Rising energy and heating costs can be a major concern for many each and every winter……
Especially when you live off shore.
“This year has been extremely cold. I’ve lived here in this house as an adult since 1970, and I don’t remember it being quite so cold here,” said homeowner, Nancy Carter.
Carter’s concerns to be an energy efficient homeowner are like many in Maine, hers come with a challenge. She’s a resident of Swan’s Island.
“Maine islands pay some of the highest energy costs in the country. They pay up to 70 cents or more per kilowatt hour for electricity and up to a dollar more per gallon for heating fuel,” said Brooks Winner, a community energy associate with the Island Institute.
Another challenge is paying for professional contractors to travel to islands to give quotes and make repairs.
The Island Institute out of Rockland is trying to help. Their mission for the last three decades has been supporting Maine’s island communities. They’ve teamed up with Efficiency Maine to bring their home energy program to island residents.
Through funding, they’ve started weatherization week. They bring certified contractors and workers out for the week and pay for lodging and extra costs, leaving the home owner responsible for two hundred dollars for basic costs. This week they’re weatherizing six homes on the island.
“We do energy audits and we combine that with air sealing and weatherization work and we help homeowners come up with a plan to renovate their home or make modifications to make it more energy efficient,” said Keith McPherson, owner of Home Energy Answers.
McPherson has been apart of 15 weatherization weeks. His company uses specialized equipment like infrared cameras.
“Our company has done over 700 houses in the last thee years, our average savings is between 6 and 700 dollars per year, per house, not counting the additional work that we do above and beyond the weatherization day.”
“It makes a huge difference. There were a lot of drafts before and it was, you know, I’d wrap myself in blankets, and I used to nail a blanket over one of the doors to keep the cold draft from coming through, and it’s made a huge difference,” said Ann Marie Maguire, who also lives on the island.
“My two hundred dollars probably is multi-paid back to me by savings in fuel, and comfort,” said Carter.
“It’s really a community approach to weatherization and energy efficiency work in homes and buildings and it’s kind if using the community, the bonds that exist between people to help spread the word and educate people,” said Winner.