First of three Energy Challenge workshops held
WOODBRIDGE >> Residents learned about the the value of a home energy check-up at the first of three Woodbridge Energy Challenge winter workshops on Tuesday Jan. 13.
First Selectman Ellen Scalettar welcomed participants to the workshop saying “this is an opportunity to go green, save money and benefit ourselves and the Town.”
The Town’s Ad Hoc Energy Advisory Task Force selected two companies to conduct Home Energy Solutions assessments in Woodbridge for a fee of $99. For each assessment completed, the two companies have agreed to donate $25 to the Woodbridge Food and Fuel Fund.
Task Force chair Lisa Connor introduced representatives from the two companies, New England Conservation Services and New England Smart Energy who conducted the workshop.
Paul Weaver of New England Conservation Services explained the benefits of HES assessments. On average, he said, there is a $250 savings per home, per year after an HES assessment.
During the HES assessment, a technician will first complete a health and safety inspection of the home to verify that there is no mold, asbestos or other health problems in the home. Next, the technician will complete a blower door test, in which air is blown out of the home to highlight any air leaks inside the home. Identified leaks will be sealed. Next, the homeowner will have up to 29 light bulbs replaced with 25 CFLs and four LEDs.
Collin Babbage of New England Smart Energy explained that CFLs and LEDs use 60 to 80 percent less electricity than incandescent light bulbs.
Homes are also evaluated for hot water saving measures and residents may receive low-flow shower heads, faucet aerators and up to nine feet of hot water pipe wrapping to help hot water stay hot.
After the assessment is complete, the HES technician will have a “kitchen table” conversation with the homeowner to review written recommendations on next steps and discuss rebates and incentives available for those recommendations. Depending on the home, technicians may recommend new appliances, a new furnace, new water heater and/or insulation.
Currently, the state is offering up to a 50 percent rebate for new insulation. The two companies participating in the Woodbridge Energy Challenge are offering discounted pricing and a participation rebate in addition to the state rebate. The discounted pricing is $1.33 per square foot of insulation and the participation rebate is tiered so that as more Woodbridge residents install insulation the rebate increases, up to 12 percent for a potential total of 62 percent rebate on insulation.
Weaver explained that insulation installation usually has a pay-back time of five years. The rebate cuts that pay-back time to 2.5 years or less.
The Woodbridge Energy Challenge is one-stop shopping for residents who want to learn more about saving energy and going solar. In the fall, the Town hosted a solar workshop and a second solar workshop will be held on April 13. During the winter there will be two more workshops about home energy efficiency: Insulation on Feb. 4 and Heating and Cooling systems on March 3, both of which workshops start at 6 p.m. at the Woodbridge Town Library’s program room.
To schedule an HES assessment, contact New England Smart Energy at 203-292-8088 or New England Conservation Services at 203-389-3342.