Similar to buying food in bulk, Maine residents are saving money and enhancing their homes through collective purchases that deliver significant energy savings.
Some community-scale purchases involve energy-efficient products—both big (ductless heat pumps) and small (LED lightbulbs). Other groups seek out wholesale pricing on services—like home energy assessments, air sealing and insulation. An initiative in York recently winterized 15 homes, helping homeowners lower monthly energy bills by installing custom-made window inserts, weather-stripping, LED lighting, and low-flow showerheads. Their success grew out of a strong community partnership in which the town’s Energy Steering Committee teamed up with York Community Service Association, York Rotary Club (which generously provided $7,000), and Efficiency Maine (which matched every $50 spent locally with $1,000 toward home energy projects).
Collective purchase projects can take many different forms depending on the needs of the community. The process typically begins with an exploratory meeting organized by a “community lead”—a person who may be affiliated with municipal government (such as with Bangor’s EnergySmart Rebate Program), a community or neighborhood group, or a service or faith-based organization. An Efficiency Maine staff person can attend a community-organized meeting to share information about energy-efficient opportunities, financing, and available rebates.
Once residents decide what energy services or equipment they need, the community lead puts out the word to potential contractors, seeking proposals for services at a set price. Homeowners then sign up and schedule work directly with the chosen contractor. Residents who are eligible for rebates or loans from Efficiency Maine can download forms directly from our website.
Efficiency Maine offers an online toolkit to help community leads organize a successful collective purchase initiative, complete with templates for a contractor request-for-proposals, and a homeowner signup. To find out how to get started with your own collective purchase initiative, click here for a toolkit and an introductory video.