Don’t leave money on the table for weatherization

by Rebecca Foster, Director, Efficiency Vermont

Weatherization makes sense. Insulating and air sealing your home saves money, makes you more comfortable in the winter and the summer, and even improves health in your home. But when I’ve talked to Vermonters across the state, I have heard time and time again that the upfront costs of weatherizing can be difficult to fit into a tight budget. I knew Efficiency Vermont had to find a way to help. That’s why I’m excited to share the details of a new expanded weatherization incentive to lower the costs of heating and cooling your home.

To date, Efficiency Vermont has helped thousands of Vermonters save money and energy by weatherizing their homes through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. But for many Vermonters, the upfront cost of these home energy upgrades is still too high. Most Vermonters fall into the “moderate income” bracket. That means they cannot get low-income assistance but expenses like home energy improvements can feel out of reach.

We’ve structured our new offer to fill this gap. The incentive allows you to get up to half of the cost of the project back in a rebate, as much as $4,000, if you qualify as moderate income. This lowers one of the biggest barriers we consistently hear about. We're excited to help more Vermonters to stay warm this winter, even on the coldest days.

We are also offering 0% interest energy financing to moderate-income families through the Heat Saver Loan. Combined with this incentive, you can complete a full home weatherization project for around $60 per month.

Do you qualify for increased moderate-income incentives?

About 60% of Vermont households qualify as moderate-income – you can use this handy chart to see if yours might be one of them. Our customer support team can help you too.

BAr chart that shows moderate income levels in Vermont

If you don’t qualify as moderate-income, we’ve still made it easier for you to complete a project. Higher-income households can still get up to 50% of the project costs back, up to $2,000. Before this change, our incentives averaged around $1,300.

Low-income help to weatherize your home has not changed, so if you meet the low-income thresholds, you may qualify for free or reduced-price services and products. You can learn more by working with your regional weatherization agency.

Weatherization supports you and supports the climate

Weatherization targets the rooms in your house that are always too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. The projects eliminate drafts so that the energy you’re paying for is to keep you comfortable in your home.

Weatherization isn’t only the most cost-effective way to keep your home comfortable. It’s also one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon pollution. Heating our buildings in Vermont causes nearly 30 percent of our state’s carbon emissions. This program will allow us to double the number of homes Efficiency Vermont helps weatherize each year in Vermont.

Even better, Efficiency Vermont partners with utilities around the state who are offering heat pump incentives. Once you weatherize your home, it’s a perfect candidate for an efficient heat pump system. Using a heat pump in a weatherized home can slash your home’s fossil fuel use and emissions.

Today, Vermonters spend over $500 million per year on fossil fuels to heat their homes. Of that, 78 percent leaves the state entirely. Vermonters and our entire economy are losing money when we spend it on fossil fuels. When we spend less on fossil fuels, we keep more money in our economy.

And Vermonters save too. An average project can save you $500 per year in energy costs if you heat with oil.  Those are dollars that you can spend on your family and reinvest in our local economy. It’s a win-win!

Get started on your weatherization project today

There’s no time like the present to get started. These incentives will be available until 2020, but the amount could change depending on participation. Efficiency Vermont partners with over 40 contractors as part of our Efficiency Excellence Network who can perform an energy audit, recommend solutions for tightening up your home, do the work, and maximize your rebate. Even though it might feel like winter is still months away, these contractors book up fast in the fall. Reach out to an Efficiency Excellence Network contractor today to take the first step towards a more comfortable home!

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