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Tom Witkin

Tom Witkin

Marketing and Collaboration, Department of Energy Resources (DOER) 

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Adopting energy efficient technology, products and processes was likely not top-of-mind for home and business owners after tornadoes swept through cities and towns in Western Massachusetts on June 1, 2011. 

With everything from broken windows to wholesale destruction of homes, businesses, municipal and other community buildings, state energy officials wrestled with how to meld the region’s recovery with smart energy decisions. Many people needed to repair or rebuild a structure, so why not give them a reason to do it in a way that saves energy and dollars at the same time, now and for the future?

Enter ReBuild Western Massachusetts (“ReBuild”), a partnership between the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). (Application deadline now extended to October 1.) Thanks to a combination of federal stimulus and state funding, ReBuild put millions of dollars on the table in the form of grants for any homeowner (who can also take advantage of zero interest bank loans), business owner or municipality that can document tornado damage.

Foundation

Yet only a fraction of the thousands affected have inquired about the program. Why? The program did take time to get off the ground and many were concerned about the time it might take to fill out forms. But for a program offering real dollars, it was hard to understand the slow buy-in. ReBuild program managers listened more carefully and discovered that some of those affected (wrongly) assumed that they were not eligible. After all, parties hit by the tornadoes were in line for money from insurance claims and Mass Save® incentives through their utility. So why, they figured, should they get additional dollars from the state? Moreover, their focus was understandably on making their buildings livable or capable of hosting business, not completing more applications.

Here is your answer if you are asking, Am I eligible? If you had tornado damage documented by an insurance claim, FEMA or other supporting state, local or federal agency, you are eligible. These funds – for insulation, doors, windows, HVAC, engineering studies, and more – are an addition to insurance payments and incentives from Mass Save. Better yet, the higher the efficiency of your repairs, the bigger your incentives. ReBuild is working harder to make it easy for you to get a share of the millions available.

If you live in Western Massachusetts, please help us get the word out now — before the October 1 deadline; tell your friends, neighbors, building contractors, business owners, everyone. Rebuild Western Massachusetts is just one of the programs designed to make energy efficiency more pervasive in Massachusetts. Please take advantage of a gift that will keep on giving.

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