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Web Site Helps Northeast Homeowners Make a Plan to Save Energy

By Beth Potier, Media Relations
January 12, 2011

The weather outside is frightful, and so are many homeowners’ energy bills this time of year. Now, a Web site developed by UNH and Clean Air-Cool Planet can help homeowners develop a customized energy plan to reduce household energy consumption. And in January, energy-conscious homeowners can share their energy tips with a new video contest.

My Energy Plan (myenergyplan.net) – a project of the joint UNH/Clean Air-Cool Planet New England Carbon Challenge -- is a suite of Web tools designed to help individuals make a plan to increase energy and cost savings over time.  Dynamic, user-friendly, and informative, the site boasts tools that help individuals evaluate their energy use related to transportation, electricity and home heating. Users can outline changes they propose to make and chart their progress online, all for free.

“My Energy Plan helps individuals act on the power they have to make changes in their life,” says Julia Dundorf, community relations manager for Clean Air-Cool Planet and co-founder of the New England Carbon Challenge. “This time of year, when both energy use and motivation to make changes are high, is a great time for New Englanders to make an energy plan.”

In addition to personal planning tools that help individuals calculate energy use and suggest ways to decrease it, the Web site features the Energy Project Connector, a tool that searches all the federal, state and utility incentives available for a home energy job in New Hampshire and provides a list of contractors and energy auditors who can do that work. Users can log their progress in their personal online energy notebook. This spring, site visitors can take a virtual or face-to-face tour of energy efficient homes in the region with the Green Homes Tourist.

And, starting in January, the My Energy Plan Video Challenge hopes to inspire New Hampshire residents to tell their energy plan stories in one- to four-minute videos. Individuals age 13 and older as well as groups can submit videos between Jan. 3 and Feb. 28, 2011; prizes from businesses around New Hampshire will be awarded in a range of categories. Learn more and see sample videos at myenergyplan.net/videos.

“It doesn’t matter where you are on the energy reduction spectrum, whether you’re just starting out or thinking about installing solar panels on your home. We’re aiming to be the soup-to-nuts site for energy reduction in the household,” says Denise Blaha, New England Carbon Challenge co-founder and research associate in the Complex Systems Research Center at UNH’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space (EOS).

My Energy Plan is a collaborative effort of four organizations dedicated to advancing energy efficiency and sustainable energy options at the household and community level in New Hampshire and throughout the Northeast: UNH, which developed the conceptual blueprints for the Web tools and programmed the software; Clean Air-Cool Planet, which leads outreach and promotion efforts for the site; the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association, which made possible the Energy Project Connector and Green Homes Tourist systems; and UNH Cooperative Extension Energy Answers volunteers, who provided research assistance and served on the Residential Advisory Group.

My Energy Plan is made possible by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission through the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Fund (RGGI) and through support from Stonyfield Farm. Media sponsorship for the Video Challenge is provided by New Hampshire Public Television and New Hampshire Public Radio. 

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