A free energy fair for business owners and homeowners will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at the Hasty Community Center in Auburn. The fair will offer ways to cut fuel costs.

AUBURN — A free Home and Business Energy Fair will be held Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hasty Community Center, 48 Pettengill Park.

Business owners and homeowners can explore what they could do to cut fuel costs, how much it would cost and how much they could save.

New affordable technologies are making it easier for home and business owners to reduce energy use, switch to clean sources and save money, said Jeff Edelstein, executive director of the Greater Portland Sustainability Council, which is hosting Saturday’s energy fair.

Exhibitors will be on hand to help homeowners and small business owners learn about energy audits, energy efficiency, insulation, heat pumps, rebate programs, solar energy, pellet boilers, green home design and biofuels.

The Greater Portland Sustainability Council is a nonprofit organization based in Portland.

“Our goal is to help the Portland region and Maine become a world-class model of environmental sustainability,” Edelstein said.

“It’s critically important in Maine to help homeowners know about clean energy options,” Edelstein said. “It helps protect Maine’s environment. And climate change is one of the critical challenges facing us. Maine is on the front line with 3,000 miles of coast, and with fisheries already being impacted. We really need to set an example.”

Cleaner energy solutions can help Maine’s economy in big ways, Edelstein said. Many of the new technologies are creating jobs and helping business owners and  homeowners “with rapid paybacks,” he said.

Insulation and air sealing are especially cost-effective in Maine, because Maine has among the oldest houses in the country, he said. Efficiency Maine offers rebates of up to $2,000 per home and has low-income homeowner programs that provide even greater assistance.

One of the biggest cost-savers is a heat pump hot-water heater, Edelstein said. They cost between $1,200 and $1,800 installed, but with Efficiency Maine’s $750 rebate, the cost isn’t much more than a conventional hot-water heater.

“These hot-water heaters can reduce costs by 50 percent or more, so the payback period can be 20 months or less,” Edelstein said. They also help dry the air in the room they’re located, a great benefit for damp basements, he said.

Dana Fischer, residential program manager of Efficiency Maine, recommends property owners who want to cut energy costs check out Saturday’s energy fair.

“Typically, there are 10 to 20 vendors set up offering a variety of energy-related services,” Fischer said. “It is a great opportunity for homeowners to learn one on one about our program offerings, and meet face to face with local vendors who offer services to lower energy costs.”

The exhibitors will be Assured Solar Energy, Efficiency Maine, Fresh Air Ventilation, Garbo-Kane Integrated Solar Builders, INS Insulation, Maine Solar Solutions, Evergreen Home Performance, Renewal by Andersen of Greater Maine, The SunriseGuide, The WindowDressers, Quality Insulation and Northern Energy Services.

Discounts on installations and energy audits will be provided as door prizes.

The energy fair is one of eight being held in Maine this year organized by the GPSC. For more information, go to www.greaterportlandsustainabilitycouncil.org.



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