SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 18, 2013

No-cost energy audits at Swampscott Public Library

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — Information about no-cost, home energy audits will be discussed at Swampscott Public Library on Wednesday at 6 p.m., and you don’t need a library card to attend.

“This is a Mass Save program, a state program,” said Neal Duffy, chairman of Swampscott’s Renewable Energy Committee. “It’s something you should take advantage of.”

However, anyone who wants to sign up with Next Step Living, the Boston company that is holding the workshop and conducting audits, must be from towns without their own utilities.

That’s because Next Step is reimbursed for assessments by NStar and National Grid, which provide energy to most, but not all, of the towns on the North Shore, Duffy said.

Audits tell homeowners how their houses use energy, which can help them save money. They are also filed with the state and can help homeowners qualify for free services and for rebates on other types of work.

Next Step can make the recommended alterations, which provides an incentive for doing the audits. But the company also offers homeowners tips for things they can do themselves, to achieve energy efficiency.

“You get an understanding of how your home works,” Duffy said. “If you want to replace a water heater or boiler, you want to do this, so you save money on something you have to do anyway.”

This is the second event that Next Step Living has held at the library, and it should be back with more programs in the future, Duffy said, as part of the Renewable Energy Committee’s outreach efforts.

“This is the first step,” he said, “buttoning up your house.”

In addition to helping the environment and saving money, anyone who asks for an audit will help the Swampscott Public Library, because Next Step Living will give it $10 for each homeowner that gets an assessment.