By Ingrid Lackey-Howell, intern reporter
Each year, Efficiency Vermont selects a community to give services and incentives to help them become more energy efficient. This year, they picked the Mad River Valley and Deerfield Valley. Brad Long from Efficiency Vermont calls it a “Targeted Community Campaign.” Long has lived in Moretown for 22 years and holds the position of community engagement manager for the Mad River Valley and Duxbury.
The Valley was picked for two reasons: The first was the effect COVID-19 had on the area from an economic standpoint, ski resorts and tourism being a large part of The Valley’s economy. The second was because The Valley tends to be “very active and vibrant,” explained Long, and likely to participate in new programs and initiatives.
On April 26, Long presented a webinar to tell the community about different services and incentives that are available to them. (Go to https://www.efficiencyvermont.com/mad-river-valley to find all the information shown in the webinar, and more explaining what incentives and programs might be available.)
“Our goal here is to help residences, business owners, rentals, rental property owners, farmers, non-profits and municipalities reduce their energy use. Our method is going to be an engagement campaign designed to create awareness and available services and resources available and our results are going to be a more reliant and energy-conscious community who is aware of what resources are available and how to obtain them,” said Long.
Any homeowner can schedule a virtual home energy visit. An Efficiency Vermont consultant will meet with homeowners virtually and show them potential areas for improvement in their homes regarding energy efficiency. There is also a $50 coupon for weatherization materials given to anyone who has a home energy visit. Free energy saving products are available to renters, such as: LEDs, water-saving faucet aerators and shower heads. Order these products through the Efficiency Vermont website.
Business owners and rental property owners are eligible for virtual business energy consultations.
Efficiency Vermont consultants will come and walk through a place of business and “talk to you about your concerns and help you prioritize projects and make connections for you with incentives and any financing options that might help you reach your goals,” explained Long. There are also many rebates for homeowners, renters, landlords and businesses.
Since January, Long has been meeting with local town energy coordinators. Lexi Leacock is Warren’s, Waitsfield’s is Chris Badger, Moretown’s is Dara Torre and Fayston and Duxbury are actively looking for their own town energy coordinators.
Green Mountain Power, Washington Electric Co-op (WEC), Capstone Community Action and the MRV Housing Coalition are all working with Efficiency Vermont to help The Valley. These organizations all have their own incentives that are available to The Valley. Capstone has federal funding from the state and federal government. They give free energy audits for income eligible single-family homes. They will do the work to weatherize homes.