The Vermont Home Energy Challenge final report
In 2008, the Vermont legislature set a goal to improve the energy efficiency of 25% of the state’s homes by the year 2020. In 2013 a “Thermal Efficiency Task Force,” convened by the Vermont Department of Public Service, reported that the state was on track to meet only half of that goal. At the same time, Vermont has seen a surge of community-based organizing and activity on sustainable energy over the last decade. As of 2013, the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network (VECAN), which serves as an umbrella network for the state’s town energy committees, counted more than 150 towns with a local energy committee or local energy coordinator. Such groups have organized effectively to promote a range of activities including retrofitting schools and municipal buildings, siting small-scale renewable energy projects, and engaging their neighbors and town leaders in energy planning efforts.
The Vermont Home Energy Challenge (VHEC) was a yearlong engagement effort to test the potential of local community organizations to help raise awareness of energy efficiency and increase completion of projects under Efficiency Vermont’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR ® program. VHEC was designed and launched through a partnership of Efficiency Vermont and VECAN, and it encompassed a range of activities over the course of 2013, with a special focus on: Turnkey outreach efforts; the distribution of pledge cards committing signers to take action on home energy effi ciency; mini grants for local energy groups; training and support of local volunteers; and marketing materials designed to raise the visibility of local energy efforts.