Mount Holly celebrates weatherization efforts
By Lucia Suarez
STAFF WRITER | February 26,2013
MOUNT HOLLY — Thirty-two residents in Mount Holly weatherized their homes last year as part of an energy efficiency contest around the county.
For their efforts, the town as a whole clinched a $10,000 prize from NeighborWorks of Western Vermont to fund a public conservation project: insulate and improve heating costs at the town offices.
Over a four-day weekend last November, contractors with Vermont Energy Works insulated the building’s attic and air sealed the basement, reducing the amount of heat escaping from the building. They also installed a programmable thermostat which allows the town to determine when the heat should be higher in the building.
A handful of residents who participated in the contest were joined by local and state officials Monday afternoon to celebrate their accomplishments at the town offices.
“One of the things, being here, is that I don’t have to talk over the furnace,” John Reuter of Vermont Energy Works told a crowd of about 20 people. “The furnace used to run almost continuously and it was loud. I have not heard it once.”
The town office is expected to save $1,171 in fuel costs a year — and money is still in the budget for some more work.
Mount Holly resident Marcy Tanger, whose home was one of the 32 in town weatherized, helped organize the town’s project. She said they still have about $4,000 left after receiving a cash incentive from Efficiency Vermont and they hope to continue improvements and help more residents weatherize.
“It really is amazing so many people took the opportunity to fix their homes,” said Joan McCallum, who helped Tanger with moving projects forward. “I live in an 1850 farmhouse. It’s a cold one. It could never get warm. ... (Now) it holds on to the heat and it heats up faster.”
Rutland County Sen. Eldred French, who was the first to complete a weatherization project in his home in Shrewsbury, was on hand to congratulate Mount Holly residents for their achievement. He said more needs to be done across the state — particularly at the legislative level — to find ways to make weatherization more attractive to residents.
“It’s important to do this across the board,” French said. “The focus has to be greater.”
He said many people forget that these projects will give them the “most bang for the buck” and help them have more money in their pockets.
French also read a statement from Vermont Rep. Peter Welch, who said it is “heartening to see a community so dedicated to making their homes and buildings energy efficient.”
“Investments in energy efficiency help Vermonters save money, create jobs and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,” Welch’s statement continued. “As I continue to advocate for federal legislation to promote energy efficiency, it is projects like this that will help me to make the case to my colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee.”
A representative for Sen. Bernard Sanders, took Monday’s celebration to further congratulate town residents for their “forward thinking efforts.”
Reading a statement from the Vermont senator, Harper Gay said NeighborWorks’s program to improve energy efficiency has helped establish a model program that will help hundreds of homeowners through community outreach, creative incentives and convenient financing options.
“We know weatherization saves families hundreds of dollars on fuel bills every year, supports jobs in our state, keeps more of our energy dollars in state, and cuts greenhouse gas emissions,” Sanders’ statement said. “We need to do everything we can to make it easier for more families to access these programs. ... Today we celebrate a milestone in the effort, but must recognize there is more to be done to reach our ambitious goal.”
The NeighborWorks program is part of a $4.5 million federal Department of Energy grant it received in 2010 as part of an effort to alter the market for energy efficiency.