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Worried about Summer Cooling costs?
Want to cut your utility bills?

Come to a Home Energy Savings Seminar at the Tolles Parsons Center on May 22nd at 1:30 PM to learn ways to reduce your energy usage and make your home more comfortable and efficient. The seminar will review available programs that help you reduce energy usage.

The Wellesley Municipal Light Plant and National Grid offer no-cost energy audits, free light bulbs and significant rebates and assistance on insulation, heating equipment and appliances. The seminar will familiarize you with the home audit process.

Please bring your oil, gas and electric bills with you.

Volunteers will help you calculate your benchmark energy rating and assist with the audit process.

Sign-up with the COA 781-235-3961. Walk-ins are welcome.

This program is sponsored by the Wellesley Sustainable Energy Committee.

Phyllis Theermann
soofa

Image, courtesy of Soofa

Sustainable Wellesley folks are proud to let you know that starting this summer, you can use solar energy to charge your phone or electronic device when visiting the library.

Thanks to a generous partnership with the Municipal Light Plant (MLP), the Wellesley Free Library is installing a Soofa solar-powered bench outside near the Children’s patio. All you have to do is simply plug your device’s cable into the Soofa Bench’s USB port and start charging.

“The Library is the perfect place to bring technology, sustainability and service together,” said Jamie Jurgensen, Wellesley Free Library Director. “Our partnership with the MLP has created a unique opportunity for Wellesley residents to benefit from cutting edge technology in a tranquil setting,” Jurgensen said.

Debra J. Healy, Assistant Director of the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant adds, “We are pleased to collaborate with Wellesley’s Free Library supporting sustainability. Libraries are pillars of community, where people and ideas come together,” Healy said.

“We’re excited to be a part of that vision with Wellesley Free Library, sparking conversations on sustainability and innovation with the residents of Wellesley along the way” said Sandra Richter, co-founder and CEO of Soofa.

The Soofa Bench was designed by a team of female engineers and designers from Harvard and MIT. The Soofa Bench was piloted with the City of Boston in 2014. Based on the product’s success, 100 Soofa Benches have been installed by early adopters in 7 states. Soofa Benches are made to endure New England weather and each bench has a solar panel that powers two USB ports that can charge a phone or other electronic device.

Phyllis Theermann

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

Call 781.235.7600 or go to WellesleyPowerToSave.com

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.