Vermont Business Magazine Over the last two years, South Burlington residents saved big in electricity costs, slashing 6% from their bills, or nearly $450,000 in real savings. How did they do it? It began when the City participated in the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition—offering a $5 million incentive prize to the community that leads the way in energy efficiency. The effort was led by The South Burlington Energy Committee, which has been active since 2008 and has a mission to promote energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy.
The South Burlington Energy Committee promoted energy efficiency through home energy parties, public events, free energy conservation kits, newspaper articles and fun advertisements, Facebook, Front Porch Forum, and the energyprize.org website. Residents took action and upgraded light bulbs to LED, bought new energy-efficient appliances, weatherized homes, installed solar panels, used power strips, replaced inefficient shower heads, shared successes with friends and neighbors, and took many other energy-saving actions. By individually taking action at home, residents have collectively made a big community impact.
“With the rate of savings that the community has already achieved, the $5 million will add up in just over 11 years,” said Keith Epstein, a member of the South Burlington Energy Committee. “There are always more ways to improve and the energy committee will continue to help the City reduce total energy consumption.”
"The wonderful work by the City, the staff, our community volunteers and residents have helped achieve these remarkable results in energy efficiency. Together we have made progress towards our goals for renewable energy, a healthy environment and importantly--real savings. The savings are reserved for future investments so the progress will continue," said Helen Riehle, City Council Chair.
The City’s Energy Committee has worked with partners including, Efficiency Vermont, Green Mountain Power, and Vermont Gas to provide electricity-related education and resources to residents. Each partner is a critical component to the overall success and the integrated approach will continue to help residents save money.
“Congratulations to the City of South Burlington for this remarkable achievement,” said Karen Glitman, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “This is a powerful example of how residents, businesses, community leaders, and utilities like Green Mountain Power and Efficiency Vermont, can partner for success.”
Efficiency Vermont has a multi-pronged role in working with the community. The utility aided in the planning of the changes that could be implemented, provided educational resources, and monitored electricity consumption. They share the data through a dashboard of metrics which has proven a decrease in kWh used in neighborhoods throughout the City. They also bring incentives to residents such as rebates on energy efficient improvements, and connections to resources for services such as energy assessments or renovation and construction.
Green Mountain Power invested in outreach to the South Burlington Community and citizens responded. The company is committed to the community and the environment, transforming the future of energy consumption by investing in education about using less energy and providing customers with energy efficient products and services.
“We are so pleased to work with South Burlington to deliver such impressive results and pave the way to a new energy future that is more sustainable,” said Dorothy Schnure, Green Mountain Power spokesperson. “As an energy transformation company, we love to partner with communities to help them leverage the latest technologies to lower costs, increase their comfort and reduce fossil fuel use. We commend everyone in South Burlington for their commitment and to delivering on this better energy future!"
Source: City of South Burlington. 6.27.2017. To learn more about the South Burlington’s energy saving efforts, visit energyprize.org.