Volunteers in six New Hampshire towns will launch a third round of “Weatherize Upper Valley” in 2019 to encourage more homeowners to invest in energy-efficiency projects. Andover, Newbury, New London, Sutton, Warner, and Wilmot are participating in the three-month program which begins in March. The volunteers will be guided in their efforts by Vital Communities, a nonprofit organization based in White River Junction, Vt., that in two previous rounds has helped more than 200 Upper Valley homeowners markedly improve the energy efficiency and comfort of their living quarters.
Andover’s participation in the project will be coordinated by members of the Andover Energy Group (AEG), a voluntary organization focusing on alternative energy sources and energy efficiency. In 2014, the AEG worked with Vital Communities to bring a “Solarize Kearsarge” campaign to Andover, a project that resulted in over two dozen installations of solar-electric (or photovoltaic) systems on local residences.
Under the “Weatherize Kearsarge” banner, the six towns will host a public kick-off event on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 (snow date Saturday, Feb. 2), to introduce the project to the six-town community. Open to the public at no charge, the event will begin at 2 p.m. in a New London location yet to be determined as the Beacon went to press. Check the Beacon website at andoverbeacon.com for updated information.
Interested residents are encouraged to attend the kickoff 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.
What is weatherization? Put simply, it’s the process of modifying a building to reduce energy consumption and cost, optimize energy efficiency, and increase the comfort of its occupants.
Weatherize teams up community volunteers with certified weatherization contractors to provide professional home energy audits, proposals, and quotes. Kearsarge-area residents can request their $100 energy audit from Weatherize partner contractors any time before March 31. Homeowners who sign weatherization contracts by May 31 will be entered into drawings for cash prizes up to $500 toward the cost of their energy improvements. Details about the program will be offered in a number of public events, newspaper articles and mailings now being developed. Watch future issues of the Beacon for details.
“It can typically cost homeowners $400 or more just to get a project proposal and quote from a qualified contractor. Providing reduced-cost energy audits is a significant way to help more homeowners explore the idea of energy improvements,” said Sarah Brock, energy program manager at Vital Communities, who worked with a variety of stakeholders to develop the Weatherize Upper Valley concept.
“Energy efficiency projects—focused on air sealing and insulation—are the best-kept secret in home improvement,” Brock added. “ The average cost for these projects in our region ranges between $6,000 and $8,000, resulting in average energy savings upwards of 20 percent each year. The benefit of increased comfort, combined with generous rebates for eligible homes, makes energy upgrades an easy decision for many homeowners. We just need to help them take the first step. Weatherize does just that, with a goal of doubling the number of home energy projects completed in the participating towns each year.”
This round of Weatherize builds upon successful campaigns in 2017 and 2018. More information can be found at VitalCommunities.org/Weatherize.