It’s Party Time!
Green Madison is building a grassroots, community-based effort to significantly reduce Madison’s energy use. One approach we are taking is to promote energy house parties in every Madison neighborhood. These parties show homeowners how even the most basic energy saving technologies, such as insulation, can significantly cut household energy use. Currently over 20 Madison residents in neighborhoods throughout the city have signed up to host an energy house party since we started offering them in October.
The energy house party format is simple. The host offers his or her home as a platform for educating friends and neighbors about energy efficiency concepts. In return, the host receives a free comprehensive energy audit. Hours prior to the house party, an energy analyst performs an energy assessment of the host’s home, conducting several diagnostic tests on the home. (Click here to get a sense of what diagnostic tests and tools are used during an energy audit.) People who attend a house party get a crash course in household energy efficiency by experiencing firsthand the test results of the hosts’s home. House party guests can then use the hosts’ audit experience to determine if they are interested in also having a home energy audit. If so, the guest can sign up for an audit at the reduced price of $99 or decide to host an energy house party and receive a free audit.
Most of the people that have attended an energy house party have had concerns with their own homes. Some people felt their utility bills were too high in comparison to the size of their home. Others wanted to do something about the noticeable temperature difference from room to room in their home. A handful of people were concerned about the moisture that appeared on their windows during the winter. Many guests at these house parties wondered if they need a new furnace, new windows, or insulation in the attic and basement.
This is where the energy analyst comes in. There are many common and costly mistakes that homeowners make in trying to make their homes more energy efficient. The benefit of an energy assessment is that the energy analyst looks at a house as a whole. The analyst examines how all the systems work together and determines not only the source of the problems but also the best way to fix them. An energy analyst from Project Home is at all of the house parties and will talk guests through the energy issues in their homes.
Andrew Foxwell hosted a house party in his west side neighborhood and his experience was similar to that of other party hosts. “Having an energy party turned out to be a lot of fun. It was educational, interesting, and I felt great about learning more about our home.” Tyler Leeper, the president of the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association, was one of the guests at Andrew’s house party. He liked the house party model, saying “The house party was a wonderful opportunity to spend time with good friends and bring people together around improvements that matter.”
Green Madison is looking to sign up more people to host house parties in early 2016. In our effort to win the $5 million Georgetown Univerity Energy Prize, Green Madison will continue to cover the energy audit cost as a thank you to house party hosts. If you’ve considered having a home energy audit but couldn’t fit it into your schedule, this is the time to do it! If you want to lower your utility bills and have a more comfortable home before the winter, Green Madison can help. Contact us if you want to learn more about hosting an energy house party or having an energy audit of your home.