Burlington Electric Department (BED) is piling on the accolades. Two years ago, Burlington became the first city in the USA to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. Now, Seven Days reports that Burlington is the first city to offer an energy-audit program for all its renters and homeowners.
In a partnership with Vermont Gas, BED offers EnergyChamp, an online tool to help Burlingtonians determine their energy use and how they can save. Residents can visit https://energychamp.org to get started. Here are some of EnergyChamp’s most common suggestions for improving a home’s energy efficiency:
• Replace your hot water heater, furnace, and/or boiler with high-efficiency models: $2000-$9500 each. (Hot water heaters are the least expensive, boilers are the most.)
• Insulate your basement walls: $3.65 per square foot.
• Replace a bathroom exhaust fan: $150-$250.
• Seal air leaks: $300-$600 for a whole house.
There is nothing earth shattering in here. The innovation is that a cost/benefit analysis is now available as an online tool. Burlington homeowners can see their potential energy savings with very little effort up front, and that information may inspire action. EnergyChamp also displays all the rebates available efficiency-minded upgrades… especially for landlords, who can recoup up to 75% of their costs.
Vermont Gas customers who don’t live in Burlington still have the option of a free energy audit of their home. Start here: http://www.vermontgas.com/save-money-energy/ways-to-save/free-energy-audit/ The auditors book months ahead of time – I am currently scheduling an appointment for next spring. That speaks to the popularity of these programs.