SERG Programs

SERG develops and implements programs for individuals, businesses and municipalities that promote energy conservation, efficiency and increased use of renewable energy. Here is a list of some new programs SERG is working on, some of our ongoing initiatives and some past successes. For more information on these programs, contact the links listed or SERG.

 

New SERG Programs

SERG is working with Lakes Region Community College in New Hampshire to develop an accredited workshop to inform realtors about the increased value of weatherized, energy efficient homes because of their lower maintenance and operating costs, and the improved comfort, health and safety of the homes. This workshop will be delivered throughout New Hampshire,initially, throughout 2012.

SERG is working helping educate towns on joining or establishing PACE districts to provide homeowners with funds to install home energy savings and renewable energy projects. All towns interested in learning more are encouraged to attend a free workshop Thursday, Sept. 15th at the Bugbee Senior Center in White River Junction, VT – 7 – 9 PM. Free.

Ongoing SERG Programs

Initiative launched with project partners COVER Home Repair, the Upper Valley Housing Coalition and Habitat for Humanity in 2010 to coordinate and increase home weatherization activities in the region. UV HEAT’s goal is to help home owners throughout the region cut their energy use and spending by 30 percent or more by weatherizing their homes. Through UV HEAT, SERG organizes certification trainings for new energy auditors in the Upper Valley, networks with contractors and leads weatherization workshops. More information about UV HEAT available at our one-stop-shop website for all the information and resources to get your home weatherized in the Upper Valley – www.uvheat.org.

In 2011, SERG worked with the Thetford Energy Committee to implement a comprehensive program of community based social marketing initiatives to promote home weatherization.  The goal of the multi-faceted education and outreach effort was to triple from 12 to 36 the number of homes being weatherized in Thetford each year, putting it on par to match Vermont's statewide climate change goals.  Click here to see the results for the first year of the program and analysis of what drove participants to action as well as selected comments from particpants.  

The major components of the program included: 

  • a Door2Door Weatherization Outreach that resulted in 60% of Thetford homes visited by volunteers,
  • a Weatherization Expo visited by 150 people that included workshops, vendors, demonstrations, skits and presentations,
  • a Weatherization Skillshop, a day-long hands-on training in Do It Yourself Weatherization produced and available through Central Vermont Community Action Council 
  • Open Home Tours attended by 2 dozen homeowners to two Thetford homes that had completed the Home Performance and DIYprograms
  • Thetford Home Weatherization Incentives Program which provided $24,000 in a Federal Stimulus grant to match the $2,500 per home incentive from Efficiency Vermont for home weatherization improvements

If your town is interested in replicating this program please contact us for more information.
Thetford Weatherization Program Report – 2011
 

SERG worked with Thetford's Parish Players to create the following 3 skits, performed at the Thetford Home Energy Expo, showing why Weatherization IS Sexy!

Thetford Couple Gets Comfortable
The Rating Game
The Weatherstrippers

SERG was created in 2002 with a mission to develop and consult with town energy committees. Our model was so successful that today we are working through networks in both Vermont and New Hampshire to provide information and resources to more than 90 town energy committees in each state – see the NH Local Energy Committees Working Group/LECWG and Vermont Energy & Climate Action Network/VECAN for more information. VECAN is hosting its fourth annual day-long statewide conference of energy committees Dec. 3rd, 2011 at the Lake Morey Inn, Fairlee. Our 2010 annual VECAN meeting was attended by more than 250 community energy organizers. SERG also organizes twice annual meetings of energy committee representatives from throughout the Upper Valley to share information updates and to discuss collaborative regional projects. In May we organized our fourth annual Upper Valley Energy Committee Roundtable attended by 59 representatives from 22 town energy committees, 3 regional planning commissions, 6 energy-related nonprofits and the EPA.

SERG provided more than 120 Home Performance with ENERGY STAR assessments since 2008, including blower door tests, infrared scans, combustion efficiency tests, and health and safety checks. Typical Home Performance projects weatherization cut fuel use by 30% and save homeowners$800 to $1,000 in annual energy costs. For more information click here.

SERG has worked with Thetford, Vermont since Jan.2004 on a program to reduce its streetlights, make them more efficient and less light polluting. Thetford has eliminated 1/3 of its streetlights and is working on switching its remaining lights to more efficient LEDs. Thetford is currently challenging Central Vermont Public Service Corp. before the Vermont Public Service over its rate for town ownership of streetlights.“SERG has provided invaluable expertise,helping Thetford win grants, reduce our electricity use (removing one quarter of our streetlights before switching to LEDs) and, of course, save money.”-Tig Tillinghast, Chair, Thetford Selectboard.

In 2008 SERG helped create the hugely successful Button Up Vermont Home Energy Saving Workshops, which has been presented more than 200 times throughout Vermont. In2009, SERG worked with Clean Air – Cool Planet to expand and bring this program to New Hampshire. We will once again be leading a series of workshops for the public and business employees this fall and winter. Contact SERG for a workshop schedule.

SERG continues to educate the public through public forums and workshops, letters to the editor and regular outreach to our database of over 2,000. We continue to work with town energy committees, individuals, state agencies and other organizations to support and promote energy conservation, efficiency and renewal initiatives.

SERG maintains a list of Energy Alliance businesses who offer discounts on energy efficiency and renewable energy products and services, such as wood stoves, solar hot water and PV systems and weatherization supplies, to those who make a tax-deductible contribution of $50 or more to SERG. You can view the complete list of Energy Alliance business partners and the discounts they offer by clicking here.

Past SERG Successes

SERG completed a very successful year-long volunteer-assisted weatherization project of the Thetford Center Community Center in 2010. 59 community volunteers contributed over 500 hours of labor to retrofit and weatherize the building. We reduced air infiltration over 80%, eliminated dampness in the basement, repaired a crumbling foundation and greatly increased building comfort. SERG wil lcontinue to monitor actual use to verify these savings, with hopes that it will serve as a model for other community building retrofit efforts. Our sincere thanks to the many volunteers, the Thetford Center Community Association, the Thetford Energy Committee, The Preservation Trust of Vermont and project funders (Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, New England Grassroots Environment Fund and Ben & Jerry's Community Action Team, as well as individual and local business donors) for their generous support that made this project possible.

In 2010/11, SERG worked with Clean Air Cool Planet, Vital Communities, Sustainable Development& Energy Systems Group and Jeffrey H. Taylor & Associates to provide municipal energy inventories and audits to six Upper Valley communities(Lebanon, Enfield, Cornish, New London, Grafton and Danbury) as part of a larger program to 48 communities across New Hampshire.

In 2007SERG compiled and delivered packages of energy education resource kits, including books, DVDs, home energy calculators and watt-meters, to 30 municipal libraries.

In winter and spring of 2006 a Masters in Engineering Management graduate student from Thayer and Tuck Schools at Dartmouth conducted a study for SERG and produced a report showing the economic and technical feasibility of collecting and using methane from the Lebanon Landfill. The study findings looked promising for using this renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing a revenue stream for the city. The study's final report was presented to the Lebanon City Council, which expressed interest in pursuing the issue further. Lebanon is currently in the process of developing this resource.

In 2005, SERG contributed $8,200 to increase the efficiency in the new Upper Valley Haven building which will save the Haven about $1,000 in energy use per year.

Since 2003, SERG has sold more than 1,150 energy-efficient Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, saving 500,000 kilowatt hours of electricity,$60,000 in energy costs and 568 tons of carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere