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Category:  Residential Energy Efficiency
Contacts:   Woodie Weiss, Chair, Madison Energy and Efficiency Committee
Community Highlighted:   Madison
Leading Groups:  Madison Town Energy and Efficiency Committee
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Phone:  203-245-0189

Project Description:  Home Energy Solutions, the Connecticut-certified home assessment program, helps residents affordably learn what they can do to make their homes more energy-efficient and comfortable.

Home Energy Solutions sends trained and certified technicians for in-depth visits to examine the building envelope, appliances, lighting, windows and other key features at low or no cost.  HES technicians actually perform the simplest upgrades during the visit – air sealing, lighting changes, and so on.  And they make very user-friendly recommendations for additional upgrades with estimated benefits and costs, with financing sources included.

It’s a well-organized, high-value program – but like anything new, it has taken households awhile to catch onto the benefits and sign up.  Effective Home Energy Solutions campaigns are one of the most valuable, and repeatable, kinds of initiative for a local energy committee.   Done right, a HES campaign is a great first project for a newly formed committee. However, it can be a lot of work, and needs good leadership to be cost-effective.

The Town of Madison figured out a winning formula for its 2012 - 2013 HES campaign.  Their goal was to increase the number of homes audited by Home Energy Solutions by making it more convenient and creating more reasons for households to take the step. To accomplish this, the group negotiated with HES vendors and selected two who were willing to donate money to the local Neighbor to Neighbor energy bank which provides support for energy upgrades for low-income households in town. For the first sixty days of the program $75 was donated per signup, $50 for the next sixty days, and $25 for the remainder of the six month program.

A letter on town letterhead was mailed to all 6,600 households explaining the program, and also sent to all parents with children in the school system via Backpack Express. Articles were placed in the local Patch and newspapers to spread the word widely.

Support was enlisted from the Clean Energy Communities team at Connecticut Light and Power, who helped to develop strategy and also covered the costs of two town-wide mailings.

Results:   In the 6-month campaign, close to 350 HES audits (over 5% of the households) were completed and over $18,000 was donated to the N2N energy bank.

“These results were incredible!!! I believe the knowledge that residents were helping their neighbors in need provided a large incentive for them to participate in the program.” -- Woodie Weiss

Project Participants:  Madison Energy and Efficiency Committee members and Board of Selectmen,  with support from Clean Water Action and Northeast Utilities/ Clean Energy Communities staff.

Project Planning:  Careful planning and design made this campaign not only effective, but an efficient use of volunteers’ time.  Estimated time investment:

  • Prep and planning discussions during meetings - 8 hours


  • Outside consultation (Northeast Utilities & Clean Water Action) - 4 hours
  • 

Preparation and presentation to Board of Selectmen - 6 hours
  • 

Weekly updating of results on project web site - 8 hours
  • 

Recruiting, interviewing and selecting HES vendors - 10 hours


  • Attending Farmer's Market to inform the community - 12 hours

Resources:  As a participant in the 14-town Neighbor to Neighbor campaign in 2011 – 13, Madison has a history of well-organized energy outreach and a good leadership team.  The technical assistance resources of the state, utility and Clean Water Action could be used sparingly to help these practiced volunteers design an effective campaign.  Additional resources for towns include thermal imaging services of contractors paid for by CEFIA.  The images are developed town by town and then can be accessed on behalf of community campaigns to identify homes with the greatest heat loss.  Windham, Portland, and Enfield are among the communities taking advantage of this resource.

http://wtnh.com/2014/02/06/program-helps-to-save-home-heating-costs/

Lessons:  While “energy enthusiasts” may expect that everybody will see the logic in home energy efficiency and take action on that value alone, the opportunity to help their neighbors by participating was also a significant driver to action within the time frame and incentive structure of the campaign, helping to “front load” demand in the early part of the project and show success.

Similar Projects:  The Madison model is now being used in Guilford with the same contractors.   A CT Solar Challenge has also emerged in Madison based on similar analysis of opportunities and tactic

Download the Home Energy Solutions - 2015 Program and Incentive Highlights

LETTER TO MADISON RESIDENTS (October 2012)

Dear Madison Resident,

The Town of Madison is promoting the Home Energy SolutionsSM program. This program offers homeowners and renters a chance to reduce their energy costs and through town resident’s participation, will also provide funds for income-eligible residents to assist in heating their homes.


For a $75 fee*, certified and insured contractors will evaluate household energy usage and provide an average of $700 of energy efficiency and weatherization services at no additional cost to you. These include:
• Free energy-efficient lighting (up to 40 compact fluorescent light bulbs)
• Water-saving measures, including low-flow, high-pressure shower-heads and faucet aerators
• The latest technology to seal-up air leaks in your home, including weather-stripping and caulking
• Additional rebates for home insulation, HVAC systems, and other appliances


These services save participants an average of $200 a year, each year, in energy savings.
As a bonus, for every HES service that is completed in the next 60 days, $75 will be donated to the Madison Foundation’s Neighbor to Neighbor Fund. After 120 and 180 days, $50 and $25 will be donated to the Fund respectively. These donations will help our town’s residents receive valuable energy assistance to heat their homes. For more information and donation updates, visit www.Madisonct.org/energy.

Simply call 877-389-3221 to sign up for the Home Energy Solutions program today.


The Town of Madison and the Madison Town Energy & Efficiency Committee have partnered with New England Conservation Services, Energy Resource Group Technologies, and Energize Connecticut to make these programs available. Energize Connecticut programs help you save money and use clean, affordable energy. The programs are a partnership of the Energy Efficiency Fund, the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, and your local electric and gas utilities. Thank you for helping make Madison a clean, energy-efficient community


Very truly yours,


Fillmore McPherson, First Selectman   

Woodie Weiss
, Madison Town Energy & Efficiency Committee, Chair


*Program availability and price ARE subject to change. Fee waived for income-eligible residents.  This mailing was paid for by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund.


Resources

 

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Calendar Highlights

FALL GATHERING

HIGHLIGHTS OF CT’s FALL GATHERING of clean energy task forces can be found here in our Knowledge Center’s Program Archives pages. Diane Duva (the Director of Energy Demand at DEEP’s Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy is pictured here) facilitating the shaping of our state’s energy future.

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Clean Energy Communities Listening Session Letter of Thanks and Follow-up

Click to view