This Just In: Heating Legislation Can Help Vermonters Save Big

Update from VPIRG Clean Energy Advocate, Ben Walsh

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Last month I told you about work I’ve been doing with dozens of other groups and experts around the state to show the legislature the opportunity we have to achieve drastic savings of money and energy on heating our homes and businesses. Just hours ago, the final results of that work were released, and the findings are incredible.  Please take a minute to ask our elected leaders to help us save energy and money!

Following through on the report’s recommendations would lead to:

  • Savings of $1,000 a year for the typical weatherized home through efficiency alone – totaling $1.4 billion in savings statewide.
  • A drop in global warming emissions equivalent to removing over 1,200,000 passenger cars from the roads for one year.
  • Expanded availability of efficiency services for low-income Vermonters, helping those who are hit hardest by unaffordable heating bills.
  • More than $6 in savings for every public dollar invested in the proposed programs, keeping Vermonters money working in Vermont.

No kidding – a 6 to 1 return on investment. You’d think a proposal this good would be a shoo-in, but sadly it’s not. Fossil fuel interests have already launched a campaign to scare Vermont legislators into rejecting it.

They’re betting Vermonters like you are going to sit this one out. Prove them wrong.

Over the past decade the cost of heating the typical Vermont home in the winter has nearly doubled, and the fossil fuels we’re using to stay warm are as dirty as ever. In 2003, a gallon of heating oil cost $1.50. Today, that same gallon costs $3.80. Over that same decade the climate crisis has gone from an academic question to something that has come crashing into (and in some cases through) our living rooms.

It’s no secret that weatherizing 80,000 Vermont homes and hundreds of Vermont businesses isn’t free. In fact, it will cost the state roughly $30 million a year between now and 2020 to make that happen.  That’s just it though – this is an investment in Vermont’s future, and that cost pales in comparison to the hundreds of millions Vermonters ship out of state every single year to pay for dirty fossil fuels and the untold future cost of climate change.

Sitting on our hands and letting this opportunity pass us by is inexcusable, environmentally and economically. This is simply the responsible thing to do, and it’s the only way we can ensure we leave a positive legacy of clean energy and affordable, comfortable homes for our children and grandchildren.

Ensuring this plan passes will take everything we’ve got, and it starts with you asking the state’s leaders to make the right decision and lead on this. Thank you for sending them an email today.