ARCHIVE 2011

2010 Energy Use Report Card Shows Progress

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The Greenfield Energy Use report card, published today, shows a decrease in the average household energy use in Greenfield over the past four years. The average reduction ranges from 3.1% and 12.8% over the four years, depending on the type of fuel used. This translates into a savings of over $300,000 for Greenfield residents during this time for reductions in electricity use alone. The analysis was done by the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee (GGEC) to see if their 10% Challenge is actually working.

“We were thrilled to see that, overall, household energy use is going down,” said Susan Worgaftik, co-chair of the Greenfield 10% Challenge. “This shows that people are taking their commitment to the 10% Challenge seriously, and saving a lot of money. To get an average energy use reduction means that some people are cutting their energy from 10-70%, even though others are still using what they have always used.”

The report looked at average household use of oil, natural gas, and electricity.  Energy use data for 2006-2009 was supplied by Sandri Companies, Berkshire Gas, and Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECO.

The report card gives an A to those people who use oil for heating their homes for drastically reducing their heating oil consumption. Over the last four years, the average number of gallons used for heating by residential households decreased from 709 gallons in 2006 to 618 gallons in 2009. Assuming $3 per gallon, this translates into an annual average savings of $273 per household!  People who use natural gas were given a B+ for their 5.5% reduction. Electricity users, which includes approximately 8000 households in Greenfield, received a C+ because they reduced use by only 3.1% over that same period. To get an A, energy use in each category must be reduced by 1.8% annually or 7.2% every 4 years, so that Greenfield can achieve its goal of reducing energy use by 80% by 2050.

“Although we did not reach our goals in every category, it is really gratifying to see this trend in energy use reduction,” said Nancy Hazard, GGEC member, who analyzed the data. “People could argue that these numbers have not been adjusted for how cold the winter was, or how much wood people are using instead of oil or gas, but we suspect that the majority of the savings are because people have changed their behaviors or done energy upgrades in their homes through Mass Save, Community Action, or on their own. In any case, if we keep track of our use for the next 40 years, the success of our efforts to reduce our energy use and become independent of fossil fuels will become clear.”

“Greening Greenfield would like to thank everyone who has taken the 10% Challenge and urge them to keep up the great work!” said Becca King, co-chair of the Greenfield 10% Challenge. “We’d also like to invite those who have not yet joined the Challenge to join us, and we will send you a list of things you can do to save energy and save money. It is fun being a detective and making your home more comfortable!”

The 2010 Energy Use Report Card and 10% Challenge were created by the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee, which works with the town and uses ‘greening’ as the inspirational and economic engine to build a sustainable Greenfield so current and future generations can enjoy life in this beautiful, abundant valley.  

The report card, 10% Challenge’s 900 heroes, tips on how you can reduce your energy use, and information on how to join the 10% Challenge are displayed in Copy Cat Print Shop’s window on Main Street. Handouts are inside. The report card was designed by Stacy Metzger. For additional information go to www.GreeningGreenfield.org or call 773-7004.

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