From now until the end of the year, home and business owners in Rutland County can have an expert scope out their buildings to see where they’re losing heat.
Brad Long, community engagement manager for Efficiency Vermont, said Friday these energy walkthroughs aren’t full energy audits, but they will give the owner of a home or small- to medium-sized business a good idea on where their property needs some attention. Those who take advantage will also be informed of programs that can lower energy costs.
“What we’re trying to do is build participation in the community,” Long said.
About 50 people in Rutland County have had an energy walkthrough, he said. What officials are finding is a lot of energy is being lost through basements and attics, places where people don’t spend much time and thus don’t notice the loss of heat as often.
He said the biggest sign a building is losing heat is icicles hanging from eaves. Long said rising heat is enough to melt the ice outside, but then it refreezes, forming the icicles. This can lead to problems besides high heating bills, such as mold.
Long said the program’s focus is on downtown Rutland City, and some of West Rutland, though county residents and business owners are eligible. Jeff Buell, public relations manager for Efficiency Vermont, said Friday his organization plans to make a number of outreach efforts this summer in the Rutland area, including displaying an energy efficient home.
To schedule an energy walkthrough, people can contact Efficiency Vermont by calling 888-921-5990 or go online at efficiencyvermont.com/rutland. An energy expert from the organization will then visit. The walkthroughs take between an hour and an hour and a half. People receiving the walkthrough can get up to 12 free LED light bulbs and a $50 coupon for energy efficient appliances.
“Winter is finally releasing its grip, but we know it will be back,” said Tyler Richardson, executive director of the Rutland Economic Development Corporation (REDC), in a release. “Getting free expert advice from Efficiency Vermont is an excellent opportunity to identify projects to work on, so when next winter comes around you will be ready and able to save money and be more comfortable. They can also help connect you with the many resources available through Efficiency Vermont, Green Mountain Power, and other organizations to help save energy and money.”
REDC is working with Efficiency Vermont to get more people involved with this program, which is also focusing on the Bellows Falls, St. Johnsbury and Swanton communities. Long said communities were chosen because of their population density and age of their housing stock. Long said many Vermont homes are old and in need of energy efficiency work.
According to its website, Efficiency Vermont is a creation of the Legislature and is governed by the Vermont Public Utility Commission. Its mission is to assist people in the state with lowering their energy expenses, the hope being this will help the economy and environment.