October 12, 2018

It’s easy to get discouraged or confused when you try to understand federal and state regulations governing the use, subsidies and requirements for renewable energy. Ultimately, most people who are concerned about the environment want to understand what individual steps they can take to protect and improve their homes, their wallets and the planet.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), about three-fifths of all Vermont households rely on fuel oil, kerosene, or propane to heat their homes. In addition to its negative effect on the environment, the EIA also states that the high dependence on fuel oil makes Vermont particularly vulnerable to fuel oil shortages and price spikes during the winter months.

In 2001, a group of environmentally-minded individuals gathered in Vermont to brainstorm about how to reduce our state’s dependence on fossil fuel for home heating. Under consideration was a “bottoms up” approach where homeowners who heated with oil, propane or kerosene would be encouraged improve their home’s efficiency and use less fuel. This is the premise that founded the Energy Co-op of Vermont. Since 2001, we have helped thousands of Vermont households save money and fossil fuel.

The reality is that the median year for a house built in Vermont is 1974. So, if we set our goal at 100% fossil fuel reduction, we must provide solutions that fit both aging and newer dwellings. The graphic with this blog relates to an example of a home with an older heating system that is currently using 630 gallons of heating fuel a year.

We understand that reducing your home’s fossil fuel use does not have a “one size fits all” solution. That’s why we provide customized services for our members and customers that relate directly to their goals and budget. Here are four questions that can help decide what approach is right for you:

  1. Could your heating system work more efficiently if it had a tune up?
  2. Are there simple improvements in window and door sealing or insulation that could make a big difference for your home?
  3. If your heating system is more than 15 or 20 years old, can it be replaced with the energy savings that offset the investment over time?
  4. Are you a good candidate for saving energy with a heat pump or solar installation?

If the answer to any of these questions is “YES”, contact us. Our experts can provide practical solutions that will help jump-start your path to taking control of your fossil fuel use.