Weatherize Rockland program earns high praise from state’s Efficiency Maine
ROCKLAND – Brooks Winner, Nathan Davis and the rest of the Rockland Energy Advisory Committee connected with donors, held an energy fair, advertised, and then canvassed the city door to door.
In two rounds of outreach, the local group known as Weatherize Rockland encouraged more than 100 homeowners to learn about winter weather related assistance, and to get free consultation.
According to Brooks Winner, Chair of the committee, as of January 5, 23 homes were weatherized through the program, with another nine houses in queue.
That effort, and its results, have come to the attention of Efficiency Maine, the state’s independent administrator for energy efficiency programs. The organization refers to their program as ‘collective purchase.’
“Collective purchase sporadically happens throughout the state,” Efficiency Maine program manager Bridget Doxsee told Rockland City Councilors at the Monday, Feb. 5 agenda-setting meeting. “But [it is] nowhere as impressive as it does in Rockland.”
Doxsee said Bangor and York also have collective purchase programs.
“But when I was looking specifically at Rockland, I found that the pre- and post numbers – the level of engagement – was really exciting,” she said. “It was about over 150 percent participation after Weatherize Rockland. Prior to Weatherize Rockland’s input, we had about 35 projects total. At last count, it was up to 90, and counting. That was really impressive.”
The funding for the local projects has come from loans, primarily from the Rockland Economic Development Advisory Committee, according to Nathan Davis.
“These homes are now more comfortable, more efficient, and more valuable,” Winner said. “I’m also particularly proud of the fact that more than 20 percent of the participants in the program were low or moderate income. That was one of the explicit goals of the program.”
Of the completed projects, Rocklanders have acquired $32,500 in Efficiency Maine rebates, and $9,515 in Weatherize Rockland bulk discounts by Penobscot Home Performance.
Completed work so far included air sealing and insulation, which reduced air leakage by an average of 26 percent. This will save an estimated 7,900 gallons of oil per year.
“I think that’s a really impressive number, and I’m really proud of that,” Winner said. “That’s around 22 gallons per day that is not drilled, transported, and burned here in Rockland.”
The $2.50 per gallon price will result in aggregate $19,750 per year, and 88 tons of carbon emissions will not be released into the air each year.
“So, $20,000 in savings per year on an aggregate investment by the homeowners of around $79,495,” Winner said. “That’s about a four-year payback, which is pretty solid.”
Weatherize Rockland does not have plans for an immediate next round, he said. However, any residents who want to get involved are welcome to contact them through their Facebook page.
“We think it was a worthwhile undertaking, and might continue to think about working with the City to do something like this again in the future,” Winner said.
However, the group also expressed interest in organizing annual energy forums.
Reach Sarah Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org