Free Energy Assessments
CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE THE APPLICATION DUE: October 31st, 2023
Towns can apply for building assessments of any municipally owned building except schools. These assessments will provide recommendations and cost estimates for HVAC and thermal envelope improvements, weatherization, renewable energy equipment, battery storage and EV charging equipment. Two levels of assessment are available:
Level 1: Walk-through assessment.
Time Required ~ 1.5 hours
Level 1 provides a phased scope of work, estimated costs, timeline for the recommended improvements designed to reduce operations & maintenance costs, enhance comfort and reduce energy intensity. These may include improvements to the thermal envelope, HVAC systems, and fuel-switching to renewable heating systems. Additional analysis and recommendations for siting of renewables, EV charging and battery storage feasibility are also provided. All recommendations include an estimate of equipment lifecycle costs and consumption data.
Pros: Shorter duration, no documents required
Cons: No blower door testing, not applicable for future loan programs
Level 2: Investment grade audit
Time Required ~ 4 hours
An ASHRE Level 2 investment grade energy audits cover all items in a Level 1 assessment with the addition of a blower door test to measure are leaks. During this test, which can take an hour or more to complete, contractors will close all exterior windows and doors and require that traffic in and out of the building be restricted in order to get an accurate reading. This assessment requires the town to provide the following information at the time of application:
- Electricity use – last 5 years (monthly)
- Fuel use (oil, gas, propane, wood, etc.)- last 5 years (monthly)
If available, the following information is beneficial but not required:
- Mechanical and electrical plans, drawings, maintenance manuals
- Architectural drawings
- Lighting schedules
- Reports from past energy audits and a list of any improvements made since
- Building control system points list
- Building maintenance programs, operations and maintenance manuals, training programs, capital improvement programs
- Plans related to the broader facility, campus, or complex (e.g., underground utility lines, property acreage, parking lots)
Pros: Enhanced savings calculations, blower door test included, applicable for loans
Cons: Longer duration, additional documentation
If the town is aware of vermiculite in the building, please be sure to state this in your application because it may impact what level of assessment is available to you. Covered municipalities may apply for multiple assessments of either level.
Covered municipalities may apply for either assessment. Both are free and will qualify for a MERP Implementation Grant. Consult with your RPC or technical support provider for assistance in selecting the right assessment for your municipality!
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Each municipality can apply for a maximum of $500,000 for building renovation projects regarding weatherization, thermal efficiency, and supplementing or replacing fossil fuel heating systems with more efficient renewable or electric alternatives. These funds can be split across several eligible buildings under one project grant application.
All Addison County municipally-owned buildings are eligible for the MERP programs. Any municipal building that qualifies and receives an energy assessment through the MERP program is eligible for implementation funding.
To receive MERP Implementation funds the town must comply with the following:
- The covered municipality has access to high-speed Internet as defined in the State’s Telecommunication Plan set forth in 30 V.S.A. § 202c or a plan is in place by 2024 to ensure access to high-speed Internet (participation in a Communications Union District qualifies). All Addison County municipalities comply with this requirement through participation in Maple Broadband Communications Union District.
- Any building that is assessed is compliant with the American Disabilities Act at the time the project is completed. If the building is not accessible when assessed, the town may request to use up to 20% of the Implementation Grant to perform accessibility upgrades.
This grant is a competitive program. However, about $35 million dollars has been allocated for these implementation grants. Therefore, we can expect at least 70 communities (more than 1/4 of the state!) to be granted some level of funding.
The scoring matrix for applications has not been developed but will prioritize communities with high energy burden and low administrative capacity. Additionally, BGS will seek to distribute funds with evenly across the state and with preference for small communities. Beyond these community characteristics, applications will be evaluated on emissions reduction potential, and community benefit.
Energy burden is defined as the proportion of income spent on energy, including heating, electricity, and transportation. The MERP program is using the 2019 Efficiency VT Energy Burden report as the standard for this portion of the priority scoring. The list below shows where your town falls on the energy burden scale.
High Energy Burden
- Whiting (13%)
- Goshen (12.3%)
- Bristol (11.9%)
- Ripton (11.3%)
- Orwell (11.2%)
- Panton (11.2%)
Moderate Energy Burden
- Shoreham (10.7%)
- Bridport (10.6%)
- Middlebury (10.6%)
- Vergennes (10.3%)
- New Haven (10.1%)
- Salisbury (10%)
- Ferrisburgh (9.7%)
- Leicester (9.6%)
- Lincoln (9.3%)
- Starksboro (9.2%)
Low Energy Burden
- Addison (8.8%)
- Waltham (8.7%)
- Weybridge (8%)
- Cornwall (7.9%)
- Monkton (7.7%)