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Better Buildings program expands

September 21, 2012
By JACKIE STARK - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Residents living in north Marquette still have the opportunity to take advantage of deals offered by the Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust on energy-saving devices.

However, residents throughout Marquette will soon be able to cash in as well, as the Better Buildings for Michigan program opens up to the entire city of Marquette on Oct. 1.

"We have a goal of 550 homes to reach before the end of December, so we're really trying to ramp it up right now," program manager Natasha Koss said. "People are happy they have options for funding this sort of thing. Because winter's coming soon ... it's starting to get a little cool, people are thinking about the drafts in windows and insulation in their ceiling."

Article Photos

This photo from last November shows The Energy Guys owner Tucker Brandt checking the thermostat of Marquette resident Peggy Loy under a program offering free energy assessments to local utility customers. Another energy assessment program, Better Buildings for Michigan, will be expanding in the city of Marquette on Oct. 1. (Journal file photo by Matt Keiser)

The partnership is offering the program along with the city of Marquette through a $350,000 grant provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Part of the grant required different types of incentives to be offered at different times, Koss said, so the incentives offered during the south Marquette sweep were not offered during the north Marquette sweep.

"They changed the incentives because, the whole Better Buildings for Michigan Program, one of the goals is to learn what causes people to take advantage of these kinds of programs," Koss said.

Currently, homeowners with houses inside the city limits north of U.S. 41 who are interested in signing up to receive an energy assessment on their home can call the partnership at 228-6095. After Oct. 1, any Marquette city resident can sign up for the program.

Participants will receive an energy assessment of their home, provided at a $50 co-payment.

A contractor will come in, evaluate the energy efficiency of the home, then return to the homeowner with a plan to improve that efficiency.

Homeowners can then qualify for a 0 percent loan for two years or a 4.99 percent loan for 10 years to pay for the improvements outlined in their home energy plan.

Those improvements can include a new furnace, new water heater or having insulation blown into the home, as well as other projects.

If the homeowner achieves at least a 15 percent energy savings as a result of the improvements, they will qualify for a $500 rebate.

Each resident is also entitled to 10 free compact fluorescent light bulbs, a low-flow shower head, a kitchen and a bathroom faucet aerator, a programmable thermostat and pipe wrapping to keep pipes warm.

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.



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