URI students team with Rep. Tanzi, S.K. town manager to promote energy efficiency

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Tanzi competing with neighbors to reduce energy consumption at home

KINGSTON, R.I. – September 16, 2011 — When a team of students from the University of Rhode Island sought to encourage South Kingstown residents to schedule a free home energy assessment through National Grid’s EnergyWise program, they were unexpectedly pleased that State Rep. Teresa Tanzi and South Kingstown Town Manager Steven Alfred joined in so enthusiastically.

Tanzi has issued a challenge to her Hillcrest Avenue neighbors to join her in scheduling an energy assessment to see which household can reduce its energy consumption the most. The energy assessment of Tanzi’s home will take place on Sept. 19 at 8:30 AM. Representative Tanzi lives at 57 Hillcrest Road in Wakefield.

“In the Northeast, we face higher costs for energy, and I know my neighbors are all eager to reduce their monthly bills,” Tanzi said. “I saw this as a great opportunity for bringing awareness to this free program. It appeals to our Yankee spirit, our environmental spirit, and when you add the spirit of competition, well, it really energized the community.”

Alfred is also scheduling an energy assessment of his home as an example to South Kingstown residents.

“The Town of South Kingstown is committed to reducing energy consumption in all of our municipal facilities. This commitment promotes cost efficiency,” he said. “I hope that my personal participation in this energy assessment will encourage others in our community to also make use of this important free service.”

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.

Upon completion of the assessment residents who are gas and electric heat customers of National Grid are eligible for an incentive of up to 75% of the costs of insulation (up to $2,000) and 100% of the costs of air sealing (up to $750).

Those residents that are electric customers only and heat with a fuel source other than natural gas or electricity, are eligible for an incentive of 25% of the total costs of improvements (up to $2,250). Each energy assessment report is accompanied by specific recommendations and the available incentives or rebates for each improvement.

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.

URI 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 10 students, working as URI Energy Fellows, canvassed neighborhoods in Warwick in recent weeks and reached out to South Kingstown residents in a variety of ways. They are also working with the chambers of commerce in each community to solicit small businesses to participate in a similar program.

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.