Did you know that over 75% of energy used in New England homes is for heating and cooling? While most Vermonters like to believe they are both prepared for winter and keep up with the many “go-green” initiatives happening today, this is not always the case. Two team members at GW Plastics have made it their mission to address these issues in their spare time. Jose Lazo and Carmen Gonier, both from our Corporate Metrology Department in Bethel, VT, are spearheading affordable home weatherization in the greater Central Vermont region. The Weatherize Upper Valley program, which started in 2016, focuses on improving home insulation in order to reduce overall energy costs, increase comfort at home, and, most importantly, cut CO2 emissions.
The program starts with a free home evaluation completed by a local contractor, who helps identify areas of air leakage and poor insulation in each home. From there, the contractor works with the homeowner to build a customized budget, timeline, and resource map for their weatherization project. Homeowners have the option to work with specialized contractors to weatherize their home or make the changes to their home themselves, ensuring that the project fits within their budget and personal preferences.
Most weatherization programs, including this one, focus on air sealing and insulation, which are typically the two most cost-effective ways to reduce drafts, harmful emissions, and heating costs. All Weatherize Upper Valley projects go through Efficiency Vermont’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program and involve Building Performance Institute certified contractors. The goal is to expand into New Hampshire by 2018.
Not only is this program run by volunteers, but there are also financing and low income weatherization options available so anyone can be better prepared for winter. Lazo and Gonier are leading up the White River Team, which focuses on helping the residents of Bethel, Royalton, and Sharon weatherize their homes. Currently, over 20 families in the White River area have signed up for this program and will save about 30% on heating costs and CO2 emissions.
Headquarted in the Green Mountain state, GW Plastics has always been committed to environmental stewardship and helping improve the local communities in which we operate. If you would like to learn more about this program or get involved, please contact us at Info@GWPlastics.com.