The Mad River Valley Renewable Energy Series concluded Tuesday, December 13, with the fifth and final installment, “Conservation, weatherization and efficiency,” at the Big Picture Theater and Cafe in Waitsfield.
Three local energy professionals addressed members of the community on issues ranging from home energy audits to home root cellar refrigeration techniques.
The series was sponsored by the Mad River Valley Planning District in an effort to “continue the dialogue of energy in The Valley through structured information-based public discussions exploring a range of issues related to The Valley’s energy future,” said MRVPD executive director Joshua Schwartz.
Richard Czaplinski of Adamant and Warren shared his efforts to live simply in his homes in Adamant and Warren Village; the presentation, “Taking energy to its limits,” addressed the need for conservation by careful monitoring of home energy consumption. Czaplinski said he does “a number of ridiculous things” to conserve energy including shutting down a portion of his Warren home in the winter and using a wood cookstove at his residence in Adamant.
Waitsfield energy coordinator Chris Badger spoke on energy monitoring of small businesses in The Valley. Last year a grant-funded energy monitoring addressed energy consumption in a number of businesses. Badger worked with business owners to assess energy usage and make changes to conserve energy and save money.
Through the energy monitoring, Badger found that “not all businesses are created equal,” using The Warren Store and Yestermorrow as examples of two businesses of varying use and therefore energy consumption.
The key, Badger said, is finding contractors willing to work with business owners to come up with solutions for energy savings.
Brad Cook of Building Performance Services LLC of Waitsfield presented an early mock-up of a home energy audit graphic. The illustration guides homeowners through the steps of weatherization beginning with the home energy audit.
Laurie Fielder of the Central Vermont Community Action Council (CVCAC) said the process is “not easy” and the guide was designed to answer the most popular question posed to her by homeowners, “Where do I start?”
The first step, Cook said, is always the energy audit. Energy auditors will assess the home and make suggestions to conserve energy through weatherization. Cook said, “We’re the doctor; we’re writing a prescription and offering to fill that prescription.”
Audits can address everything from light bulbs to heating systems and insulation.
The CVCAC Weatherization Training Trailer was open to tours on Tuesday in the Big Picture Theater parking lot. The trailer demonstration showed visitors how improving air-sealing and insulation can increase a house's energy efficiency, reduce costs and make the home more comfortable.
To view the presentations from the five-part MRV Energy Series, visit www.mrvpd.org.