Chapel Hill Awarded for WISE Program
The Town of Chapel Hill received a U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Climate Protection Award in the Small Cities Category for its success with WISE, a home energy efficiency incentive program. The honorable mention award was presented to Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt during the annual conference held June 17-21 in Baltimore, Md.
The Chapel Hill Wise Homes and Buildings Program (Worthwhile Investments Save Energy) began in March 2011 and quickly reached its capacity with 125 homes registered to receive energy assessments and improvements. The Town will launch a second program phase sometime in fall to provide outreach to owner occupied single family detached structures located in Chapel Hill Town Limits.
The program offers subsidies to conduct energy assessments and complete home improvements with the goal of reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, lower utility bills, and a create a sustainable program that lasts beyond grant funding.
Eligible home improvements at the 50 percent subsidy level included: envelope air sealing and insulation improvements, duct repair, and outdoor thermostats for homes with heat pumps. Eligible home improvements at a 25 percent subsidy level included HVAC efficiency upgrades, energy efficient appliances, re-circulating hot water systems, programmable thermostats in gas heated homes, lighting upgrades, solar thermal hot water and solar photovoltaic or geothermal renewable energy systems.
For every one hundred homes that participate, Chapel Hill will experience an estimated 95-100 metric ton reduction in green house gas emissions.
The program was not just created with the vision to benefit immediate reduction in greenhouse gases, but also in support of workforce development and green jobs to stimulate the green economy.
Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy through two grants totaling $455,000 made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Under the umbrella of ARRA funds, monies were received from the Better Building’s Program and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program.
Residents who want to learn more about the program may contact Sustainability Officer John Richardson at 919-5075 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at www.townofchapelhill.org/WISE.