BURLINGTON — Energy business leaders and elected officials are calling on the state to support funding and development for home heating efficiency programs.
By investing in the state’s current housing stock to improve thermal efficiency, residents will save money and slow down the effects of climate change, said Sen. Ginny Lyons, D-Chittenden.
“All together, we will be saving money, we’ll be reducing carbon emission and greenhouse gases and we will be accounting for those greenhouse gas savings,” Lyons said during a news conference at the Main Street Landing train station in Burlington on Thursday.
By investing in thermal efficiency and weatherization programs, she said the state could save more than $600 million.
Rep. Curt McCormack, D-Burlington, serves on the Natural Resources and Energy committee. He said investing in thermal efficiency and weatherization saves businesses and residents money.
“That’s what makes things happen, money talks,” he said. “You can’t make money without spending some.”
An example of an investment that makes money is Efficiency Vermont, the administrator of the state’s energy efficiency program designed to reduce energy costs, he said.
Jim Merriam, director of Efficiency Vermont, said the organization can weatherize homes to save residents about $1,000 in annual heating costs. By tightening up Vermont’s outdated housing stock, residents put less stress on the regional electrical grid.
Efficiency Vermont can get receive credit for these savings from ISO New England, the regional grid operator, because less stress on the grid means more stability for grid operators, a reliability there are willing to pay for, he said.
These credits are then invested back into thermal efficiency and weatherization projects around the state, fueling a feedback loop between investments and savings.
These investments will also help combat the dangers of climate change, said Rep. Rebecca Ellis, D-Waterbury.
She said the state has been experiencing extreme weather more frequently, such as the flooding by Tropical Storm Irene and warmer winters. These weather patterns take a physical and emotional toll on residents in the state, she said.