For most of us, it’s hard to take the time to figure out what will actually save energy and money. In this economy and with the effects of climate change increasing, HEET’s critical work is to teach people how to lower energy bills and carbon emissions most effectively dollar for dollar.
Teaching Hands-on Skills
HEET’s core service is organizing free energy-upgrade work-parties. Our work-parties vastly improve the buildings of non-profits such as food pantries, churches, and community centers. In addition, by teaching volunteers hands-on skills using tools and materials available at any hardware store, HEET shows that saving energy is an easy, common sense task we can all do.
HEET reaches many diverse groups in towns and cities across Massachusetts and has taught more than 3,500 volunteers. We’ve found that over 70% of our volunteers use four or more of these skills in their own homes, multiplying the energy savings.
Before each work-party, HEET’s skilled auditors thoroughly evaluate an organization’s building. They use a thermal camera, blower door, and other professional tools to locate the most effective solutions with the fastest payback. Then the non-profit prioritizes the work they want to accomplish.
One work-party typically saves over $7,000 during the lifetime of the work. This savings allows the organization to deliver more critically needed community services.
Forming Community Partnerships
HEET’s programs focus on community partnerships with local non-profits and city governments in order to solve problems collaboratively. HEET partners with cities such as Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston in implementing energy efficiency and clean energy initiatives.
Enabling Professional Work
Many non-profits inhabit drafty and inefficient buildings with ancient heating systems, no insulation, and flickering lighting. Often, they don’t have the money or expertise to perform desperately needed energy-efficiency work.
HEET does more than organizes energy-upgrade work-parties. We also connect non-profits with services and rebates available for further professional work that will reduce its energy use the most. Whenever possible, HEET helps to raise funding to do the work.
Most energy audits offered by experts or utilities have a very low follow-through rate, as few homeowners do any of the work the audit recommends. Due partly to HEET’s community model of neighbors talking to neighbors, our projects have a 97% follow-through rate from audit to energy-upgrade work-party. HEET has signed up over 700 home energy assessments, educating volunteers and helping primarily urban residents access rebates and services.
Helping the Planet
HEET’s varied programs coalesce into one primary service: working in communities to socially market the hands-on actions necessary to care for our planet here and now. Our work saves non-profits and residents money to help them practice sustainability, both environmentally and economically. HEET’s work has saved 10,411 metric tons of CO2 and $2.7 million dollars in energy and water savings over the lifetime of the work performed.