Letter to the editor: Going green is cheaper than gas

Kermit the frog laments, “It’s not easy being green.” However it’s often cheaper in the long run going green with efficiency and renewables than switching to natural gas. And life is made easier by stabilizing and lowering energy costs and creating a more comfortable environment. Programs like Efficiency Vermont offer technical assistance and rebates for weatherizing and efficiency measures. Contact your local energy committee for more info.
Neighborworks, Vermont State Employees Credit Union and other local lenders offer accessible, low-interest financing specifically for weatherizing, efficient appliances, cold climate heat pumps/hot water heaters and renewable energy systems. They are committed to Vermont’s goals of reducing fossil fuel use and make every effort to approve financing that works for people. Homeowners can pay the same or less than their present monthly energy bill for the loan to have the work done. After paying off the loan, individuals may pay 30 percent, 50 percent, 80 percent or even 100 percent less than they are now.
If you don’t think you’ll be approved for a loan, check into Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity. CVOEO weatherizes homes for free, replaces old appliances with efficient ones, and helps with roof repair and moisture mitigation for those who are income eligible. There’s a waiting list so it’s best to sign up as soon as possible.
Switching to natural gas for home heating requires conversion costs and monthly fees on top of the fuel bill. Individuals choosing natural gas will be locked into paying a rising monthly fuel bill … forever. The “Cheap and Clean” message for natural gas has been misleading. Recent science reports (EPA) that emissions from natural gas extraction and delivery are 28-38 times more potent than CO2 in atmospheric warming effect. Only at the burn tip does natural gas rate better than oil and coal. And there’s no burn tip without the extraction and delivery emissions.
It’s getting easier to be green these days with all the support available and it definitely pays off by stabilizing a lower energy bill. Another bonus is being part of the solution rather than part of the pollution. And a third benefit comes with stimulating our regional economy by keeping money and jobs in state. All fossil fuels are imported which is a huge economic loss for Vermont. Nearly $1.5 billion leaves Vermont per year to pay for fossil fuel. Investing in efficiency and renewables keeps money circulating locally for the health of our communities.
Sally Burrell
Bristol Energy Committee

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