EPA recognizes Efficiency Vermont’s service to low- and moderate-income Vermonters

Winooski, VT

The COVID-19 pandemic affected low- and moderate-income Vermonters disproportionately, impacting service and hospitality jobs and increasing the time – and energy – many Vermonters spent at home.

Efficiency Vermont responded with a range of programs designed especially for income-qualified Vermonters, to help make energy efficiency measures more accessible and drive down energy costs for those with the highest energy burdens.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cited these efforts recently in naming Efficiency Vermont as a 2021 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award winner for Sustained Excellence.

“Efficiency Vermont is being recognized for successfully adapting ENERGY STAR certified products, homes, and Home Performance with ENERGY STAR programs to reach more low- to moderate-income customers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ann Bailey, Chief, ENERGY STAR Labeling Branch of EPA’s Climate Protection Partnerships Division.

In early summer, Efficiency Vermont announced its highest-ever incentive for income-qualified families to weatherize their homes through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program.

“This past year was about working together to help Vermonters when they needed it the most. We couldn’t have done it without the many partners who worked with us, including our fellow energy efficiency utilities Burlington Electric Department and VGS, and contractors in our Efficiency Excellence Network,” said Carol Weston, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “We look forward to working with stakeholders to find a permanent funding source that would allow sustained weatherization investments to serve more Vermonters.”

In a typical year, about 800 Vermont households participate in the Efficiency Vermont’s comprehensive weatherization program. In 2020 that number exceeded 1,050 households, and nearly 60 percent of them were moderate-income homes.

In addition to weatherization, income-qualified customers were eligible for no-interest financing for these and other energy-saving projects and products. For a limited time, Efficiency Vermont covered the first six months of the loan payments, to help customers experience the savings benefits more quickly.

Special incentives were also available to low- and moderate-income customers for energy efficient products to support healthy homes, including air conditioners, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, freezers, and indoor grow lights.

According to ENERGY STAR, the Sustained Excellence award is the highest honor bestowed by the ENERGY STAR program. Winners are part of a distinguished group that has made a long-term commitment to fighting climate change and protecting public health through energy efficiency. They are among the nation’s leaders in driving value for the environment, the economy, and the American people.

“We’re grateful to ENERGY STAR for the excellent programs and product testing they make possible, which give us the opportunity to better serve Vermonters and save them energy for years to come,” said Weston.

About Efficiency Vermont

As the nation’s first Energy Efficiency Utility, Efficiency Vermont has helped Vermont avoid over 12 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program for sustained excellence award for the last six consecutive years. Efficiency Vermont works with partners to help our state transition to a more affordable, low carbon energy future through education, incentives, and support for our clean energy workforce. For more information, contact Efficiency Vermont at (888) 921-5990 or visit www.efficiencyvermont.com.

About ENERGY STAR
ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Thousands of industrial, commercial, utility, state, and local organizations—including more than 40 percent of the Fortune 500®—rely on their partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions. Since 1992, ENERGY STAR and its partners helped American families and businesses avoid more than $450 billion in energy costs and achieve 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions. More background information about ENERGY STAR can be found at: https://www.energystar.gov/about and https://www.energystar.gov/about/origins_mission/energy_star_numbers

Efficiency Vermont
Jeff Buell
Phone: (802) 540-7662
jbuell@veic.org