URI Energy Fellows to encourage residents to schedule home energy assessments

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Partnership with National Grid aims to promote energy efficiency in Warwick, South Kingstown

KINGSTON, R.I. – August 15, 2011 – A team of students from the University of Rhode Island will soon begin canvassing neighborhoods in Warwick and reaching out to residents in South Kingstown to encourage them to schedule a free home energy assessment through National Grid’s EnergyWise program. The initiative is aimed at reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency in the communities.

The assessment includes the free replacement of incandescent light bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs; free installation of energy efficient faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads; an evaluation of the level of insulation in the walls and attic; and a review of appliances for their energy efficiency rating. After the initial assessment, National Grid will pay for 75 percent (up to $2,000) of the cost of weatherization and 100 percent (up to $750) for air sealing. In addition, for those seeking to get rid of an old refrigerator, the company will provide a $50 incentive payment and haul the inefficient appliance away for recycling.

“Our goal is to inform these communities and encourage them to participate in this program that will not only save them money but also reduce their carbon footprint,” said Josh Wurdeman of West Warwick, one of 10 URI students working on the project as Energy Fellows. The other participating Energy Fellows are Bill Anderson of Hope Valley, Kristina DiSanto of Warwick, Alexa Federochak of Cranford, N.J., Laura Flanagan of Jamestown, Jake Builbert of Charlestown, Katherine McGonigal of Carney, N.J., Jess Stimson of South Kingstown, Caren Welker of Warwick and Aleksandra Uniejewaska of Poland.

The university received a grant from National Grid to collaborate on promoting the home energy assessment program. It follows up on a grant URI received in 2010 from the Environmental Protection Agency to assist with energy saving efforts in municipal buildings in Warwick, South Kingstown, North Providence and East Greenwich.

The students will canvass neighborhoods in Warwick from Aug. 22 through Sept. 1, and depending on the response they may make additional visits in the fall. They will also have an educational exhibit at the Pawtuxet Village farmer’s market and the Conimicut Village annual Picnic at the Point Festival.

The Energy Fellows are also working with the chambers of commerce in each community to solicit small businesses to participate in a similar program

“We have goals to meet by the end of the year and are excited to report that Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian will be one of the first to help us reach these goals,” said Wurdeman, “We hope that anyone who signs up for the energy assessment on their own will remember to mention that they heard about the program through the URI project.”

For more information about the program, contact Rachel Sholly at Rachel@uri.edu or 401-874-5558. To schedule a free energy assessment call 877-784-3709.