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Boston ranked as most energy efficient city in America 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Boston ranked as most energy efficient city in America

A new study released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked Boston as the most eco-friendly city in America.

The ACEEE report, released on Tuesday, September 17, was the first-ever such report card, listing 34 major American cities based on five specific criteria: building codes, conservation of water and energy utilities, efficient transportation methods and local green campaigns carried out by both municipal governments and community organizations. USA Today reports that Boston nabbed the overall top slot, with a high score of 77 (out of a possible 100). In each category, Boston and San Francisco tied for utility incentive programs, while Seattle won for most stringent building codes and Portland, Oregon, was recognized as best for transportation.

While Beantown grabbed the highest accolades, the results as a whole paint an optimistic picture of American cities making impressive strides toward energy efficiency and doing so at an increasingly fast pace.

"Over the past five or so years, cities are rediscovering how important energy efficiency is to their economies," Eric Mackres, the study's lead author, told the source. 

Boston has been able to make some of the largest improvements thanks to public awareness campaigns offering consumers incentives for purchasing eco-friendly appliances and implementing energy-saving retrofits to their homes.

Homeowners all across Massachusetts can make similar upgrades to their houses with exterior building products designed to upgrade insulation, reducing the possibly of energy waste and cutting down on expensive utility bills. For more information about how home improvement products like custom windows and polymer siding can help achieve this, contact Mercury Excelum today.

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C-PACE helps keep energy efficiency costs down for Connecticut 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

C-PACE helps keep energy efficiency costs down for Connecticut

East Hartford is the latest Connecticut town to join a new statewide financing program designed to help homeowners and businesses better afford energy efficiency building upgrades.

Local news publication The Hartford Courant reports that over 50 municipalities across the Constitution State have now joined the Connecticut Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing program, which offers upfront funds for green retrofits installed into buildings. These loans are ultimately repaid through separate charges on property tax bills, effectively allowing the expenses to avoid being taken out of any participating business' own capital.

Eco-friendly upgrades covered by C-PACE funding include:

  • Automated energy systems
  • High-efficiency furnaces and boilers
  • Improved heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC) systems with control mechanisms
  • Improvements to building enclosures and envelopes
  • More efficient lighting fixtures, like LED bulbs
  • Use of renewable power sources

So far, the program has been a successful endeavor for Connecticut businesses and homeowners, many of whom – like a number of Americans – were initially discouraged from investing into energy efficient building solutions because of the initial expenses required in making such upgrades. By financing these improvements through C-PACE, building owners can take more environmentally-friendly measures and produce cheaper utility bills in the long run, while paying back the cost of these measures over time and in smaller increments than normal. 

If you live in Connecticut and are looking to make similar cost-cutting, energy efficient retrofits to your home or office building, contact Mercury Excelum today. Our team of professionals can put you in touch with contractors whose offerings of exterior building products – like new replacement windows and aluminum storm doors – can help improve insulation, cut down on heat transference between the indoors and outdoors and ultimately leave your building cheaper to power.

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Contest selects Connecticut homes for energy efficiency upgrades 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Contest selects Connecticut homes for energy efficiency upgrades

Two regional electric companies, Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) and The United Illuminating Co. (UI), have launched a new contest as part of the Constitution State's "Energize Connecticut" campaign.  As part of this Energy SuperSTARS Challenge, CL&P and UI have chosen two Connecticut homeowners to have their houses upgraded into more energy efficient buildings. The goal is to increase awareness about eco-friendly living throughout the state and highlight the financial and environmental benefits that energy efficient homes can bring.

"We had an excellent response from many interested homeowners on our Facebook page and we are excited to start the Challenge," Jamie Howland, chairman of the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board, said in an official statement. "It's a very visible way to get Connecticut residents thinking about how they can improve on the energy efficiency of their homes while making smart energy choices. We can't wait to see how the challenge unfolds for the two SuperSTARS." 

The chosen homes reside in West Hartford and Fairfield. Karen Guastelle, the 55-year-old occupant of the Fairfield house, told local news publication The Fairfield Sun that she had entered the contest because her property's windows are inefficient and making it difficult to cool the inside. Guastelle was reportedly very excited about being chosen, having never had any energy services performed on her residence before.

Initiatives like these are great opportunities to get the word out about how much easier and cheaper energy efficiency can make life for homeowners. If you live in Connecticut and are struggling with inefficient windows, contact Mercury Excelum for information on replacement windows and other custom windows that can help better regulate your household temperatures and yield long-term savings on utility bills.

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Energy efficiency helps reduce New Englandís projected electricity demands 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Energy efficiency helps reduce New England’s projected electricity demands

A new forecast from ISO New England (ISO-NE), the nonprofit organization that oversees the region's electric power and transmission line systems, shows that electricity demand for the area is expected to grow slightly over the next decade. These increases, however, will be somewhat reduced thanks to energy efficiency measures.

The Hartford Courant, a local news publication, reports that forecasts for peak energy demands for New England summers show an annual increase of 1.4 percent until 2022, with overall power use also going up an additional 1.1 percent. However, when factoring in energy efficiency programs, those numbers are expected to decrease a little bit, with annual demand falling to 0.9 percent increases and and growth in use dropping to 0.3 percent per year.

Although these renewable measures help offset gains in both demand and use, the fact remains that New England residents are looking to use more power in the coming years, a development that has been compounded by plant shutdowns throughout the region, which could impact the grid's ability to dependably deliver energy to customers. According to the source, approximately one-third of the area's plants will be retired by 2020, and these 8,300 megawatt facilities will need to be replaced with 6,000 megawatt substitutes. Regional utilities are also looking to compensate by adopting more renewable sources, such as wind and solar power.

"What we are seeing is a transition now due to the region's high dependency on natural gas to an energy limited system," Mike Henderson, director of regional coordination for ISO-NE, told the source.

Scenarios like these underscore the importance of energy efficiency, not only in reducing personal expenses but making energy delivery for entire communities easier and more dependable. Homeowners in the region looking to go green are encouraged to contact Mercury Excelum about how exterior building products like custom siding can improve efficiency and work to improve sustainability.

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Massachusetts utilities make largest renewable energy acquisition in New England 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Massachusetts utilities make largest renewable energy acquisition in New England

Massachusetts Governor Devil Patrick announced on Monday, September 23, that four of the state's utility companies have recently moved to make the largest acquisition of renewable energy ever seen in New England.

Reporting the announcement, The Worcester Business Journal, a local news outlet, identifies the four utilities involved as NSTAR, National Grid, Unitil and Western Massachusetts Electricity Company (WMECo). According to the source , the four utilities will be providing 565 megawatts of wind power - enough to fuel approximately 170,000 homes. The agreement is a result of energy legislation signed by Patrick last year, directing electricity companies in the commonwealth to invest in long-term contracts for renewable energy that would account for at least 4 percent of total power demands. The four aforementioned companies spent the year developing proposals and soliciting bids before finalizing the terms of the wind energy deal.

"Working together, we are making significant progress towards creating cost-effective, renewable energy and reducing our greenhouse gas emission," Governor Patrick announced in his official statement. "This procurement is a critical step of creating a 21st century clean energy future in Massachusetts."

This agreement marks the latest development that builds on the Green Communities Act that the governor signed into law back in 2008. Three years following that law's passage, state utility companies began long-term contracts for their own renewable energy initiatives, before joining for this new procurement of wind power.

Massachusetts homeowners eager to make their own eco-friendly improvements are encouraged to contact Mercury Excelum about green home improvement products. By utilizing new replacement windows and other exterior building products, you can work to improve your house's ability to insulate and store energy, leading to lower power expenditures, fewer carbon emissions and cheaper utility bills.

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