Student Advocacy Group Coordinates Energy Audit for College Park Residence
On-campus student group UMD for Clean Energy coordinates energy audit in an effort to educate the public about energy efficiency
The student advocacy group UMD for Clean Energy is coordinating and observing an energy audit for a home in College Park. They seek to educate the public about energy efficiency and to provide students an opportunity to partake in experiential learning. The Howard County-based company GreenNEWit, which was founded by Columbia-native and University of Maryland class of 2006 graduate Josh Notes, will conduct the energy audit. It will take place from 11am-3pm this Sunday, December 6 at a residence on 4612 Amherst Drive, College Park, MD 21042.
The student group is particularly interested in providing a concrete example of how College Park residents can save energy and money. They hope this will bolster the home energy loan fund policy they have pushed all semester long for the city of College Park. This loan fund would be a pool of money that can be loaned out at a low interest rate to finance energy efficiency upgrades and home improvements for residents of College Park. Borrowers could then repay the loan fund with their energy savings, and reap the savings once they have paid back the loan.
Such a loan fund policy would also provide green jobs, because after the energy audit, a contractor must come in to make the requested retrofits, employing a whole team of workers in the process. In fact, a lot of stimulus money is going to PG County Community College to train people in auditing, retrofitting, and weatherization. However, there currently aren’t enough businesses in the county to employ the people who are certified. While a Howard County business will likely do this particular retrofit, UMD for Clean Energy would like to see these green-minded companies in College Park.
The group has been proactive on this front as well. To try to incentivize green business to come to the city, representatives from the group presented a tax credit program to the College Park City Council at its November 17 work session. UMD for Clean Energy Campaign Director Matt Dernoga and Political Liaison Hilary Staver, who made the presentation, proposed that the city provide property tax breaks to businesses that feature energy-efficient goods and services and to those that minimize their ecological footprint. While this initiative was also well received by the city council, a legal hurdle stands in the way which has temporarily delayed the conversation.
Moreover, even though UMD is determined to pass the loan fund and tax credit programs in the near future, they believe this event will also provide a good experiential learning opportunity for architecture, environmental science, engineering, business, public policy, and other interested students. Groups of people will be ushered in and out of the house during a live home energy audit throughout the four-hour time block this Sunday. Everyone is welcome to attend.