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Big Turnout for Energy Fair

More than 100 residents cram city hall for info on energy efficient home upgrades.

More than 100 people learned about ways they could make their homes more energy efficient during a special energy fair held last night at the Hyattsville Municipal Building on Gallatin Street. 

The event was part of the Small Town Energy Program which helps guide local residents through the process of making their homes greener and applying for rebates to make the work less expensive. The program, funded through July with a grant from the Department of Energy, is available to resident of Hyattsville, University Park, Riverdale Park and College Heights Estates. 

Chuck Wilson, director of STEP, said that the program has received rave reviews from just about everyone who has participated in it.

"Many people don't go forward with energy efficient upgrades for three reasons: it's too complicated, it's too expensive, or they just plain don't like contractors," said Wilson. "So we try to deal with all three of those problems."

They do that by setting participants up with an energy coach who helps set up and analyze home energy audits, which indicate the type of work needed for a particular house to become more energy efficient. If program participants decide to move on from paper to plaster, the energy coach guides residents through the process of applying for rebates which can cut a siginificant chunk out of the cost of upgrades. 

Gine DeFerrari, a Hyattsville resident who lives on Oliver Street, participated in the program last year said she was able to get $2,400 worth of work–to apply new insulation in her attic and basement–for an after-rebate price of $700. 

a member of the Hyattsville Environment Committee and helps manage the Hyattsville section of STEP, said it was important for local communities to take steps to become more energy efficient. 

"The Federal government is not going to step up on the energy problem. it's too complicated, it's too hard to regulate," "If towns start adopting energy efficiency standards and encouraging energy efficiency, then we won't need the government to come down and say you have to do this, because it'll already be done."

Residents interested in participating in STEP need to act fast. The program is only funded through July, and it can take weeks or months to audit, analyze, and upgrade a home with energy efficient renovations. 

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