Dartmouth Initiative

August 28, 2012/FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SouthCoast Energy Challenge Dartmouth Initiative Surpasses Energy Savings Target

DARTMOUTH, MA – The Dartmouth Initiative, a public-private partnership between SEEAL and the SouthCoast Energy Challenge, NSTAR, Real Goods Solar, Next Step Living, and the Town of Dartmouth to encourage energy efficiency and awareness, has surpassed its energy savings target by nearly 10%, making SEEAL eligible for a final incentive payment of $10,118 from NSTAR.

The project goal is to help Dartmouth residents save money, build community, and protect the planet through improved energy efficiency and awareness, and increased use of alternative energy. TheSouthCoast Environmental Education Alliance (SEEAL), in partnership with NSTAR’s Community Outreach Pilot, surpassed its energy savings target through outreach to sign Dartmouth residents up for home energy assessments. The incentive payment will support past and ongoing outreach efforts.

“We’re pleased that organizing efforts over the past year at SEEAL have resulted in energy savings exceeding goals set for Dartmouth residents under NSTAR’s Community Energy Challenge pilot program,” said Bill Stack, NSTAR’s Energy Efficiency Spokesman. “SEEAL’s organizers have spread the word about the MassSave Home Energy Services Program and Dartmouth residents have, in turn, benefited from energy savings and increased comfort levels in their homes.”

The Dartmouth Initiative is also sponsored by Bristol County Savings Bank.

The SouthCoast Energy Challenge is a regional campaign to help local households take energy saving action in a fun, friendly competition. The Challenge offers residents an easy pathway to energy efficiency, and now offers rewards as well. The goal is to help residents save money while also limiting harmful CO2 emissions.

Through its Dartmouth Initiative, all town residents are eligible to receive a home energy assessment at no cost, as well as great savings on weatherization work through the Mass Save program. Residents already pay for this assessment, valued at $300-$500, via an energy conservation fee on their utility bill; the assessment typically helps residents save 3-5% on their energy bills. Home energy assessments take about an hour, during which an expert comes into your home to make simple improvements and suggest ways for deeper efficiency.

An assessment can also result in CO2 emissions savings, which contributes to the broader carbon reduction goals of the SouthCoast Energy Challenge. The Initiative also supports the Town of Dartmouth’s goal to become a Green Community.

SouthCoast Energy Challenge Business Rewards Partner Mirasol’s Café on Route 6 in Dartmouth has been successful in signing people up for the Challenge. Anyone who signs up for a home energy assessment at SEEAL Receives $10,118 incentive payment from NSTAR Mirasol’s gets a $10 gift certificate to the café. As of this month, 18 SouthCoast residents have signed up through Mirasol’s.

Also a partner is the Dartmouth YMCA, which is signing people up for home energy assessments as well. The SouthCoast Energy Challenge will donate $10 to the YMCA for each person the Y signs up for an assessment.

The Branch Executive Director of the Dartmouth YMCA, Derek Heim, said of the Challenge, “The Dartmouth YMCA is pleased to be partnering with the SouthCoast Energy Challenge. The commitment to a healthier environment is a natural fit with the YMCA mission and we are pleased to be helping our community realize the potential of energy efficiency. Our members have embraced this challenge and are eager to register for the challenge and hear how increased home efficiency can impact their home.”

The Energy Challenge recently signed its first solar contract with a Dartmouth resident; the town is #5 in Massachusetts for solar installations, according to the recently released Mass. Environment Report “Massachusetts’ Solar Leaders: The Cities and Towns at the Forefront of the Clean Energy Revolution.” David Cressman, Dartmouth Town Administrator said, “The Town of Dartmouth has been proud to be hosting the South Coast Energy Challenge at Town Hall so that there may be a better opportunity for South Coast Energy Challenge to bring its program to Dartmouth residents. Furthermore, it is a recognition of the dual work of both organizations that has lead Dartmouth to be the solar development leader on the South Coast.”

The 2011 ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, shows that Massachusetts has overtaken California as the #1 most energy efficient state. The Commonwealth has also leapt to the forefront of the rising solar energy economy, with solar energy growing 30-fold since 2007, from less than 4 megawatts of solar panels to more than 110, according to the Mass. Environment Report. That puts Massachusetts well on its way to meeting Gov. Deval Patrick’s goal of installing 250 megawatts of solar power by 2017 and the state’s commitment to installing 400 megawatts of solar power by 2020.

Massachusetts has a great deal to gain by “going solar.” Cleaner air and a more robust economy are among the many benefits solar energy can deliver to Massachusetts. Solar power saves energy and reduces air pollution, including pollution that contributes to global warming.

About SEEAL:

The longest-running program fund of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, SEEAL is a non-profit network of 20 partner organizations governed by a 21-member Board of Directors collaborating to mobilize community resources and increase capacity for environmental education programs and activities. For over a decade, SEEAL has acted as an umbrella organization, applying for and providing over $1.5 million in grants to local non-profits and organizations that provide environmental education, outreach, and mitigation in Southeastern Massachusetts.

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