WINOOSKI – A coalition of Vermont utilities, weatherization agencies, regional development corporations, town energy committees, and nonprofit organizations convened recently for the virtual launch of this year’s Button Up Vermont weatherization campaign.
To promote safety and help slow the spread of COVID-19, this year’s effort will rely on online workshops and events to help Vermonters find resources to help them stay cozy and healthy without a spike in heating bills, including DIY projects that can be completed in a weekend.
“With so many Vermonters spending more time at home, weatherization is as important as it’s ever been,” said Becca White, Community Engagement Manager for Efficiency Vermont, who is coordinating the campaign on behalf of the partner organizations. “Weatherization not only reduces carbon emissions and saves people money on heating bills, it also makes our homes more comfortable and healthier.”
Multiple partners took part in the online kick-off event, including Johanna Miller, Energy & Climate Program Director for the Vermont Natural Resources Council.
“This has for many years now been a really important initiative,” said Miller. “The thermal sector is one of our most energy-intensive sectors. Reducing the amount of energy that we use in our buildings is a really important tool, and a valuable tool, in reducing climate pollution and helping Vermonters to achieve other important benefits, including saving money.”
Essex Junction resident Darren Schibler shared his recent experience working with a weatherization contractor to install dense-packed cellulose insulation in the walls of his 70-year-old home.
“We’ve already noticed a difference in the comfort level of the home,” Schibler said. “There’s less of a draft, the dehumidifier runs at about half of what it normally does, and we are looking forward to saving some money on heating in the winter.”
The launch event kicked off a weekly series of “Weatherization Wednesdays,” which will continue through November, featuring different partners and weatherization topics each week.
Event updates and schedules are available at buttonupvermont.org/events.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
In addition to promoting weatherization tips and financial resources available to Vermonters, yesterday’s event also featured the announcement of the “Button Up Vermont Fund.”
The campaign will raise money to help more low-income Vermonters move forward with weatherization projects.
The donations raised by Vermonters through this campaign will help low-income Vermonters make necessary repairs or upgrades to their home that will allow them to benefit from free weatherization services through the Weatherization Assistance Program.
Eligible projects would include vermiculite and asbestos removal, heating system repairs, and installation of high-efficiency electric heating systems such as cold-climate heat pumps.
An anonymous donor has provided a $50,000 contribution to seed the Button Up Vermont Fund, and the campaign is seeking to double that amount through grassroots donations.
For more information about the Button Up Vermont Fund and how to contribute, visit buttonupvermont.org/fund.
About Button Up Vermont
Button Up Vermont is a statewide effort to cut energy use and keep families warm and healthy.
Partner organizations include utilities, regional planning commissions, nonprofits, and weatherization agencies.
Visit buttonupvermont.org/partners for a complete list of partners and more information about the effort at buttonupvermont.org/2020-campaign.