Weatherize Kearsarge

Helping residents in the Mount Kearsarge and Lake Sunapee region save money and stay warm

What does it mean to “Weatherize” my home?

Weatherizing means making physical home improvements—such as insulation and air sealing—to reduce energy costsimprove comfort, and resolve issues such as ice dams, moisture, mold, cold spots and drafts. Most (if not all) of the work will be in your basement and attic. 

HOW do I weatherize my home?

  1. Find out if you are eligible for NHSaves rebates, which can cover up to 90%* of recommended weatherization improvements, up to $8,000* (eligibility based on fuel use per square foot).
  2. Hire a specialized contractor (assigned by NHSaves or chosen by you) who will perform an energy audit to assess your home’s current energy efficiency and identify the best energy saving opportunities for your home and budget.
  3. Review your energy audit report and decide on the best work scope for you.

*NH Saves has temporarily increased the home weatherization incentive. Normally the incentive is 50% of project costs, up to $4,000. To receive the higher incentive, all work must be completed by Nov. 15, 2020.

Scroll down to find upcoming events and a step-by-step guide to help you get started.

How much will it COST?

Every home is different. The cost of weatherization typically ranges from under $5,000 to over $12,000 (before rebates), with average energy savings of 20-25%.  Alternatively, you might try some “do-it-yourself” energy efficiency improvements or invest in a deep energy retrofit to reduce energy use by 50% or more.

Who is hosting Weatherize Kearsarge?

Weatherize Kearsarge is a project of Kearsarge Climate Action, a local volunteer group whose mission is to increase community awareness of the climate crisis and to provide opportunities for citizens of all ages to make lifestyles choices consistent with good stewardship of our Earth. Kearsarge Climate Action has help from Vital Communities, a local nonprofit that helps communities launch Weatherize campaigns, and NHSaves, a suite of energy efficiency programs run through our local electric utilities. For more information about Kearsarge Climate Action, contact kearsargeclimate@gmail.com.

$250 Prize Drawing!

To be entered in the drawing, simply follow the steps below and schedule an energy audit by July 15. You do not have to complete the audit by July 15, you just have to have a date set on the calendar with a contractor.

Then ENTER YOUR NAME HERE and we’ll draw one lucky winner in June. The winner will get $250 toward the cost of their weatherization upgrades. 

NOTE: we have extended this deadline from March 31 to July 15 because of delays related to the Covid-19 pandemic. If we need to extend the deadline again, we will!

Contact Us

Are you interested in weatherizing your home? Let our volunteer team know so we can keep in touch and help you along the way. Simply send us an email at KearsargeClimate@gmail.com.

Your Weatherize Kearsarge Step-by-Step Guide

The following resources were specially developed by Vital Communities for our Weatherize Kearsarge program. If you have questions, contact sarah@vitalcommunities.org

STEP ONE – Do you qualify for NHSaves rebates?

STEP TWO – Scheduling your Energy Audit

STEP THREE – Reviewing your Audit Report and Making a Decision

Who to Contact if You Have Questions

  • Your contractor is the best resource for questions about your home or your weatherize work scope.
  • NHSaves staff can answer questions about your NHSaves application and handle any problems you may have with your NHSaves contractor.
    • Eversource: Gordon Tuttle (gordon.tuttle@eversource.com, 603-634-2605)
    • NH Electric Coop: Phil LaMoreaux (lamoreauxp@nhec.com, 603.536.8856)
  • Sarah Brock (sarah@vitalcommunities.org, 802-291-9100 x109) is Energy Team Leader at Vital Communities and has helped dozens of homeowners navigate their weatherization projects. She can answer any of your general questions.
  • The Weatherize Kearsarge volunteer team – We’re happy to help in any way we can, including connecting you with neighbors who have already weatherized their homes. Contact us at kearsargeclimate@gmail.com.

Additional Resources

You will find other related resources at vitalcommunities.org/energy/weatherize/resources, including:

  • Do-it-yourself tips
  • Programs for low-income residents
  • Programs for renters, landlords, small businesses, and nonprofits
  • Programs for energy efficient heating systems, water heaters, solar energy, and new construction
  • Case studies from homes weatherized in the Upper Valley

Information about other rebate programs from NHSaves can be found at nhsaves.com.

February 2019 Button Up Workshop in Andover

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose a contractor?

All Weatherize contractors are:

  1. Certified by the Building Performance Institute
  2. Approved and quality-checked by NHSaves
  3. Able to provide comprehensive home energy services

Your goal: choose a contractor you like and trust. They will all do good work for you. So who feels like a good fit?

Tips for choosing a contractor BEFORE you complete the Weatherize Questionnaire:

  • Explore the contractors’ descriptions and websites, listed below.
  • Call one or more contractors and get to know them a little before you make your choice. You might ask what they specialize in, what their approach is, what makes them unique?
  • What are the issues you most want to address in your home? Energy costs? Comfort? Ice Dams? Are there non-energy improvements you would like to take care of at the same time? Ask your contractor if they can help with more than just energy.
  • Some contractors have crews in house, some use subcontractors. Do you have a preference?

Also remember:

  • You should only need one contractor and one energy audit.
  • All Weatherize contractors offer the same pre-determined pricing.
  • The company that completes your audit will be the same company that oversees your home energy project.

$100 energy audit... what's the catch?

Anyone from one of our 2019 participating towns is eligible for a $100 energy audit as long as they complete the questionnaire by March 15.

If you qualify for NHSaves rebates, you pay your contractor $100, and your electric company pays the rest of the cost of the audit for you. If you choose to go ahead with any weatherization work, your $100 audit gets credited toward your project cost. You can thank NHSaves for this incredible deal.

If you do NOT qualify for NHSaves rebates, you pay your contractor $100 for the energy audit, plus a $200 nonrefundable deposit toward any weatherization work you decide to complete afterward. This policy helps contractors control their costs and helps prioritize Weatherize participants who are more serious about making home energy improvements as a result of their energy audits.

Feel free to talk with your contractor over the phone before scheduling your energy audit, to increase your confidence that there will be energy saving opportunities within your budget that you can put your $200 deposit toward.

If at any time before your energy audit you change your mind, you can cancel at no cost.

By completing an energy audit you are under no obligation to get any work done as a result.

What are the Weatherize deadlines?

You must submit your Home Energy Questionnaire by March 24 in order to request your $100 Weatherize Energy Audit. (This is an extended deadline to allow a little extra time for people who only found out about Weatherize at town meeting)

After your audit is complete and you have your audit report, you must commit to completing energy upgrades (by signing a contract or giving your verbal commitment) by May 31 in order to qualify for the $500 Weatherize prize drawing. 

Can businesses or nonprofits participate in Weatherize?

NHSaves has a program for “small commercial” energy users that can help businesses and nonprofits reduce their heating and electricity use.

Visit Vital Communities’ Small Businesses Resource Page for a breakdown of available programs and next steps.

Do renters qualify for energy efficiency incentives?

There are many low-cost improvements a renter can install to increase the efficiency of their home. Here is a guide for renters seeking to save energy and stay warm this winter, compiled by Efficiency Vermont.

For larger investments, renters will need to talk to their landlord. You will need to connect your landlord with NHSaves before any efficiency improvements are installed. They’ll be able to point your landlord to rebates and other attractive products that make it financially viable to increase the efficiency of your home.

What happens during the home energy audit?

Your home energy audit will take about half a day (3-4+ hours) and you should be present. The contractor will want to take a look around, especially in your basement, attic(s), knee-walls, and crawl spaces. Be sure any access points are clear of personal items.

The contractor will perform a blower door test, test the efficiency of your heating appliances, and may also use an infrared camera to identify air leaks and insulation gaps. Your contractor will not perform a blower door test if you’ve had a fire in your woodstove in the last 24 hours, if your home has a lot of mold, or if your home contains any vermiculite insulation. This is to avoid contaminating the air in your home with unwanted potentially dangerous particles.

After the audit, the contractor will give you an audit report describing your options for energy efficiency improvements, with a quote for completing the work.

How long will this process take, start to finish?

This process will likely occur over the course of a few months.

After you submit your Home Energy Questionnaire, your selected partner contractor will contact you within about three business days to schedule your home energy audit. Your contractor will try to fit you at the earliest convenient time for you both.

Once your audit is complete, your contractor will deliver an audit report with a scope of work and quote within about two weeks (this could take longer depending on how busy your contractor is– they will communicate with you if they expect a delay). You may want to narrow your scope of work or ask your contractor to do additional work– that’s fine. Just talk to your contractor about your needs, your budget, and your priorities to make sure you’re getting exactly what you expect.

Commit to completing energy upgrades on or before May 31 and be entered to win a Weatherize cash prize of $500. Work can be, and likely will be, completed after May 31 and before the end of 2019.

What should I expect when the contractor comes to do the work?

You and your contractor will choose a time-frame that works for you both. Depending on the project size, the work could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

You should talk with your contractor so you know exactly what to expect, but they may:

  • ask you to clear your belongings out of the work area (like attics and basements).
  • bring a work crew of a few people to complete the job (may be sub-contractors or in-house crews, feel free to ask).
  • be using noisy equipment, especially for installing sprayfoam or blown-in insulation.
  • cut and patch holes in your drywall that will need to be repainted.
  • require the work area to be ventilated, especially if working with sprayfoam, and may also ask you to stay away from the home for at least 24 hours while the sprayfoam cures.

Be sure to clarify what work will be done and how it will affect you and your household. Establish clear expectations BEFORE your project begins to avoid any surprises.

Do I have to do EVERYTHING my contractor recommends? It seems like a lot...

No. You can narrow (or add to) the scope of work your contractor gives you. They are capable of tailoring the work scope to meet your priorities and budget. You should not hesitate to contact your contractor if you are concerned about the cost, size, or scope of the improvements recommended for your home– they’ll work with you to make sure your project is in line with your expectations.

If you qualify for NHSaves rebates, your scope of work must be approved by your utility company. If you decide to reduce or expand the scope of your home’s project, you will need to get confirmation from your utility company that your home’s project still qualifies for rebates. This approval process will happen through your contractor, so make sure you are communicating with your contractor about how a change to your contractor’s suggested work scope could affect your home’s eligibility for NHSaves rebates.

Also remember that NHSaves rebate recipients are eligible for 0% and 2% loans to cover the remaining cost of their weatherization projects, allowing some to take on more weatherization work at one time.

What if something goes wrong?

All contractors have workmanship guarantees. You should thoroughly read your contractor agreement to ensure you understand what protections they offer BEFORE your project begins. The best thing you can do is to have clear expectations for your contractor BEFORE your work begins. Doing so will avoid miscommunication and save you time in the long-run.

If you qualify for NHSaves rebates and you are dissatisfied with your project, you can contact your utility representative to trigger a quality assurance review.

How does the Weatherize prize drawing work?

If you commit to completing home energy upgrades by May 31 you will be entered to win a Weatherize cash prize of $500. Each of the two New Hampshire teams (Canaan-Enfield and Kearsarge) will have one winner. So, there will be two New Hampshire winners in 2019!

How are the NHsaves rebates funded?

Four New Hampshire electric utilities offer NHsaves programs for residential and commercial customers – Eversource, Liberty Utilities, New Hampshire Electric Coop, and Unitil.

NHsaves programs are funded primarily by commercial and residential customers through a Systems Benefit Charge (SBC) that the NH Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) applies to all electric accounts for the four participating utilities. The NHPUC requires that funding be used for energy efficiency programs that cover all customers throughout the state in some way.  For the residential sector; programs include rebates for LED bulbs, ENERGY STAR appliances, new construction ENERGY STAR homes and weatherization for existing homes.

The NHPUC allocates funding back to each utility based on the number of customers served in the state by that utility.  Each utility then works with the NHPUC to set rebate budgets for each program for the calendar year. Unfortunately there is not enough funding to weatherize every home in NH, which is why weatherization rebates are reserved for homes that use the most heating energy per square foot through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) program and income eligible homes through the Home Energy Assistance (HEA) program. The HEA program also receives a small amount of funding from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

If your utility’s HPwES program runs out of rebate money before the end of the year, they may start a wait list for next year’s funding, as is happening right now with Liberty Utilities. Liberty is a smaller utility and started the year with a relatively small budget and a wait list from 2018. The other utilities are, as of now, not in danger of running out of rebate funding before the end of the Weatherize Upper Valley campaign this spring.

How is Weatherize Upper Valley funded?

Vital Communities, as a nonprofit organization, provides staff support and materials for the Weatherize program. Our funding comes from individual donations from people like you. Funding for Weatherize also comes from:

  • Jane’s Trust Foundation
  • Harris and Francis Block Foundation
  • NHSaves
  • Energy Emporium