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Mission of the York Energy Efficiency Committee

Our mission is to respond to the global warming crisis by promoting energy efficiency, alternative energy, and environmental initiatives throughout the town of York, Maine.
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Energy efficiency pays

In a Feb. 25, 2012 editorial in the Portland Press Herald, Beth Nagursky argues that Maine is underinvesting in energy efficiency.

Our cheapest energy source is, and always has been, energy efficiency. The good news is that, as energy prices climb, significant opportunities remain to cut energy use in homes and businesses that are leaky and poorly insulated and that have inefficient lighting, appliances and motors.

Investing in all cost-effective energy efficiency is Maine’s best, and should be Maine’s first, strategy to reduce high energy costs and jump-start the economy.

It is far better than sending billions of dollars out of state for fossil fuels or even large hydro from Canada.

The writer points out that Efficiency Maine programs spend on average just 3 cents per kilowatt-hour on energy savings, while “every kwh saved avoids the need to generate electricity at 7 cents per kwh.”

The research organization, Environment Northeast (ENE), recently released a report on the costs of heating fuels for the New England states. Among other things, it found that –

Sprayed cellulose insulation between wall studs

Heating with oil is less expensive today than electric resistance heat or propane, but it is more expensive than natural gas, heat pumps and wood.

But efficiency is cheapest. For every $1 invested in efficiency, consumers save $3.50 (natural gas), $7 (oil), or $9 (propane). Maine exports nearly $1 billion for heating oil annually, but energy savings stay in Maine. For every $1 million invested in efficiency, about 100 job-years are created and gross domestic product rises by $7 to $12 million.

While shifting fuels sounds sexier, it is a big investment, and no one can predict the future price of natural gas or even wood. Weatherizing a home is the smartest option to reduce home heating bills because a tighter home reduces the need for fuels of any kind.

It would cost nearly $5,000 to heat a poorly insulated home in Maine with oil, as compared to under $1,000 for a superefficient home. Federal taxpayers are spending billions of low-income heating assistance dollars on oil pumped into homes that leak like sieves.

Read the rest of the editorial, Maine Voices: Before investing in alternative energy, let’s fund efficiency efforts.

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