Energy Efficiency | New Hampshire Public Radio

Energy Efficiency

Annie Ropeik / NHPR News

Citing pandemic-driven economic concerns, top Republican state lawmakers are asking the Public Utilities Commission to put off the adoption of more aggressive energy efficiency goals, currently set to take effect at the start of next year.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

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Aumentan casos de COVID-19 y fallecimientos en New Hampshire

Los funcionarios de salud anunciaron tres fallecimientos más por COVID-19 este pasado fin de semana. Esto lleva al total de fallecidos en New Hampshire a 526 [quinientos veintiséis] personas. 

Flikr Creative Commons / Claudio Schwarz

A new study says New England has the largest gap in energy burdens between low-income energy burdens and median energy burdens than any other region in the country. 

Household energy burden is the percentage of annual income spent on yearly energy bills.

NHSaves

New Hampshire's electric and natural gas utilities are proposing an increase to their energy efficiency savings goals for the next three years, in a plan that aims to cut costs and carbon emissions but could slightly increase customers’ bills in the short-term.

The proposal centers on the utility-run NHSaves rebate program, which gives ratepayers incentives to use less energy by upgrading things like appliances, insulation or machinery.

Courtesy of Marcus Ponce de Leon

By Degrees is a new climate change reporting project by NHPR. One major focus of the project is the connection between pollution and our health.

Last week, we talked about outdoor air quality in New Hampshire. But scientists are exploring the ways indoor air quality affects us too.

File photo

Today, Monday, could be one of the hottest days of the year, and with that comes high demand for electricity. Using less power in the heat could lower your bills – as well as carbon emissions.

Electricity bills carry a fee based on the peak demand within the year. Consultant Emily Manns of Nashua-based Standard Power says it’s possible that fee will be set today, at the peak hours: between 4 and 7 p.m.

Businesses and factories may pay a penalty for using more power during that time, but it has an effect on residential customers, too:

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire is seeing more heat waves due to climate change. And staying cool is even harder this year because of COVID-19. Our new climate change reporting project, By Degrees, has this look at how New Hampshire's cities are coping. 

Steve and Michelle Gerdes / Flicker CC

Advocates are calling on New Hampshire’s congressional delegation to support job training for clean energy projects as part of COVID-19 economic recovery.

Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas joined state nonprofits for a roundtable on the issue Friday.

The lawmakers and their Senate colleagues have joined recent calls for renewable energy investment in upcoming stimulus bills. 

Dennis Schroeder / National Renewable Energy Laboratory

New Hampshire’s energy efficiency sector is shedding jobs due to COVID-19, but advocates also say that industry could help the state dig out of the recession.

The state lost more than 750 energy-related jobs in March, according to the research firm BW. New England lost nearly 15,000 energy jobs overall that month, mostly in Massachusetts.  

Steve Richardson via Flickr CC

A proposed bill in the New Hampshire House would expand a grant program from the state's agriculture department to include energy efficiency projects on farms.

The grant program currently supports farmers to better manage their fertilizer and manure to cut down on water pollution.

This bill would expand those grants to support energy efficiency projects such as sugar house equipment upgrades or on-farm electrical generation and storage.

NHPR

Senator Maggie Hassan is spearheading a bill to reinstate a homeowner tax credit for energy efficiency upgrades.

The bill would also increase and update the credit, which expired in 2017. It would give tax refunds to homeowners who invest in weatherization or efficient heating and cooling systems.

Hassan, a Democrat, has bipartisan co-sponsors on the bill, including Republican Susan Collins of Maine.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A new kind of solar array has begun to pop up in New Hampshire in the past few years.

It's known as a low-income solar project: Grants and donations pay the up-front installation cost, and the savings the array generates go straight to low-income residents.

Home Heating for the New Hampshire Winter

Jan 24, 2019
State Farm/Flickr

New Hampshire winters are cold but that doesn't mean you have to be. Granite Staters face unique problems in heating their homes: some of the nation's oldest housing stock, little access to natural gas and extreme weather. New Hampshire ranked 21st on the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard while nearby Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont scored in the top ten.

But local programs are working to close the gap with discounted energy audits and rebates for energy efficiency home upgrades.  Plus, earth-friendly fuel options are getting more affordable. We discuss ways Granite Staters can keep warm and stay on budget. 

For a list of resources, click here! 

Your Home Is Cold. Here’s How To Fix That.

Jan 24, 2019
Robzor/ Pixabay

You’re cold and you want to fix that.  But there are a whole lot of options and a pretty big price tag with each of those options.

The phrase “energy efficiency” might have you thinking solar panels and electric cars, but the most effective energy efficiency measures are surprisingly low tech. Of course, each home has its own story - and its own expenses - but there are a number of weatherization and rebate programs available to Granite Staters to prepare your home for winter.

John W. Hession

A new apartment building in Gilford is the first in the state to be certified as a “passive house.”

It uses airtight construction and energy efficient insulation that aims to sharply lower residents’ bills.

The building is the third phase of an affordable senior housing development called Gilford Village Knolls.

It includes 24 one-bedroom apartments, with a small rooftop solar array to cut residents' energy costs through net metering.

The nonprofit Lakes Region Community Developers built the multi-million dollar complex with state funding and tax credits.

A $100,000 grant is available for a New Hampshire school seeking to increase its energy efficiency.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Energy and is flagged for state energy projects. This is the first time New Hampshire has made the funds available to schools.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Members of New Hampshire's energy industry joined lawmakers Monday at the state’s annual energy summit, which helps set priorities for next year's legislative session.

They debated the policies – and politics – that could help lower the region’s high electric costs, diversify and stabilize fuel supplies, and reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Governor Chris Sununu and Democratic rival Molly Kelly presented contrasting ideas on those issues at the start of the summit.  

City of Nashua

The city of Nashua is moving forward in its plan to reduce its carbon footprint.  

The Solarize+ campaign covers Nashua and Hudson, and runs through the end of August.

The city is working with two New Hampshire companies to offer residents and businesses discounts on clean energy upgrades – like solar installations, battery storage and energy efficiency audits.

Madeline Mineau of the city’s energy committee says the more sign-ups they get, the bigger the discounts will be.

creative commons

The New Hampshire Senate Thursday put an end to one effort to expand energy efficiency funding in the state.

They voted down a bill regarding how the state spends money from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI.

The proposal, which had passed the House, would have gotten rid of the RGGI rebate for residential ratepayers.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State lawmakers on Tuesday reaffirmed their support for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

The RGGI program lets polluters across nine states either cut carbon emissions or buy carbon allowances. Right now, New Hampshire puts a fifth of the money from selling those allowances into energy efficiency projects, and rebates the rest to customers.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State lawmakers on Wednesday put off voting on the future of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in New Hampshire.

They’d planned to consider two opposing bills about the program known as RGGI during their first session day of 2018.

One would have repealed the cap and trade program in New Hampshire entirely. Similar proposals have failed in the past.

The other bill would redirect the rebate money that residential energy users currently get from RGGI, and put it toward more energy efficiency projects in schools and low-income areas.

www.infrastructurereportcard.org

The American Society of Civil Engineers has released their 2017 report card on New Hampshire’s infrastructure -- and the state is far from the honor roll.

 

  Five communities in New Hampshire's Seacoast have formed a campaign to provide energy efficiency and clean energy options at bulk discounts for homeowners and businesses.

Participants in "Energize 360" will get a free site visit, a Home Heating Index score, and an analysis of their energy usage specific to their home. The initiative will offer energy audits, weatherization, solar electric systems, and heat pump installations to help qualify for rebates and incentives.

Jason Gillman / Morguefile

When a city replaces its old-fashioned streetlights with efficient LED lights, it can save a bundle of money on its electricity bills. But it can also dramatically increase light pollution, which is really unpleasant for astronomers and those among of us who like to do a little star-gazing on cloudless nights. The kind of light these LEDs emit can cloud our view of constellations.