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Button Up Vt. Day of Action set to lend a hand to those in need

VERMONT — Spring has long been the time when Vermonters Green Up. This fall Vermonters will be encouraged to “Button Up.” Saturday, Oct. 5, is the first annual Button Up Vermont Day of Action. Vermonters have a powerful opportunity to participate in a local effort — or start their own — to encourage friends and neighbors to lower their energy bills this winter by weatherizing their homes.
Modeled after Vermont’s successful “Green Up Day” and building on the familiar Button Up brand, Oct. 5 will be the first-ever grassroots day of action on weatherization in Vermont. The day is aimed at mobilizing as many volunteers as possible in communities throughout the state to take steps — large and small — to help Vermonters stop wasting energy and money and reduce our contribution to climate change. The Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network (VECAN) is spearheading the effort in partnership with Efficiency Vermont and Vermont Home Energy Challenge Coordinators. To sign up for the Day of Action, go to www.vecan.net/buttonupvermontday.
“As winter approaches, we hope to inspire more people to get their friends and neighbors thinking about — and taking action on — tightening up their homes,” VECAN Coordinator Johanna Miller said.
“Weatherization can be a tough sell because the most effective upgrades are often in the attic and basement — they are invisible,” Melanie Paskevich, coordinator of the NeighborWorks HEAT Squad, said. “That’s why it is so important to promote weatherization upgrades to your friends and neighbors — once they get the work done, they’ll start seeing the benefits in lower heating bills and a more comfortable home.”
Anyone living in Addison, Rutland, Bennington, Windham or Windsor counties is eligible to work with the NeighborWorks HEAT Squad. They have helped nearly 700 customers in Rutland County improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Those homeowners are saving an estimated average of nearly 400 gallons of fuel every year.
Middlebury Home Energy Challenge and HEAT Squad volunteers will be available to help homeowners with fall home improvement tips and free energy saving materials at a Button Up Help Table at Martin’s True Value Hardware Store on Route 7 South in Middlebury from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Martin’s will offer 10 percent off weatherization materials in honor of Button Up Day.
Homeowners can register at Martin’s on Button Up Day for a Do It Yourself Weatherization Skillshop to be held on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury, hosted by Efficiency Vermont. The cost is $25 and includes lunch and a workbook.
“Homeowners can take immediate simple actions to reduce their heat loss, which they can learn on Button Up Day, at a Weatherization Skillshop, or by contacting me for a free visit,” said Laura Asermily, Middlebury Home Energy Challenge coordinator. To register for the skillshop or arrange a free home energy visit, contact Asermily at 388-9478 or [email protected]
Weybridge will be celebrating its success in reaching its goal in the Vermont Home Energy Challenge with free apples, pies and home energy savings kits at the Weybridge Transfer Station from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is the first town in the state to reach its goal, thanks to the efforts of Weybridge Home Energy Challenge volunteers, led by Fran Putnam.
Jim Merriam, director of Efficiency Vermont, which is collaborating with VECAN on this year’s Vermont Home Energy Challenge, notes that where energy efficiency is concerned, lots of small actions can add up to a big impact. “Vermont has long been a leader on energy efficiency, but we still have a long way to go in meeting our state’s home energy goals,” he said. “Button Up day will be a chance to celebrate our communities — and take real actions to move the state forward while helping Vermonters save money on their energy bills this winter.”
To learn more about Button Up Vermont Day of Action or to volunteer a few hours Oct. 5, visit www.vecan.net/buttonupvermontday. If you would like to be a local organizer you can contact Keil Corey at [email protected] or 223-2328, ext. 118.

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