When Brunswick Junior High teacher Cris Lavigne told us about the weatherization project her 7th graders are working on, we knew we wanted in. How could we say no to an interdisciplinary project that highlights the science, economics, politics, and logistics of energy efficiency?
We knew we'd have plenty to talk about, and we knew we wanted it to be fun, so Energy Advisor Cree Krull hatched an energy efficiency challenge in the grand tradition of Cutthroat Kitchen. Who could build the most efficient "home" starting with cardboard from the cafeteria insulation and air sealing materials from the school supply aisle?
We always enjoy Efficiency Maine's annual symposium, and this year's event was no exception. We caught up with colleagues; helped honor our friend Rick Karg for his incredible contributions to the field of building science; and listened to U.S. Senator Susan Collins speak eloquently about the need for - and benefits of - urgent action on climate change.
In honor of their 10th anniversary, the SunriseGuide is celebrating Mainers who create real change in their communities. The 2016 Stewards of Sustainability have helped make "significant advances in the areas of sustainability, environmental health, and wellness," and Evergreen founder and CEO Richard Burbank is among them!
Yesterday, Efficiency Maine’s board voted unanimously to adopt a new 3-year plan and budget, which will save consumers more than $870 million on energy bills over the lifetime of the efficiency measures. The plan now goes to the Public Utilities Commission for a formal review, expected to take at least four months, before it can be implemented.
Though the final plan includes less funding for home weatherization and efficiency than the plan as originally drafted, it maintains energy efficiency, alternative energy, and conservation programs that help homes and businesses cut their energy costs.
Hosting friends and family this holiday season takes a lot of energy. While we can’t trim the tree or ensure that everyone gets along, we can offer a few simple ways to bring your energy costs down without compromising your holiday:
Invest in festive, frugal decorations.The traditional strings of big-bulbs may be costing you a bundle! Energy Star-qualified LED lights use 75% less energy than conventional incandescent strings, and automatic timers (both indoors and out) eliminate hassle and wasted energy.
Our newest Production Manager graduated from a Dale Carnegie course in Effective Communication last night. Like Evergreen’s other managers, David Holmes spent 3.5 hours a week for eight weeks studying human relations and practicing his communication skills. His Outstanding Performance Award proves that he did well - but why did he do it at all?
Efficiency First weighs in on a controversial study
National home performance association Efficiency First has weighed in on last month’s controversial claim by researchers at the E2e Project that the costs of residential energy efficiency upgrades outweigh their energy benefits.
The researchers based their conclusions on a study of more than 30,000 Michigan households enrolled in the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which funds the full cost of energy efficiency and safety upgrades for low-income households. They found that while efficiency improvements did reduce overall energy use, those realized savings were only 40% of the average predicted savings and that “when measured by the energy savings and emissions benefits, these efficiency upgrades were not a good investment.”
Homeowners who make certain energy-efficient improvements, including air sealing and insulation, may get a federal tax credit for 10% of cost of those improvements – up to $500.
The 25C Energy Efficiency Tax Credit is part of a proposed tax extender bill that the Senate Finance Committee began working on last week. Tax extenders are a handy way to offer relief to families, individuals, and small businesses without overhauling the entire tax code, and in recent years, Congress has passed tax extender bills retroactively. That means the credits were passed in December or January, rewarding taxpayers for past decisions but doing nothing to incentivize those decisions going forward.
At Evergreen, we use the best insulation product for the job. In attics and sidewalls, that's usually cellulose. In basements, it's often spray foam - a product some homeowners have questions about.
We don't always use spray foam insulation, but when we do, we insist on these best practices:
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