Home and Garden

Grant provides free upgrades

Last month, the Southwest Vermont Council on Aging announced receipt of a grant from Efficiency Vermont to help seniors over the age of 60 (and eligible younger disabled folks) save energy and money in their homes through home energy visits.

First, SVCOA’s volunteer coordinator Aaron Brush checks to see if the home has been weatherized or not. If it has been weatherized, then nothing more can be done. If it has not been weatherized, then SVCOA checks the individual’s home electricity usage (kw/h). From this point, there are two types of referrals; high-users and non-high users.

If the individual is a non-high user (regardless of income), an SVCOA will send a trained volunteer to go in and complete a walkthrough and direct install of energy efficient products. If the individual is a high-user, then SVCOA looks at income to assess need.

If an individual falls into the low income category (household income of less than $42,062.40) a SVCOA volunteer will go in and do a walkthrough and assist the client in filling out the “Target High Use Form.” The form is then forwarded to Efficiency Vermont and BROC. Within 30 days, BROC will send out one of their trained volunteers to complete the direct install of energy efficient products as well as to install new appliances as needed at no cost to the client. Qualifying appliances that may be installed under the free appliance replacement are: washing machines, refrigerators, freezers, hot water saving devices, electric hot water heaters or space heaters with new heat pump technology.

If an individual is deemed not low income (household income over $42,062.40) a SVCOA volunteer will go and complete the direct install of energy efficient products.

A home energy visit involves: installing low-cost energy efficient products, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs and low-flow showerheads; identifying energy saving opportunities in the home, such as opportunities for replacing inefficient appliances and home weatherization; and, providing seniors with resources and information to help them save more energy.

A home energy visit is not a professional energy audit, but rather a walk-through assessment. Visits are conducted by trained volunteers who have been approved by the SVCOA. All energy efficient products are provided free-of-charge to seniors. If you are interested in scheduling a visit, contact Aaron Brush at 802-772-7835.

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