May 16, 2014
Joined by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Green Mountain Power announced a new initiative called "eHome," a first in the nation holistic home energy services program. The first home in the program is in Rutland and is called the Energy Home of the Future. It will serve as the model for energy efficiency, weatherization, and the use of innovative new alternative energy technology tools such as high tech thermostats and smart electrical plugs. As part of the program, Green Mountain Power will work with customers to update existing homes to help them use less energy, save money, improve comfort, and reduce fossil fuel use.
Secretary Moniz was in Rutland on Friday and toured the Energy Home of the Future as part of his visit. He called the home the "pathway to the future" and lauded GMP and its partners for the important work they are doing to demonstrate the full value of energy efficiency and innovation.
"Efficiency and the emphasis on efficiency, including in this house, is really, really the pathway to the future. We cannot solve our energy and climate challenges without efficiency playing a huge role. So that's what you see being played out here in front of us and I want to thank the Borkowskis," said Secretary Moniz after touring the Energy Home of the Future.
Secretary Moniz toured the Energy Home of the Future with Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, Congressman Welch and GMP President and CEO Mary Powell, highlighting the energy innovation happening in Rutland and Vermont.
"Vermont is innovating in energy and has been doing so for some years, but I have to say when you see all the things that are happening and have happened and the new ideas, it is really, really extraordinary and GMP is in the middle of that," Secretary Moniz said.
Sara and Mark Borkowski, owners of the Energy Home of the Future, live on Baxter Street in Rutland. The complete energy renovation of their 94-year-old 1,540-square-foot home took about three weeks. Prior to the work, the Borkowskis noted that their home was not weatherized, had old electrical wiring and wasted fuel and electricity. Their home now includes a new heat pump hot water heater that replaces a less efficient electric water heater, two air source heat pumps for heating and cooling each floor of the home, which run on electricity instead of fuel oil, top-to-bottom weatherization to keep the cold out in the winter and the heat out in the summer, LED lighting and solar panels on the garage. The Borkowskis also have a mobile phone app to track their energy use, including appliances and lighting, while also controlling lighting and heat pumps.
"We are already seeing savings from these renovations," Mark Borkowski said. "We are so grateful to GMP and other community leaders who are stepping up to make energy management less confusing for homeowners and more affordable for working families. It means so much to our family finances to use less energy, but it also matters to us to have a safer and more comfortable home for our daughters and to help lead the way right here in Rutland."
The Energy Home of the Future has been so successful that GMP plans to complete 10 more eHomes in Rutland's Northwest Neighborhood by July 1, then expand the pilot to 90 more eHomes across Rutland County.
"GMP is thrilled to be announcing this new program, which ties together so much of our innovation and alterative energy work, from solar to weatherization to smart plugs and heat pumps. This program demonstrates the full value of the products and services available through GMP to help homeowners control energy costs, reduce energy consumption and live a greener life," said Mary Powell, president and CEO of Green Mountain Power. "We are so thankful to the Borkowskis for working with us to bring this vision to reality. Their eHome will serve as the model and inspiration for countless Vermonters who want to lower their energy costs and improve efficiencies in the future. It is also another big step toward making Rutland the Energy City of the Future."
Rutland City Police Chief James Baker noted that GMP has been an active partner in Rutland's Project VISION, and praised the pilot's focus on the Northwest Neighborhood, a prime focus of the city.
"The value of these kinds of collaborations with city residents is tremendous," Baker said. "This pilot will reduce participants' costs of living and demonstrate a commitment to the neighborhood while building pride in the community, all of which help make Rutland a safer place for our kids and families."
"We have already learned a lot from the first Energy Home of the Future, and the 100-home pilot will provide tremendous insights on how to holistically address energy and home comfort issues for Vermonters," Powell said. "What we are learning here will help us dramatically improve customers' lives and finances."
For the project, GMP partnered with NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, Efficiency Vermont, Samesun of Vermont, Weatherization Works, and local contractors.
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power generates, transmits, distributes and sells electricity in the state of Vermont. The company, which was named 2013 Utility of the Year by the Solar Electric Power Association and 2014 Solar Champion by Vote Solar, serves more than 250,000 customers and has set its vision to be the best small company in America.
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