Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative

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LIHEAP Pilot Project

 The LIHEAP pilot project is a project to transition families receiving fuel assistance money from our state to affordable and sustainable heating technology. The Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative is working in conjunction with the Vermont LIHEAP agency to offer families in their program pellet stoves. These families live in Washington County, and the five town school district of Bristol, Monkton, New Haven, Starksboro and Lincoln. Families heating with propane, oil and kerosene and high heating loads are some of our highest priority transitions. It is important to note we will not remove their existing heating system but rather it will become a back-up system. Also participants in our pilot project will not lose or in any way alter their eligibility for LIHEAP funds.

This pilot project is not only a great help to these families, but also economically beneficial for the state economy. LIHEAP is federally & locally funded by our tax dollars. Transitioning families to pellets as their primary heat source will save us money.

 July is LIHEAP application month, during which the Vermont fuel assistance program sends out and receives applications. The applications in summer 2008 were sent out with surveys to gauge interest in this project. The pilot project is completely voluntary; however, it has already received a lot of enthusiasm. The summer has given us the necessary opportunity to meet our applicants and perform site analysis.

 We have raised enough money for fifteen installations and are working to do more. Money for this project has come from state grants, St. Michael's College, a fundraising game called "Bust-A-Bulb" and the Earth Island Institute.