Westborough – Officials are turning to the public after winning a unique opportunity.
They can raise up to $15,000 in grant money from this. But, to make that happen, they need Westborough residents to volunteer their own homes for free energy efficiency assessments through what is called the Mass Save, Municipal Partnership Program.
Officials tout ‘win-win’ situation
To get its money, Westborough must encourage residents to complete a no-cost Home Energy Assessment performed by an Energy Specialist. Residents can then implement weatherization and efficiency measures recommended for their property.
“This is a win-win for the entire community,” Assistant Town Manager Kim Foster wrote in a recent press release.
Mass Save partners with Westborough
Mass Save programs help utility customers get access to home efficiency upgrades.
After volunteering for an audit, participants receive financial incentives and subsidies to help defray the cost to implement recommended efficiency measures.
At a homeowner’s request, an Energy Specialist can also identify approved contractors and equipment suppliers to complete upgrades.
“We’re excited to be one of a handful of Massachusetts communities selected for this program in 2021,” Foster said, recently.
Program focuses on improving access to efficiency measures
Within this push for increased participation in Mass Save as a whole, the Municipal Partnership aims, in part, to increase participation among renters, seniors, moderate income homeowners, and non-English speakers.
“While we encourage all residents to take advantage of the Mass Save offers, our outreach campaign in Westborough will focus especially on segments of our community who have not historically participated in these energy efficiency programs,” Foster said.
She elaborated, saying “We have engaged existing community partners like the Westborough Senior Center and Youth & Family Services to get the message out to their constituents and to help us address any obstacles that inhibit people from taking advantage of these resources.”
Lower income residents are eligible for financial assistance. They can access Energy Star rated appliances and water heaters, as well as no cost building weatherization, Foster notes.
Foster then emphasized that residents don’t have to own their home to participate.
Assessment process remains remote amid COVID-19 crisis
Assessments are also performed remotely so residents don’t have to be concerned about COVID-19 safety.
“The Home Energy Assessment has been streamlined,” Foster said.
When an Energy Specialist examines a home, they may recommend anything from water saving items, to insulation improvements, to appliance replacements, to upgrades for existing heating and cooling systems.
“There are still many ways that renters can reduce their monthly utility bills by implementing the energy efficiency measures recommended from their assessment report,” Foster said.
Municipal employees personally buy in to program
As town officials like Foster push this rollout, municipal colleagues have participated, themselves.
“It was a positive experience and definitely worth an hour of my time. I haven’t had to change a light bulb in a year” Senior Center Executive Director Alma DeManche said recently.
Getting her home inspected before this new grant program, DeManche said her energy specialist replaced the light bulbs in her house for free. From there, she received a number of small appliances and an email offer from National Grid a few months later.
“It’s a very generous program,” she said.
For more information and to request a Home Energy Assessment, visit MassSave.com.