The University of Massachusetts Campus Initiative is partnering with MassSave, an energy efficiency program, to offer free energy audits for students living off campus.
Funded by utility companies in Massachusetts, “the primary goal of MassSave is to promote energy efficiency through extensive rebates and incentive options,” according to the letter above, addressed to off campus students.
Though some states require energy audits before buying a house or renting an apartment, Massachusetts is not one of them.
According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, “Massachusetts utilities expect to invest $2.2 billion in energy efficiency resources between 2013 and 2015” and the amount of home energy services audits is expected to increase 15 percent.
UMass Sustainability Manager Ezra Small urged students to be proactive and take advantage of the audits.
“The great thing about getting an energy audit is that they’ll give you free energy efficient light bulbs, and they’ll test all of your ventilation,” Small said. “Once they test the ventilation, they can tell how airtight (the home) is and then they’ll have you purchase better ventilation.”
Tenants must have the consent of a landlord to have an audit, since there are certain steps that need to be taken before an energy specialist can visit the home, Small said.
“There are upfront costs, such as servicing your heating system,” he said. “But once you’re cleared, you can get an energy audit and [a specialist] will come in and do your insulation, and most of it will be paid for from there.”
According to the letter, an energy specialist will then, free of charge, “provide specific, highly incentivized energy-saving recommendations,” such as 75 percent off the installed cost of recommended insulation, up to $2,000; six to eight hours of no-cost air sealing to reduce draftiness; and rebates for heating and hot water equipment replacement.
According to MassSave, the audit should take anywhere between 90 to 150 minutes. During that time, the specialist will provide advice and assistance to tenants in order to develop better energy solutions.
If interested in having an energy specialist visit your home, contact the Center for EcoTechnology, the local partner of MassSave which performs the energy audits.
Taylor Snow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.