Efficiency Vermont launches home energy challenge for 2013

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BRATTLEBORO -- Efficiency Vermont has launched a year-long effort designed to encourage more Vermonters to make their homes more energy efficient. So far, 62 towns from across the state have signed on to the "2013 Vermont Home Energy Challenge," and the enthusiasm continues to build. Windham County towns participating in the Challenge include Brattleboro, Rockingham, Putney, Guilford, Halifax, Townshend, and Windham.

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 in their community over the course of a year and fostering more public awareness and engagement in energy efficiency efforts. They will be able to measure their progress toward this goal along with that of other communities in their region and across the state. At the end of 2013, towns, regions, and local partners will be recognized for the effectiveness of their efforts to encourage participation in their communities. 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 Home Energy Challenge is designed to build on the focus and enthusiasm of community groups that are engaging with their friends and neighbors around energy issues every day," said Jim Merriam, Director of Efficiency Vermont. "Over the course of 2013 - and beyond - we will continue to seek innovative ways to support these efforts, and we are hoping that the Challenge will help inspire even more action to increase energy efficiency at the local level."

"The Challenge is all about neighbors helping neighbors reduce their home heating bills while making their homes more comfortable", said Paul Cameron, Director of Brattleboro Climate Protection and regional coordinator for the Challenge. "The average Vermont homeowner can cut their energy bills by 20 to 30 percent through a home energy project. 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."

Financial incentives are available from Efficiency Vermont and the federal government for homeowners looking to weatherize their homes, and the local Home Energy Challenge is offering additional incentives to residents. Homeowners in participating towns can sign up for a free energy visit during 2013. Trained volunteers will visit homes to review home heating usage, identify energy-saving opportunities, and help homeowners find resources to reduce energy bills. Several local contractors are offering formal energy audits for $250, with the money credited to the homeowner or landlord if they move forward with at least $2,000 worth of additional work, such as insulating and air sealing. Local towns participating in the Challenge are looking for volunteers to perform energy visits and to help with other tasks. A required volunteer training is scheduled for Wednesday, February 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Brattleboro Union High School Multipurpose Room, 131 Fairground Road.

To sign up for a free energy visit or to volunteer for the Home Energy Challenge, contact Paul Cameron at 802-251-8135 or pcameron@brattleboro.org. For information on home energy projects, including incentives, contact Efficiency Vermont at 1-888-921-5990.

To learn more about the Vermont Home Energy Challenge statewide and locally, visit www.efficiencyvermont.com/homeenergychallenge and www.brattleboroenergychallenge.org. The Brattleboro Home Energy Challenge is sponsored by Brattleboro Climate Protection and the Brattleboro Energy Committee.



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