June marks the halfway point of 2013 and, likewise, the midpoint of the year-long Vermont Home Energy Challenge. The challenge was created by Efficiency Vermont, in partnership with Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network (VECAN) and other organizations. The effort aims to increase the number of homes completing comprehensive energy efficiency improvements in Vermont, en route to a statewide goal of 25% energy savings in 80,000 homes by the year 2020.
Here's how Efficiency Vermont describes the challenge:
During the Challenge, town energy committees and other local partners will compete with other communities in their region. These local partners will have a target of weatherizing 3% of the homes within their community in the one-year period. Community prizes will be awarded for the top towns in each region, as well as a statewide award for the top region and town.
The Challenge offers communities "turnkey" efficiency programs and it measures participation in the programs. The turnkey programs include:
- home energy visits
- door-to-door outreach
- home energy saving workshops
- home energy parties
- energy saving kits
- community-energy contractor partnerships
For competition purposes, the state has been divided into a half-dozen regions. Participating towns are competing for regional bragging rights as well as cash prizes and the statewide title. Each town aims to weatherize at least 3% of its year-round residences by the end of 2013.
Communities can be winners under the Challenge on a number of levels, including the following:
- Every town that achieves its target will receive statewide recognition.
- Towns achieving the highest percentage of year-round homes weatherized within their region will receive a financial reward of $10,000 that can be applied toward a municipal energy efficiency project. 3% has been established as the per town target.
- Towns that achieve the highest percentage of residents committing to improving efficiency in their homes – based upon the submittal of “Pledge Cards” -- will be awarded with a financial reward of $500 that can applied toward a community energy celebration/fair.
- There will also be statewide recognition for the community and region that gets the highest percentage of comprehensive home efficiency improvements. Winners will be announced within one month after the completion of the Challenge (February 1, 2014).
Now that the construction season is underway, some participating towns are redoubling their efforts to get the word out. Franklin highlighted the Challenge in its summer newsletter. The Monkton Energy Committee is encouraging participation through the town's website. And Randolph will be talking up the Home Energy Challenge at an Energy Expo later this month.
Check out the Home Energy Challenge map to see the regional boundaries and to find out if your town is participating.