Home weatherizing makes good sense

This Shelburne home installed the solar panel, on the left, for energy efficiency.

This Shelburne home installed the solar panel, on the left, for energy efficiency.

By Laurie Caswell-Burke

Recently, the Shelburne Energy Committee joined the statewide Home Energy Challenge spearheaded by Efficiency Vermont. This is a year-long effort to engage more Vermonters in conserving energy and moving our state closer to the goal of weatherizing 80,000 homes by 2020 and obtaining 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.

In April, members of the Energy Committee distributed literature to homes in the Hullcrest and Juniper Ridge neighborhoods and have invited Shelburne residents to try to win a free home energy audit worth $350. To inspire folks to participate they have made it very simple.  All residents have to do is describe in 250 words or fewer why their home needs one.  While it may be harder to think about saving energy while the weather is much warmer, this is the time to plan for weatherizing. That way next fall and winter some of your money can go into the bank instead of up the chimney. The deadline is June 30 for your submission.

This year the Energy Committee also offered free “curbside” infrared scans for residents interested in knowing where their home is leaking air. The response was good. Russ Flanigan of Perkins Design Build conducted scans at a dozen homes and committee members are in the process of following up with those homeowners to help them take the next steps toward energy efficiency.

Next up the committee is focused on telling the stories of Shelburne neighbors who have reaped the rewards of investing in home energy improvements. The variety of actions people have taken is impressive and homes in every part of town have buttoned up, added solar panels, chosen a more energy-efficient heating source, or made other changes to save money and energy.  Residents will share their stories in hopes of encouraging others.

This fall a workshop on Financing Home Energy improvements will take place to provide helpful information on a variety of topics including information on available rebates, financing plans, energy loans, and ways for homeowners to do some of the work themselves to cut down costs.  “Once people understand the significant benefits of weatherizing they are ready to take action,” said Judy Raven, Energy Committee member. “It’s hard to argue with saving money, saving energy, enjoying a home that’s more comfortable, and keeping the dollars in Vermont.”

There are 24 days until the deadline for your brief explanation of 250 words on why your home needs an energy audit.  Send an email to energy committee member, Marcella Chiarello at marcellacc46@gmail.com by June 30.  You may just win!

The next Energy Committee meeting is Wednesday, June 12 at 7 pm at the Town Offices.  Those interested in energy efficiency or energy issues are welcome to attend.

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