One For All… And All For $1!

What would you trade for a dollar? A baseball card? A cup of coffee, maybe? How about a lease for 12 acres of land that could help offset all of your energy costs? Such is the case in the town of Scituate, MA.

The Town of Scituate is home to a mix of over 18,000 seasonal and full-time residents. This semi-costal community is known for its colonial history, its welcoming small town nature, and its shore side view of the Massachusetts Bay. With such an appreciation for simple, clean sustainable living, the residents of Scituate welcomed the chance to transform their city’s utility.

A local solar company leased otherwise unusable landfill land to install a 3MW solar system for $1 per year! With this space this company and their partners are using a power purchase agreement (modeled after popular residential programs) to offset nearly 100% of the town’s municipal power. The town is now purchasing their electricity at much lower rates than they were paying the utility, saving over $200,000 annually in electric cost. This makes Scituate the first town in the Commonwealth to obtain 100% of its municipal power from renewable resources. And this project is not just a financial boon for the town. Education about solar and renewable energy is also to be added to the grade school curriculum, turning the system into an educational and historical focal point.

In October 2013, the final round of testing for the solar system was completed and the system has been operational ever since.

Congratulations, Scituate! I’m sure you now understand why Customers+Solar=Happy!

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Top 10 Energy Efficiency Tips for the Fall and Winter

The time of the year has come… warm knitted scarves, wool coats, and thick gloves. Every year, the fall and winter seasons see some of the highest increase in utility bill costs. Here are ten tips for keep your energy bills low during the cold months.

1. Keep Your Thermostat Low
When you busy doing things around the house, set your thermostat to a temperature that is comfortable but not too high. If you leave your house for an extended amount of time, whether working or running other errands, turn the thermostat down a few degrees. Having a programmable thermostat makes regulating your home temperature easy.

2. Seal Air Leaks in Your Home
Air can easily seep in through cracks in window frames, under doorways and around openings of pipes or other fixtures entering you home. Use caulk or spray foam for larger gaps, doors sweepers for doorways, and heavy duty plastic or tape for windows. Sealing air leaks will have a significant impact on reducing energy bill costs.

3. Lower Your Water Heater Temperature
Keep your water heater’s temperature between 120-125 degrees. If your water heater is over 5 years old, install a water heater blanket to keep it better insulated.

4. Perform Routine Maintenance
Make sure that your heating system is running effectively. Have a professional clean you furnace or boiler every year. Check your furnace air filter for dirt and grime. Replace it if needed. Change the air filter every 3 months.

5.Make Use of Natural Sunlight
Make the most out of the free warmth and light from the sun! Opening the curtains to windows that get good sunlight in your home will help maintain the temperature already set by your thermostat while conserving energy used to power light fixtures. Close all curtains and blinds at night.

6. Dress Warmer
Dress for the season! Have your wardrobe stocked with long socks, sweaters, thick tights or long johns, long-sleeve thermal shirts, hats and gloves. Wearing warm clothes helps to make your everyday living in the winter cozy and comfortable.

7. Buy a Humidifier
Cold air can be very dry. Having a humidifier adds moisture to the air and will make it feel warmer.

8. Close The Doors
Keeping doors and vents closed in unused rooms helps lock in the room temperature. For colder rooms, it helps to maintain the temperature of the family/living room spaces.

9. Unplug Unused Electronics
Disconnect electronics or appliances that are not in use to conserve power. Also, cutting back on the use of electric items (food processors, electric can openers, etc) can also help reduce energy costs.

10. Look for the “Energy Star” Label
If you are changing light bulbs or replacing appliances in your home, look for products with the Energy Star label on them to help conserve energy and reduce your energy bills.

Saving money on your utilities bills during the fall and winter is both simple and effective. We hope these tips will help you save money and still feel warm and comfortable in your home!

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