Grand Valley faculty and staff members can save money and conserve energy in their homes by participating in a unique partnership between the university and the City of Grand Rapids.
Funded by a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the BetterBuildings for Michigan initiative provides a home energy assessment and other services, incentives and upgrades that improve home energy performance and lower utility bills.
The normal cost of a home energy assessment can range from $300-500, said Selma Tucker, contract administrator and regional coordinator for BetterBuildings for Michigan in Grand Rapids. Faculty and staff members can participate for $100. During an assessment, a qualified contractor will uncover where and how much energy a home is wasting, install energy-saving measures such as efficient light bulbs, pipe wrap and new thermostats, and provide a customized report with recommendations for improvement.
Faculty and staff members living in the City of Grand Rapids will benefit from incentives that include access to a zero-interest APR home energy loan up $20,000, utility rebates from energy companies and 20 percent off any improvements from the program. Faculty and staff members living outside of the City of Grand Rapids will receive utility rebates and low-interest financing options to make home improvements.
One goal of the program is to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent in each living space, said Tucker, a Grand Valley alumnus. “Program participants who maximize incentives can save up to $5,000-$7,000, not to mention what they will save long-term on energy costs,” he said. “Understanding where your home is wasting energy is invaluable to any customer. Whether or not you decide to act after the assessment, having the information is critical.”
The offer for Grand Valley faculty and staff members will begin January 18 and continue through the end of the winter semester. Faculty and staff members can sign up online at www.bbmgr.org or at information tables on the Pew Grand Rapids and Allendale campuses from January 24-February 28:
Pew Grand Rapids Campus
January 18-20, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., University Club
Every Tuesday and Thursday from January 24-February 28, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Kirkhof Center, Allendale Campus
January 23, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., room 1104
January 24,11 a.m.-1 p.m., room 2266
January 25, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., room 2270
“Participating in this program is a no brainer,” said Bart Bartels, project manager for Grand Valley’s Sustainable Community Development Initiative. “The energy assessment will point out problems in the house and provide a list of resolutions and priorities that will increase energy efficiency and ways to save money. We hope this special offer will encourage faculty and staff members to learn more about conserving energy in their homes.”
About BetterBuildings for Michigan program
In Grand Rapids, the BetterBuildings for Michigan initiative is administered through a partnership of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, the City of Grand Rapids and the state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth. The partners aspire to improve energy efficiency and slash utility costs for approximately 2,500 Grand Rapids homes by December 2012.