The winter of 2017-2018 was notable for Conrad and Debra Carruth. That was when the Cuttingsville couple’s energy bills dropped by more than $150 per month. The reason for the change: Energy efficiency improvements. These improvements were made through an income-based service provided by Efficiency Vermont and local weatherization agency Bennington Rutland Opportunity Council (BROC).
“We knew something needed to change,” recalls Debra Carruth. “Our electric bills were extremely high. We were using space heaters in addition to the baseboard heaters.”
The Carruths started their home improvement efforts by signing up for a free energy assessment. This set the joint BROC/Efficiency Vermont process in motion. BROC’s Jason Downs came to the house and then sent his observations to Efficiency Vermont Program Manager Josh Stewart for analysis and recommended solutions. The analysis revealed that the causes of the Carruth’s high energy bills were electric baseboard heating and two aging appliances -- the water heater and refrigerator. Today, the Carruths are saving money each month thanks to a high-efficiency refrigerator and a ductless heat-pump heating unit and water heater – all free of charge through Efficiency Vermont.
“Energy costs place the largest burden on the smallest household budgets, because energy bills take a big percentage of their income,” said Josh Stewart. “By reducing energy costs, energy efficiency provides needed money for other essentials.”
Each year, Efficiency Vermont works with weatherization agencies like BROC throughout the state to help make housing more affordable, with healthy indoor temperatures, by making buildings more air tight and upgrading inefficient equipment.