Door to Door Campaign Promotes Energy Efficiency

By:  Gordon Dritschilo

The local utility and two nonprofits have set out to make sure every last household in Rutland knows how it can save energy.

Green Mountain Power, Efficiency Vermont and Neighborworks of Western Vermont are sending employees door to door in Rutland talking to people about energy efficiency.

“We have teams out every day,” said Amanda Beraldi, GMP’s director of customer programs. “On a typical day you’ll find eight people out — four teams of two. We started yesterday and we’re going all the way through to August. ... It’s a mix of people from all over the company. I’ll be out there myself.”

Beraldi said the effort will serve as a pilot study to determine whether the three groups want to replicate it on a larger scale around the state. She also said it was the sort of cooperation the utility hoped to stimulate when it decided to share space in its downtown Energy Innovation Center with the other two groups.

“This is something we’ve been talking about a while ... now that we’re all under one roof,” Beraldi said. “The point of having us all in the building together is we all have similar missions.”

She said GMP hopes to raise awareness of the various online services and tools to track their energy use. Neighborworks will promote their energy audits, which indicate physical improvements to a home that can reduce energy use. Efficiency Vermont will distribute their energy savings kits, which include free and easy-to-install products to cut household energy use.

Efficiency Vermont spokeswoman Kelly Lucci said the kits include an LED light bulb, a compact florescent light bulb, a device to monitor water use through household faucets, a power strip that automatically cuts off electricity to appliances that are not in use and a thermometer to test temperature in refrigerators.

“A lot of times people keep that colder than it needs to be,” she said. “It can also measure temperature in your water heater. A lot of times people keep that hotter than it needs to be.”

The kit also includes a how-to guide on reducing household energy use.

Organizers have set a goal of reaching out to 7,000 households by the end of the summer.

The effort follows a study by a group of Middlebury College students that found that if every household in the city adopted all of home improvements Efficiency Vermont recommends, it would cost $185 million but drop power bills by enough to pay that amount off in 10 years. Beraldi said the outreach project was in the planning stages prior to that research effort.