As one of the original 35 Green Communities in 2010, Greenfield has been a municipal clean energy and sustainability leader for years. Today, Greenfield continues to make great strides towards energy efficiency with its latest three-year canvassing project. Through its ongoing involvement of the entire community, Greenfield has been able to push home energy assessment programs, such as Mass Save®, to higher levels of participation.
Homes use nearly 25 percent of the energy consumed in the United States. Not only has Greenfield developed new measures to minimize residential energy consumption within its community, it has also created an educational handbook to help other cities and towns do the same. By significantly reducing the amount of energy consumed by homes, Greenfield has been able to lessen dependency on fuels such as heating oil, natural gas, and wood— thus, slowing impacts of climate change and saving money.
In order to increase communication between the city and its residents about energy efficiency in individual households, Greenfield decided to use federal funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to send program specialists from Energy Smart Homes (ESH) door-to-door to answer questions, explain the energy auditing process, and plan retrofit projects. So far, Greenfield has seen an increase in the number of residents willing to conduct energy assessments on their homes. In fact, home energy assessments in Greenfield have taken place at four times the statewide rate. Due to Greenfield’s success, the neighboring town of Wendell has decided to develop its own energy efficiency canvassing project, funded by part of Wendell’s Green Communities Grant.
Greenfield staff members have created a handbook called, Energy Efficiency Canvassing: How-To Get Started, to teach others how to develop similar canvas programs in their own muncipalities. This project provides an alternative method for communicating information regarding home energy efficiency. Rather than conventional advertising, which may only reach people who are already aware and committed to reducing energy consumption, Greenfield’s new door-to-door strategy allows the city to expand its target audience to those who still have questions about energy retrofit projects. This more personal approach is a way to grab residents’ attention and offer an educational experience for people who may be overwhelmed by larger issues surrounding energy reduction and climate change.
The handbook first emphasizes the importance of setting goals: choosing a target audience, crafting a message, and delivering to residents. The book delves into strategies of how to access the right people and talk to renters and landlords. In addition, it gives advice about organizing, planning, and managing everyone involved in order to keep track of the important details like data and finances.
As a community whose mission is “to make Greenfield a more sustainable and vibrant place to live,” Greenfield has made it a priority for members of ESH to go to all 8,000 households in town to provide the appropriate information about cost effective energy efficiency. Canvassers have found that, by knocking on each door, more residents have been willing to engage in a conversation about energy efficiency than ever before. This dialogue has given ESH members an opportunity to clarify false information and walk residents through energy audit and retrofit processes.
There is a program that will fit everyone’s needs. You can find Greenfield’s handbook here: Energy Efficiency Canvassing: How-To Get Started
Banking on Residential Solar Power posted on Sep 16
“It’s a house, it’s a car, it’s a … solar panel?” In the coming months, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is hoping a new residential solar loan program will spark that question and interest in renewable power at local lending institutions across the Commonwealth. …Continue Reading Banking on Residential Solar Power
Building Efficiency Gurus Exchange Ideas on Just About Everything posted on Sep 5
The American Council for Energy Efficient-Economy (ACEEE) selected me to present a paper on the Commonwealth’s Green Communities Program at ACEEE’s Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. It felt like going to college – the seniors all knew each other, while the freshmen were …Continue Reading Building Efficiency Gurus Exchange Ideas on Just About Everything
Comparing Homes – Energy-Saving Enters the Equation posted on Aug 28
Until recently, there was no way to easily figure energy efficiency into a home buying decision. Enter HomeMPG, a Massachusetts energy-saving initiative to pilot an energy performance score (EPS) in residential homes. This “asset” rating that’s analogous to a car’s MPG rating. Behavior is taken out of the equation so that any home’s energy use can be compared to any other home, allowing for an apples-to-apples comparison.