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Vital Communities Partners with Eight Towns for Third Round of Weatherize Upper Valley

Weatherize Orford-Piermont-Lyme Team at the kick-off event at the Rivendell School in January, 2018. Image: Molly Drummond.

January 8, 2019 – An annual program hosted by nonprofit Vital Communities is helping many homeowners keep out the cold this winter, with more than 200 homes weatherized since 2016. Eight more New Hampshire towns join the effort in 2019 (Canaan, Enfield, Andover, Newbury, New London, Sutton, Warner and Wilmot) with kick-off events scheduled in late January.

Weatherize Upper Valley works by teaming up community volunteers with certified weatherization contractors to make it easier and more affordable to reduce energy costs and improve home comfort through air sealing and insulation upgrades. Residents in participating towns can start the process with a $100 energy audit (often priced over $400) available between now and March 15. Participants who commit to an energy efficiency project by May 31st will be entered to win $500 toward project costs.

Throughout the program, volunteers and Vital Communities staff offer homeowners personal support and encouragement. “Without their help we never would have done this on our own,” reflected one 2018 Orford participant. “I hope Vital Communities keeps the program going to help others in the Upper Valley.”

Vital Communities is answering that call with 2019 Weatherize campaigns launching this month. Weatherize Canaan and Enfield will host a public kick-off event on Saturday, January 19, at Mascoma Valley Regional High School from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. A Weatherize Kearsarge kick-off event is planned for Saturday, January 26, at the Kearsarge Community Presbyterian Church in New London from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Interested residents are encouraged to attend to learn more about home energy efficiency and the Weatherize process, meet their community’s certified weatherization contractors, and talk with neighbors who have already completed home energy efficiency projects.

Communities beyond the Upper Valley are taking note and building on the region’s Weatherize success. In 2018, Vital Communities helped Efficiency Vermont incorporate the Weatherize Upper Valley model into its statewide Button Up campaign, generating hundreds of participants throughout Vermont. In 2019, energy committees in New Hampshire’s Mt.Washington Valley, Monadnock region, and North Country are working with Vital Communities to launch Weatherize campaigns of their own.

“When we developed the Weatherize model in 2016, we knew we wanted to create something that could be shared beyond the Upper Valley,” explained Sarah Brock of Vital Communities, whose idea for Weatherize was inspired by the success of Solarize Upper Valley, which helped more than 300 homeowners go solar in 2014 and 2015. “It means so much to see our work go on to help more people than we could ever have helped on your own.”

In the midst of Weatherize and Solarize success, Vital Communities has also become an accidental yet enthusiastic local resource for all questions about home energy. Brock and her staff frequently respond to calls from Upper Valley residents looking for friendly, unbiased energy advice. “Sometimes people just don’t know where to begin,” explains Brock. “That’s something we can help anyone with!”

Vital Communities, a nonprofit organization based in White River Junction, Vt., brings together citizens, organizations, and municipalities to take on issues where an independent voice and regional approach are essential. Working together, we make our region a better place to live, work, and play. Learn more at VitalCommunities.org.

For more information, contact Paige Heverly, Energy and Transportation Project Coordinator for VitalCommunities.org, 802-291-9100 x 114.

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