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Letter: Energy changes

In 2008, Massachusetts established a goal to reduce greenhouse gases 80 percent by 2050 (from the 1990 levels), and 25 percent by 2020. To meet this goal, we must reduce carbon emissions 75.2 million tons over the next 37 years. Because we use energy in all aspects of modern life, this goal seems daunting, but it is doable. How so?

One place where we consume a lot of energy is right in our homes. We use electricity to power lights, appliances, and utilities, and (most of us) use oil to heat them. To our misfortune, however, much of this energy goes to waste when it escapes into the atmosphere through poorly insulated walls, windows, and unsealed areas, or when our appliances are inefficient. Fortunately, our area has some great programs, such as Mass Save, the Weatherization Assistance Program, and Community Action, which provide free energy audits, weatherize your business or home (homeowners and renters), and subsidize energy efficiency efforts. Low-income earners may even be able to receive entirely free access each program provides. In addition to improving home efficiency, these changes can save a household an average of $350/year in energy costs. The $5,500 value of the work (which potentially will be free) pays off in no time.

However, these programs have been underfunded and therefore aren’t nearly as beneficial to our communities as they can be. Because applications show that people are interested in energy efficiency, when state budgeteers see a large amount of interest (i.e., applications), they are likely to allocate more funding in the future, which is really what these programs need. By applying and showing interest in these home energy efficiency programs, Massachusetts residents (you!) can make a difference. So, please, apply for these home efficiency programs! Your efforts will have an impact.

BRIAN WENDEL

Student, Four Rivers Charter Public School

Greenfield

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