making their homes more comfortable," said Cameron. "This is a great opportunity to save money, reduce carbon pollution and our dependence on foreign oil, while creating jobs and supporting our local economy."

For more information on the Vermont Home Energy Challenge, contact Cameron at (802) 251-8135 or pcameron@brattleboro.org, or visit brattleborochallenge.org and efficiencyvermont/homeenergychallenge.