Workshop explores renewable energy and conservation

Renewable Energy
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Energy efficiency was the subject of a free workshop attended by nearly two dozen locals and out-of-state residents who recently gathered in a roomy meeting space within the mezzanine of Hannaford supermarket in Bedford.

The NHSaves Button Up Workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 28, was a presentation arranged by Hillsborough Area Renewable Energy Initiative, a nonprofit founded in 2012. Members of HAREI focus on reducing barriers to the use of renewable energy and conservation. Volunteers from HAREI help homeowners design and install solar paneling systems at about half the cost of retail.

Ted Stiles, workshop presenter, is a certified energy auditor credentialed by Building Performance Institute, of New York. The BPI sets industry standards for home performance professionals. Stiles also is the manager of the energy efficiency program for Yankee Thermal Imaging, in Rochester, New York. He spoke on behalf of NHSaves, a collaboration of four New Hampshire electric and gas utilities – Eversource, New Hampshire Electric Co-op, Liberty Utilities and Unitil. The enterprise is dedicated to the advancement of efficient energy use that stimulates the economy yet shows environmental regard.

“These workshops help people learn about reducing energy costs,” Stiles said. “And, find out about rebates on upgrades to energy-saving appliances and home improvements.”

Stiles described heat loss through glass windows. He showed audience members how to seal air leaks around light fixtures and attic hatches. He sourced remedies for air pollution from cleaning products, dust and tobacco. He deemed the use of storm windows used conjointly with single-pane windows as being equally effective as a new, double-pane window for preventing heat loss.

Paul and Shelli DeMarkles, of Hollis, were attentive as Stiles talked about saving energy and thus saving money. They said their purchase of a pellet stove has added considerable comfort to their “lofty” house.

Later, Jean Fullerton, a Bedford member of HAREI and a certified financial planner for Milestone Financial Planning in Bedford, distributed brochures about HAREI programs related to solar energy systems.

“There are savings available,” Fullerton said. “The organization offers non-profit solar advocacy for do-it-yourself solar electricity.”

She urged those with a curiosity about solar design, solar installation and solar technology to check the HAREI website (HAREI.org), or the group’s Facebook page.

Others assisting at the workshop included HAREI volunteer Tom Guertin, of Warner; Eric Ryherd, a resident of Hollis and board member (secretary) of HAREI; Bob Eldridge, an energy advisor for ABC Energy Savings LLC, based in Concord; and Gordon Tuttle, Eversource Energy program administrator for energy efficiency services, whose office is in Manchester.

Attendee Jeff Kerr, a member of Bedford Energy Commission, noted that the Bedford Energy Commission is exploring the use of solar electricity generation at the town landfill. A campaign titled, “Solar Up,” is under consideration, according to the group’s website.

Stiles adjourned his talk with news that comprehensive energy audits of New Hampshire homes and businesses are easily accessed. Those conducted by professionals whose training is backed by the rigid standards set by BPI include ABC Energy Savings LLC (abcenergysavings.com) and Yankee Thermal Imaging (yankeethermalimaging.com).

More information on NHSaves is available online: NHSaves.com.

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