Phyllis Theermann

IMG_3365Wellesley Residents Are Impressed With No Cost Energy Audit & Saving Money 

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Wellesley residents – with new homes and older ones – are impressed with their no-cost home energy assessments and seeing money savings already.

Wellesley resident Duncan Andrews said he “could hear the wind coming through the windows and knew it was time to look into replacing them. He also knew his heating system was old and wondered about its efficiency. He decided to have a home energy assessment and was so pleased because part of the audit included an analysis regarding the efficiency of the heating system.

energy audit home“After the assessment I really knew how much money was going out the window,” Anderson said.

Following the audit, Anderson followed the personalized recommendations.   He added blow- in insulation, replaced the windows, installed a new heating system, as well as a tank-less water heater and a new programmable thermostat. He received tax breaks and incentives and is confident he will get a good return on investment with the windows. In addition, he estimates that his monthly energy bills are at least $100 less.

“Wellesley residents are using their power to save money and energy,” said Paul L. Criswell Chairman of the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant. “We recommend making the energy assessment appointment before the summer heat wave hits.”

Many folks are glad they made the call. Take for example, the self-proclaimed non-greenies and newer Wellesley residents Kristen and Sam Martz. They were surprised at how enthusiastic they have become about their home energy assessment experience.

They sort of fell into it last year after moving into their new home when they decided to switch from oil to gas.

The energy audit recommended they weather strip their front door, add blow-in insulation in their attic, add vents to their attic, and install a thermal barrier for the attic.

The Martz family went ahead and had the contractors do the suggested recommendations. They were thrilled with the amount of thorough work that was completed and the cost savings that continues every month.

“Not only did they do $5000 worth of work for only $686, we are seeing our National Grid bill decline significantly month over month due to our better-insulated attic,” Kristen said.

She laughed at her excitement when “we received rebates in the mail for the Nest learning thermostat and now news about the option to finance windows up to 15 years interest free up $1000 per window. The home energy assessment experience keeps getting better and better,” Kristen said.

Another Wellesley resident decided on an energy audit as part of her plan to relieve problems with ice dams.

After reading about the savings and benefits resulting from insulating and attic air sealing in an EPA publication, Mary Ann Cluggish called an insulation contractor to increase the insulation in her attic, as she knew that a cold, properly vented attic could help with ice dams.

The contractor gave her a $2500 estimate for the insulation and attic air sealing, but suggested that she could use the Mass Save energy audit program since she heated with natural gas. The contractor she originally chose was one of Mass Save’s approved contractors, and she used the same contractor to complete the recommendations.

“Three men spent four hours at my home sealing the tiny places in the attic and basement that leak warm air,” Cluggish said. “They sealed around light fixtures, ducts, plumbing stacks, bath fans, pull down attic stairs, etc. In addition, they opened attic vents that were supposed to be open, and closed those that were supposed to be closed. The result is that I now have proper attic ventilation, which helps prevent ice dams,” reported Cluggish.

The contractors also installed a free attic stair dome, which ordinarily costs $45. The Mass Save program also includes a free installation of a programmable thermostat, but Cluggish declined as she already had one.

“When a bill for only $600 came for all of this work, I figured it had to be the just the first bill since I didn’t think all that work would have been done for only $600,” Cluggish explained. “However, a few weeks later when I called, I found out that was the total price. The attic air sealing work and attic stair dome were free; the cost of the insulation was at a significant discount since I went through the Mass Save energy audit program,” said Cluggish.

Wellesley Selectman Barbara Searle said after her assessment, “ that sometimes it is important to be reminded about what needs to be done – and how simply some of the steps are. I also appreciate that the cost of addressing some of these items was very low, with a short payback,” Searle said.

Many Wellesley residents reported that the list of CORI certified, local contractors made the hardest part of acting upon the recommendations, that much easier.

Following the success of the POWER to CHOOSE renewable energy campaign, Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Committee, the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant and National Grid launched the POWER to $AVE Energy Savings Program. The initiative encourages residents to get a no-cost home energy assessment that can help residents save money and energy by improving their homes’ energy performance.

A home energy assessment evaluates a home’s energy usage and provides recommendations for numerous ways to improve its efficiency, resulting in reduced energy usage and expense.

The program includes:

• a no-cost, customized home energy assessment including recommended actions and payback estimates

• Scheduling at your convenience with extended hours available

• List of participating weatherization contractors available

• Rebates, incentives, no cost equipment and tax credits may be available

In addition, POWER to $AVE supports our local economy through the employment of local participating weatherization contractors.

Phyllis Theermann

Get one for your auction

A Starter Kit on its way to a school auction.

These kits have it all : they will save you time and money, reduce your carbon pollution, and make being green easier and simpler! 

It’s all done through Reduce / Re-use / Recycle – made easy and given a local twist by Sustainable Wellesley.

You can jump-start yourself, or jump-start someone else – Sustainable Wellesley Starter Kits are available for you to buy, contribute to, or include in your fund-raising auction.

The contents can vary so let us know what you’re interested in and we’ll see what we can do.  The standard kit is listed below.

Let Us Know If You Want To Contribute To A Kit

We have had some very special offers in our kits in the past – a $100 sustainable landscaping consultation from Estate Gardeners here in Town, and 6 months of Power To Choose from the Municipal Light Plant.  What could you offer for our kits that would be fun and motivating?

A standard kit contains the following and costs $99

LED Lightbulb

Confused by the “new” lightbulbs? Don’t like the twirly bulbs? There’s a new kid in town and it’s efficient, neat and beautiful. This LED lightbulb is a direct replacement for the old-style 60W bulb, but will use 1/5 of the electricity! There are LED bulbs for down-lights, dimmable fixtures, porch lights, vanity lights, or virtually anywhere you’d use the old, wasteful kind. It will save you about $12 and 160lbs of carbon dioxide every single year. 7.99 : Lowes

Kill-A-Watt Meter

One fifth of your electric bill typically comes from items that are left plugged in when they are not in use. You could run your whole house for a whole day on the electricity you throw away the other six days of the week! Energy vampires like PS3s, Xboxes, Wiis, your cable box, TV, or printer suck your electricity even when they’re switched ‘off’. With this Kill-A-Watt meter you can find out how much electricity they’re wasting, and calculate what it costs you. It may even pay you to buy a new refrigerator! Lend it to a friend when you’re done so they can save some energy too! $39.00 : YouDoIt


Now you know where your energy vampires are from the Kill-A-Watt Meter, it’s time to get your revenge. Plug the worst offenders into this power strip and when you’re not using them you can disconnect them all with one switch. This one powerstrip will save you around $40 per year just on your home entertainment or computer system. Get a second powerstrip for other devices or unplug them at the wall when you’re away. $5.99 : YouDoIt

Lights-Off Card

Just like us, you probably MEAN to turn the lights off when you leave the room. This little card will help you….and your family to remember. Put it over the switch and it will catch your eye as you leave the room. Once you’ve got used to it just take it off and the blank switch will now catch your eye. Repeat. Save money. Free : Sustainable Wellesley

Re-usable lunch box

Don’t pack your food in trash! If you’re packing lunch for a child or yourself you can save on the zip-lock bags and other trash by using this multi-compartment lunch box with drinking bottle included. 9.99 : The Container Store

Clean Air Bumper And Rear Window Sticker

Remind yourself and others to switch the engine off when you’re waiting. It’ll save you money and keep our air cleaner. Massachusetts has a “no-idling law” for over 5 minutes waiting, we recommend one minute. Free : Sustainable Wellesley

Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living

The advice in the book Cooler Smarter can help save you money and live healthier. But its central purpose is to empower you, through low carbon-living, to confront one of society’s greatest threats. $22.00 : Wellesley Books

Climate Reality Talk

What’s going on with the climate? Why? What is Masschusetts’ part of this? What can I DO? Our own Quentin Prideaux addresses these questions in the talks gives as part of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. Normally limited to larger audiences, this certificate gives you your own personal talk for one person (or more). Free : Sustainable Wellesley

Power To Choose

Wellesley residents can buy clean, green, renewable energy from a wind farm in Maine!  You get the same service and reliability from our Municipal Light Plant and your electricity is emissions-free.  You can sign up for 10, 25, 50 or 100% clean and green. This is not an offer – it costs you a little more, but the reduction in electricity prices in October 2012 was greater than the cost of 10% renewable.  You can sign up using the card enclosed.  Typical cost of 10% renewable : $3.40 per month

Power To $ave

POWER to $AVE is Wellesley’s brand-new program to help you save energy and money. This free assessment evaluates your home’s energy usage and recommends how to improve efficiency with estimated payback periods. Request your free assessment, and see what you else can do to save money and emissions. Free : Wellesley Municipal Light Plant

Pop-Up Recycling Bin

This basket is itself a recycling bin that holds up to 60 bottles or cans. You can keep it in a closet to sort your recycling, or file it flat and pop it open for a picnic or Bar-B-Q. Your guests will clearly see where to put their recyclables at your next event. 3.99 : The Container Store

Sustainability Checklist

If you don’t know what to do next, do this. Our checklists include ways to reduce your environmental impact, save money, and grow your voice. They cover energy use, recycling, landscaping, education, speaking up, and building Sustainable Wellesley. Your first Checklist is enclosed, and with this auction basket you’re more than halfway to completion!
Free : Sustainable Wellesley

Who do you know that might like a Sustainable Wellesley Starter Kit?

Any funds received in excess of the direct costs of a kit, will be used to buy kits for local fund-raising auctions.  Get a kit by sending us an email :

Phyllis Theermann

Jessica, center in black jacket, receiving an answer to her thoughtful question at a Harvard event

Jessica Langerman, one of Sustainable Wellesley’s leaders, is pursuing a full-time position with Citizens Climate Lobby. Thank you Jessica for all you have done to engage the residents, businesses, and the Town of Wellesley in the actions required for sustainability.

This leaves a place for YOU

Although we will miss her energy, ideas, cheerfulness, and constructive can-do-spirit, we are delighted that she is going into such a significant role. If Sustainable Wellesley had any part in her transition, and we can keep producing such committed climate folks, we would be thrilled.

With other former Sustainable Wellesley leaders such as Molly Fairchild, Katy Gibson and Mary Gard in a variety of key places within our community, our network and influence is only growing.

Jessica, we wish you continued success.

Thus, Sustainable Wellesley seeks a leadership team member. 

We all have many different backgrounds, timetables and shoelaces (just checking to see if you are still reading), but feel moved to engage OUR community = the residents, businesses, and the Town of Wellesley in the actions required for sustainability.

We host events, write stories for local media and our website, research and promote causes beyond our borders, share knowledge about everything from light bulbs, to fracking, greening parties and much more.

We have a one hour weekly conference call, but tend to share ideas and manage initiatives via email from near and far.

Want to do more?

Please contact us at

We promise insightful, meaningful and fun interactions.