ROCKLAND, Maine — Green Sneakers Midcoast has dozens of volunteers who are now going door-to-door from Rockand to Belfast to conduct brief reviews of local homes to see if there are energy leaks and how best to address them.
According to Nancy Glassman, the community coordinator of Green Sneakers in the midcoast, just about every Waldo and Knox county home could be about 25 percent more efficient.
“Maine has the oldest housing stock in the Northeast — so many of our homes are leaking all over the place. There is so much you can do by tightening up the air leakage,” Glassman said.
When Green Sneakers volunteers look through a home, they are looking for some telltale signs:
• Icicles hanging outside the house (could be a sign of heat leakage from the roof).
• Many cobwebs (could be a sign of air movement).
• Drafty areas in a home.
• Everyone in the home gets sick every winter.
• Paying a large energy bill.
The big deterrent of home energy upgrades can be the cost. In many cases, Glassman said, the long-term benefits can cancel out the initial cost. “In a lot of cases the amount of money people are spending for their energy costs — especially if you look over a 10-year period — the money people spend on heat and energy can amount to as much in waste as they would be spending on their improvements. If they make a 25 percent improvement, that might pay for the loan it takes to make the energy upgrade.”
Glassman and the Island Institute in Rockland are working to put together a conference about how best to fund home energy improvements. One of the things discussed will be the PACE low-interest energy improvement loan program.
The program must be approved by municipalities and currently is available in Rockland, Belfast, North Haven and Vinalhaven.
“The PACE loan is great because it is a low interest loan that is a fixed rate 4.99 percent, and it’s not based on your credit rating. For people who have taken a big hit at these times, they’re still eligible,” Glassman said. “The loan provides money upfront for contract work.”
The conference on PACE and some state incentive programs for energy upgrades will take place 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, at the Island Institute conference room on Main Street in Rockland. The conference also will be broadcast to North Haven and Vinalhaven.
“The islands pay even more than we pay on the mainland for energy, so they’re hit with those energy costs,” Glassman said.
In addition to knocking on doors to educate Knox and Waldo county homeowners, the Green Sneakers crew also hosts parties where the public can walk through an energy retro-fitted home and talk to the the homeowners and the contractors who did the work.
For more information about Green Sneakers or to schedule an energy audit of your home, call
322-9147 or e-mail greensneakersMC@gmail.com.