By Sarah Brock, Vital Communities
Remember Solarize Upper Valley? Two years, 24 towns, dozens of volunteers, and over 370 new solar homes. The last round of Solarize ended in late 2015. Now Vital Communities is back with Weatherize Upper Valley, kicking off in 14 Vermont towns this January.
Home energy efficiency projects are the best kept secret in home improvement. These projects are often less than half the cost of a solar array, with a better payback to boot. A typical home energy project costs between $6,000 and $12,000, with heating costs savings of 20-35%. Rebates of up to $2,500 in Vermont and up to $4,000 in New Hampshire make it even more cost-effective, not to mention the benefits of increased home comfort. Say goodbye to drafts and cold spots!
Yet, many homeowners have never considered making home energy improvements. Weatherize Upper Valley seeks to change that, aiming to double the number of home energy projects completed annually in the Upper Valley over the next two years.
When Vital Communities sets out with a goal of this magnitude, they don’t go it alone. Beginning in March 2016, the White River Junction-based non-profit convened a working group of nine contractors, seven energy committees, and seven Vermont energy program partners, including Efficiency Vermont, to develop a shared vision and pilot program.
This Weatherize work group opted to eliminate the home energy audit from the program in favor of a free home walk-through, reasoning that more people will participate if there is no upfront cost. Any necessary preliminary testing will instead be wrapped into the overall project scope. Weatherize also features prizes from Efficiency Vermont for homeowners who sign on before the program deadline.
How Weatherize Works:
- Sign up and choose from a list of participating local contractors.
- Get a FREE professional consultation, home walk through, and quote.
- Sign a contract by May 31, 2017.
- Three chances to win up to $2,500 toward your energy project.
Residents of Weatherize Upper Valley’s 14 pilot towns are invited to attend their team’s kick-off event to learn about the program and meet your team’s partner contractors.
- Weatherize White River Team (Bethel, Royalton, and Sharon) – Kick-off Event Tuesday, January 17.
- Weatherize Connecticut River Team (Hartland, Hartford, Thetford, and Norwich) – Kick-off Event Wednesday, January 18.
- Weatherize Randolph Team (Randolph, Brookfield, and Braintree) – Kick-off Event Saturday, January 21.
- Weatherize Ascutney Team (Cavendish, Reading, Weathersfield, and Windsor) – Kick-off Event Saturday, January 28.
Seven Vermont home performance contractors are participating in this first round, including 5 Star Energy Tech, Building Energy, Montpelier Construction, Peachtree Builders, Solsaa Building and Energy Solutions, Van de Ven Construction, and Vermont Foam Insulation.
For more information about Weatherize Upper Valley program and the January kick-off events, visit VitalCommunities.org/Weatherize.
Sarah Brock is the Energy Program Manager at Vital Communities. Contact her at Sarah@VitalCommunities.org or (802) 291-9100.