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To The Editor:
A recent submission to this paper voiced several concerns about Vermont's approach to energy efficiency. I appreciate the opportunity to address those issues by offering some clarification on the work of Efficiency Vermont.
The writer was critical of Efficiency Vermont for providing incentives and services to help Vermonters tighten up their homes and save money. As an alternative, he suggested focusing entirely on making sure newly constructed buildings meet high energy standards.
At Efficiency Vermont, we think we should be doing both. While it is certainly important that we make our newly constructed buildings as energy efficient as possible, it is important to realize that this would only help a tiny fraction of Vermont families. In 2012, 1,258 new homes were built in Vermont, but there are some 320,000 homes in the state, making up some of the oldest, least energy-efficient housing stock in the nation. We can't ignore those 99 percent of Vermonters who also want to save money and energy.
Of course, fixing older homes is not enough, and Vermont has taken steps over the last several years to increase energy standards so we can ensure that new homes do not waste energy. Efficiency Vermont actively supports and advances this critical work – through both outreach to policymakers and by working directly with builders and homeowners to help ensure that newly built homes meet and exceed high energy standards.
I encourage any readers who have questions or thoughts on these issues to give us a call at 1-888-921-5990.
Jim Merriam, director of Efficiency Vermont
Daytime phone number: (802) 881-4768