A home energy expert demonstrated what a virtual home energy visit looks like this week as part of the final Weatherization Wednesday event for 2020, officially concluding this year’s Button Up Vermont weatherization campaign.

“A home energy visit is sort of a total picture of what’s happening in your house,” explained Bruce Courtot, an energy consultant with Efficiency Vermont who “visited” two homes Wednesday. “Every home is a little different so having an expert take a look at your heating system, insulation, air sealing, and other components can give you a customized list of projects that you might want to take on now or in the future, and energy consultants like me can help you get a clear sense of where you will get the biggest return on your weatherization investment.”

Bruce began each visit with an overview of what a virtual home energy visit involves, then had the homeowners walk through their homes with their mobile devices to show him different parts of their homes that can typically be improved. In most cases, said Bruce, a visit can take up to 90 minutes. Usually the visit starts in the basement to look at air sealing and insulation, as well as heating appliances. The visit then moves upstairs into the main living areas of the home to look for air leaks around doors and windows, and determine where drafts may be coming from. Visit buttonupvermont.org to view a recording of the virtual home energy visits.

“Even though I work in the energy sector, I still learned a lot of from Bruce’s virtual home energy visit,” said Bethany Hackwell, who is a billing clerk at Stowe Electric and one of the homeowners who hosted a virtual home energy visit on Wednesday. “Many of our customers are intrigued by the rebate Stowe Electric offers for heat pumps, but they may not be sure if their home is a good candidate for a heat pump. Taking advantage of a home energy visit from Efficiency Vermont can help them feel more confident, as well as identify other steps they can take to save money and make their homes more comfortable.”

“I’m looking forward to making some of the improvements Bruce recommended,” said Bob Keeley, of Northfield, who also hosted a home energy visit for Wednesday’s event. “With the holidays coming up and the weather getting colder, I’m getting very motivated to weatherize my home. The information that Bruce shared during the home energy will really help me figure out where to focus my attention.”

Virtual home energy visits will be available on a limited basis starting in January. Sign up online at buttonupvermont.org/visit, or call Efficiency Vermont at (888) 921-5990. VGS customers may also be eligible for a Comprehensive Energy Audit. Call VGS at (802) 863-4511.

“Our customers depend on us to keep them safe and comfortable all year long. We know that it is going to take an innovative approach to help customers button up their homes and save money during these uncertain times,” said Neale Lunderville, President and CEO of VGS. “We are proud to join other like-minded efficiency leaders to offer virtual energy audits as part of our comprehensive suite of energy programs designed to save customers money and help combat climate change.”

This year’s Button Up Vermont weatherization campaign was conducted entirely online due to COVID-19. Since the campaign started on Sept. 3, community engagement in weatherization awareness has included:

  • 34 Button Up Vermont partners
  • 48 Button Vermont communities
  • 20 online workshops and webinars averaging between 25 and 40 attendees each
  • $52,300 raised for the “Share the Warmth” fund
  • 24,000 visits to buttonupvermont.org by Vermonters looking for advice and resources to tackle weatherization projects
  • 40 scheduled Home Energy visits.