North Adams Launching Campaign to Save Energy

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NORTH ADAMS — A local group is launching Take Charge: The North Adams Campaign to Save Energy to help residents learn how to deal with the rising utilitiy costs.

The North Adams Public Library, Mayor John Barrett III, the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition and the Take Charge task force will officially launch the campaign on Thursday, Aug. 14, at 11 a.m. during the library's open house. 

89 First by changing light bulbs to energy-efficient ones; second by turning down the heat; third by stopping drafts; fourth by saving on hot water, and fifth by requesting a no-cost home energy audit that qualifies owners and renters for rebates and other incentives.

"The campaign is for every resident. There are basic no-cost or low-cost things changes we can all make to our homes that can help us take control of our energy use," said Morgan Goodwin, the project's intern. "We're challenging everyone to take the first steps and discover that saving energy means saving serious money."

In the last three years, the price of heating oil has increased from $2.10 to $4.30 and the cost of natural gas from $2.49 to $3.92, according to the state Department of Energy Resources. There are calls for the nation to break its addiction to foreign oil, and American consumers may be ready for a change. 

"There are a lot of solutions out there, and it can be a little overwhelming," says Nancy Nylen of the Center for Ecological Technology.  "It's important to remember that dollar for dollar, investing in energy efficiency is the best option in terms of saving money, creating immediate results, and also creating jobs right here in the Berkshires."

The demand for energy audits has increased sharply, according to CET, and the organization contracted to conduct the audits. Demand is so high that it trained and hired four new auditors in June and is training four more in August. Building trades that deal with heating and insulation are also growing steadily.

A community group started meeting in May to address the problem and devised the Take Charge campaign. That group, currently called the Take Charge task force, meets at the library on the fourth Thursday of every month. This is its first project.

To sign up for Take Charge, residents can visit the library on Thursday or visit the permanent display there in the coming weeks. Hoosac Bank will also begin promoting the campaign in its lobby, and more local businesses are expected to become supporters.

For more information, contact Morgan Goodwin at 314-884-5240 or at the coalition, 65 Main St., Suite 218, or 413-663-7588.
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