Energy Savings Program
By Sean Sullivan
September is a turning point in New England rhythms, marking a return to school, a waning of summer travel, and the ushering in of autumn. Leaves begin to turn in time with this reset of sorts, a flow of foliage blanketing the region by degrees, a vivid herald of change.
For Natick businesses, this month is also an ideal time to change out some older and less-efficient fixtures and equipment.
Representatives working on behalf of Eversource will be in town the week of Sept. 12, knocking on business’ doors to schedule or conduct energy audits.
“We’re just really excited about getting the word out to small businesses about this program,” said Jillian Wilson-Martin. As Natick’s Director of Sustainability, she has had a role in bringing the special incentive program to the town.
The effort is supported by Mass Save, a collaborative of Bay State energy stakeholders working to increase efficiency in communities. The Mass Save program changes every few years in order to keep incentives fresh and relevant, more enticing to business and homeowners.
“There’s a lot of new and different incentives,” said Wilson-Martin.
The Mass Save program provides for audits and upgrades throughout the year, but is offering a special incentive to businesses that take advantage of the program during the September special. The extra incentives arrive just in time for businesses to improve energy efficiency as a bulwark against the mercury that will fall a few short weeks after. Mass Save incentives are paid for by a fund fueled by surcharges on residential and business utility bills.
Among the upgrades on the table as part of the special September drive for businesses are improvements in heating, cooling, and weatherization technologies. These also include programmable thermostats, refrigeration controls, heat pumps, and insulation for pipes and air ducts.
The energy audits are free and produce reports detailing areas of opportunity for energy-efficiency upgrades. As an added incentive, Eversource is offering to pay up to 90% of the cost of recommended improvements.
“We have a couple businesses that are scheduled to participate,” said Wilson-Martin.
Debsan, a longtime fixture of Natick commercial culture, is one business that has taken advantage of the energy-efficiency programs offered to Massachusetts communities. Debsan recently upgraded its lighting systems to cut costs, said Wilson-Martin, and she expects the business to be on board again for the special September program.
“They’re coming back for more,” she said.
The Mass Save program may be best known for its work in weatherizing and boosting efficiency for homeowners. Wilson-Martin is a recent resident of Natick, having moved to the town last November. Her Mass Save audit recommended a $7,000 upgrade in insulation for her newly-adopted home, 75% of which was covered under the incentive program.
“I was able to save substantial money on my utility bill,” she said. “They’re making an investment in Natick.”