The Burlington Electric Department (BED) and Vermont Gas Systems, Inc., are teaming up to launch Burlington’s first Energy Champ Challenge efficiency program. The Energy Champ Challenge offers Burlington owners of multi-unit, residential rentals a 75% cost savings on weatherization upgrades to their buildings in an effort to help them prepare for a more sustainable energy future.
“This exciting partnership with Vermont Gas will offer our shared customers the opportunity to make needed weatherization upgrades to multi-unit, residential rentals, saving money for both building owners and renters,” said Neale Lunderville, General Manager of BED. “In Burlington, we are proud to source 100% of our power from renewable generation, but we haven’t stopped there. The Energy Champ Challenge is the next important step in our work to become a truly sustainable city through greater energy efficiency.”
“By offering a 75% incentive for thermal efficiency upgrades at these rental properties, Vermont Gas will help our customers use less energy and lower their monthly utility bills,” said Don Rendall, President and CEO of Vermont Gas. “Efficiency programs work because we know that the cleanest and most affordable energy is the energy we don’t use at all. We are thrilled to join BED in leading the way to a clean energy future with innovative approaches like the Energy Champ Challenge.”
To benefit from the Energy Champ Challenge, the first step for multi-unit, residential rental building owners is to schedule a free, all-inclusive energy audit from Vermont Gas and BED by visitingwww.energychampbtv.com or by calling 802.863.4511. This top-to-bottom review will provide owners with a full picture of efficiency opportunities and options for completing the recommended improvements such as weather stripping and insulation.
Vermont Gas will cover 75% of all recommended weatherization upgrades, saving building owners thousands – and in some cases tens of thousands – of dollars in upfront improvement costs. Buildings can realize a 20-30% reduction in energy consumption almost immediately after making improvements. In addition to upfront savings for property owners, these upgrades increase building values and lower utility costs for both owners and tenants. BED is offering all Energy Champ owners and renters electric efficiency toolkits, including LED light bulbs and advanced power strips, to further reduce energy consumption.
“The cost of housing has been a longstanding challenge in our City, and this innovative partnership will help both landlords and renters reduce costs and improve affordability,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “The Energy Champ Challenge will improve the quality of the properties, lower energy bills for renters, and help building owners address needed improvements to their buildings. Everyone wins.”
Mayor Weinberger also highlighted that ‘promot[ing] energy efficiency execution’ was a key recommendation of the 2013 IBM Smarter Cities Challenge (SCC) report. The SCC report was the product of a pro bono consulting engagement won by the City to analyze and recommend ways Burlington could become an even better, greener place in which to live and work through increased reliance on and use of sustainable, renewable energy sources. The SCC report noted: ‘Buildings that are not sufficiently weatherized consume a large amount of energy and have a negative impact on the environment. Burlington’s high number (57%) of rental properties… and its aged housing stock represent a challenge to the City’s energy-efficiency programs and incentives.’ (IBM Smarter Cities Challenge final report, 9/3/13, p.29.)
“The Energy Champ Challenge squarely addresses the Smarter Cities recommendation that we do more to promote the implementation of energy efficiency opportunities,” added Weinberger. “I encourage Burlington building owners to learn about the program and take advantage of this great deal.”
Allyson Basha hosted the kick-off event at her rental property on Loomis Street. She believes programs like this are exactly what Burlington needs. “I want to thank everyone who made this program possible,” said Basha. “It’s a fun and affordable way for those of us who own rental properties to make important improvements to our buildings. I urge other building owners to join this team effort and sign up today.”
Burlington’s much beloved Champ, mascot of the Vermont Lake Monsters, was on hand Wednesday to help announce the eponymous initiative. The first 50 Energy Champs this year will be invited to a barbeque at a Lake Monster’s game this summer. While Champ himself offered no verbal comment on the program, his big grin signaled that he believes this program will be a grand slam for Burlington customers.
To learn more about the Energy Champ Challenge and find out how you can become an Energy Champ, visit www.energychampbtv.com or call 802.863.4511