Featured, Local News

Rutland family receives $5K to make their home energy efficient

By Katy Savage

RUTLAND— Erin and Jim Lorentz close off their front door every winter. They lay blankets on the floor to keep the cold air out and they seal off all their single-pane windows with plastic, but their house is still cold.

“It’s freezing all the time,” Erin said.

Their windows and doors are original to their 1950s ranch-style home, off Jackson Avenue in Rutland. Their furnace is decades old.

The family spends around $300 a month on oil to heat their house, keeping the temperature at a cool 65 degrees in the winter, but it’s cold all the time.

The Lorentzes were “relieved” after they were named the winners of a $5,000 Efficiency Vermont video challenge.

The Lorentzes were picked from among 22 entries. They got more than more than 900 votes for their 60-second video, which highlighted their shivering 3-year-old twin daughters, Calen and Elana, in their home.

The Lorentzes were the first to enter the contest at the end of April.

“I was jumping up and down,” said Erin after she heard they won. “We had so many people rooting for us.”

Erin grew up in Rutland. She and her husband bought their home in 2012. It’s three bedrooms and one bathroom on a single level. Erin said the front door is “hollow” from being so old.
“It’s really a wonderful home,” said Erin, who works as communications director at the Vermont Wood Works Council. “This could be our forever home if we do improvements.”

Efficiency Vermont launched the video contest this year to bring awareness to the benefits of having energy-efficient home.

The public was invited to vote for their favorite and the video that received the most votes won.

Jim Lorentz, an actor who has worked with local theater companies, wrote the screenplay for the video and shot it on an iPad on the twins’ birthday. The twins’ favorite movie is “Frozen,” so a documentary about being “frozen” in their home seemed appropriate.

“It was very spur of the moment,” said Jim.

The family’s home will be evaluated and the Lorentz family will receive up to $5,000 toward whatever will make their home most efficient. They will also receive a new Nest thermostat, worth $250 and new LED lightbulbs, worth around $150.

Erin is hoping for a new furnace or new windows.

“We rallied at the end,” said Erin. “We were thrilled when we finally got the award.”

Photo courtesy of B. Farnum Photography
Jim and Erin Lorentz and their daughters Calen and Elana were the winners in an Efficiency Vermont video challenge to make their house warmer this winter.

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