One week after President Donald Trump announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, local leaders in the New Hampshire seacoast are rapidly expanding a community clean energy initiative to save money and help save the planet, one home at a time.
Energize 360 brings together twelve New Hampshire cities and towns in a first-of-its-kind campaign to help residents take control of their energy future by leveraging the power of group discounts and funding clean energy projects in the local communities. The program combines public education with personalized site visits by local clean energy professionals to help people in the participating towns lower their energy use, drive down energy costs, and transition to clean energy in their homes, businesses, and public institutions.
“People are really concerned about the high cost of energy in New Hampshire and our continued reliance on imported fossil fuels,” said Charles Forcey, chair of the Durham Energy Committee and a volunteer coordinator of Energize 360. “While Washington politicians refuse to address the climate crisis, Energize 360 is giving folks the tools they need to lower their carbon footprint and save money through energy efficiency and renewables."
Every participant in Energize 360 receives a free site visit, a Home Heating Index score, and a comprehensive analysis of their energy use. Depending on the results, they can then choose to install insulation, solar systems, heat pumps, or all of the above at special Energize 360 discounts, and receive help qualifying for available rebates and incentives. The program is open to any resident or business/organization in the participating towns.
Launched in March 2017 by local energy leaders in Durham, Dover, Lee, Northwood, and Portsmouth, Energize 360 this week announced the addition of seven more towns in response to high demand from citizens concerned about the cost of both energy and climate change. The newly-confirmed towns include Exeter, Hampton, Newmarket, Madbury, Rye, and Strafford, and Stratham.
"This program is about educating and empowering communities to bring about the energy transition from the bottom up,” added Energize 360 coordinator Henry Herndon of Dover. "It has been so inspiring to see the groundswell of leadership at the community level."
In order to encourage widespread participation, Energize 360 provides tiered discounts for consumers and pledges to fund clean energy projects in each community. The discounts and funds available for community projects both increase as participation in the campaign increases. Program participants will have the opportunity to select the free clean energy projects in their towns. Residents of the original five towns must complete their project agreements by July 31st while those in the second seven towns have until August 31st.
Energize 360 is a partnership between Seacoast Regional Energy Hub, Seacoast Area Renewable Energy Initiative (SEAREI), ReVision Energy, and Yankee Thermal Imaging. The participating program vendors were selected by an independent committee through a competitive bidding process that took into consideration competence and cost. Energize 360 discounts cannot be combined with other discounts.
“With the cost of solar panels down 75 percent over the last decade, anyone with a roof or lawn and a clear view to the sun has the potential to generate their own electricity,” said Dan Clapp, General Manager at ReVision Energy. “And thanks to complementary technologies offered by Energize 360, you can now use that power to heat and cool your home, provide hot water, charge your vehicle, and power your daily life.”
Tori Martin of Yankee Thermal Imaging added, "Energy efficiency is by far the cheapest energy resource. Every dollar we invest in energy savings helps to stem the economic drain of energy dollars leaving our state to pay for imported fossil fuels. Energy efficiency is about stimulating our local economy and making New Hampshire more energy independent."
Energize 360 was not the only local response to President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris accord. Portsmouth Mayor Jim Blalock, a champion of Energize 360, this week joined 278 other US Climate Mayors, including the mayors of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Nashua, NH in pledging to adopt, honor and uphold the Paris Climate Agreement goals.