Energy efficiency movement focuses on financing

By:  Joel Banner Baird
Burlington Free Press

Popular enthusiasm for lower heating bills in Vermont hasn't translated into a warm investment climate for weatherization and clean energy upgrades, experts agreed Monday at a conference in Burlington.

That trickle of cash and the correspondingly slow transition of America away from a fossil-fuel economy prompted the gathering, said U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who organized the Clean Energy Investment Summit in concert with the Vermont Department of Public Service.

Up-front costs present the steepest barrier to home and business owners, Sanders said.

"For an average working family, coming up with the five or 10 thousand dollars you may need to cut your fuel bill by 25 to 50 percent - in many cases it's hard to come up with the money," he said.

The story line was a familiar one at the forum, which took place at the Main Street Landing Film House. Cautionary tales weren't limited to homeowners.

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