Heating bills in many older homes can be cut by 30% to 50% by getting an energy audit and effectively weatherizing your home. Households meeting income eligibility guidelines may qualify for free energy audits and retrofits, through the Vermont Weatherization Program. More information about Vermont’s Weatherization Program is available at:http://www.dcf.state.vt.us/oeo/weatherization.
If you do not meet the low income eligibility criteria, visit www.efficiencyvermont.org and search for Home Performance with Energy Star contractors.
Making Bicycles a Better Way to Travel
Properly inflating tires can improve gas mileage by up to 5%. The following Thetford stores offer free air for tire inflation: Huggett’s Market and Chuck’s Auto Repair in East Thetford and Thetford Auto Service in Thetford Center.
Reduced idling saves fuel and thus money, reduces pollutants (particularly those that cause respiratory problems like asthma), saves wear and tear on the engine, and reduces your contribution to climate-changing greenhouse gases. One easy way to reduce your vehicle idling is to eliminate unnecessary warmup. Consult your vehicle manual for the manufacturer’s instructions on warmup — vehicles with direct injection engines (produced beginning in the mid-1980s) do not need to be warmed up and excessive warmup can damage the engine, wastes fuel, and increases emissions. Vehicle Idling Q&A pdf (73kb)
Other common situations that lead to unnecessary vehicle idling include dropping off and picking up children at school; stopping at the post office, stores, and recycling; pulling over to talk on cell phones; waiting to pass through roadwork sites or for a freight train to pass; and waiting at drive-thru windows. The EPA recommends parking your car and going into restaurants, banks, and the like instead of idling in drive-up lanes. In most situations, you will save gas by turning the engine off and restarting it again rather than idling the engine.
Eating locally produced foods not only supports neighboring farmers, it can reduce the energy impact of the food you eat. The Thetford Energy Committee is working with various groups, including
Vital Communities www.vitalcommunities.org,
Cedar Circle Farm www.cedarcirclefarm.org,
Crossroad Farm www.crossroadfarm.com,
Willing Hands www.willinghandsinc.org, and the
Thetford Recreation Department to increase awareness of and access to local food options.
Take advantage of ride sharing and public transportation options available in the Upper Valley:
- There is a commuter parking lot for carpooling and public transit on Rt. 113 just east of the I-91 Thetford exit.
- Stagecoach bus service picks up riders there for trips into the Hanover, Lebanon, White River area, Monday through Friday at 6:55AM and 10AM and drops off back at the Thetford Park and Ride at 1:30PM and 5PM. Riders with medical issues, disabilities or over 60 years of age can call for special individual pickups. For fares, complete schedules or to schedule pickups, contact Stagecoach at 802-728-3773, hbenoir@stagecoach-rides.
org or www.stagecoach-rides.org.
- Advance Transit provides free bus service between the core Upper Valley towns: 802-295-1824,firstname.lastname@example.org, schedules online at www.Advancetransit.com.
- Vital Communities provides a comprehensive map showing all Upper Valley bus routes atwww.vitalcommunities.org/Transport/transportmap.htm.
- Upper Valley Rideshare provides free carpool matching services for commuters in VT and NH, with FREE Emergency Ride Home benefit for all registered carpoolers. ERH also available to regular transit riders, bicyclists and walkers who work in the Upper Valley BEST Workplaces for Commuters District. See website for details. Broker for Vermont RideShare. 802-295-1824 x21, email@example.com,www.uppervalleyrideshare.com and www.vermontrideshare.org.
State and Local Energy Resources
The State has launched the Vermont Fuel and Food Partnership to help Vermonters address increasing home heating, gasoline, and food costs. The initiative includes links to weatherization, heating assistance, and more at www.helpforvt.org.
Energy Reference Section in Latham Library: To learn more about reducing your energy consumption and the effects of energy’s overuse, you can borrow books and DVDs from the Energy Reference Section at Latham Library on Thetford Hill. Also on loan is a Watt meter – just plug in your home appliances to measure how much energy they use. A PDF copy of the Watt meter instructions is available online. Killawatt instructions 07307.pdf(29kb). For Library Hours call 802-785-4361.
Efficiency Vermont helps Vermonters reduce energy use in their homes, farms and businesses through a variety of services. These services include technical assistance, education and financial incentives for the purchase of energy-efficient products; EnergySmart home energy analysis CD’s and on-line, a list of certified Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractors and weatherization contractors and more, 888-921-5990,www.efficiencyvermont.com.
Vermont Department of Public Service maintains a webpage of information on energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy.
You can also get information on energy efficient appliances and other advice for saving energy in your home from the federal government at www.energystar.gov