New energy conservation event planned this month

Energy $avings Day to help cut costs

MANCHESTER — Instead of waiting for the warmth of summer to experience all that SolarFest has to offer, join keynote speakers and energy savings specialists later this month during Energy Savings Day.

SolarFest organizers put together a day-long showcase of experts and presentations to help reduce electric, heating and cooling costs for homes and businesses at the festival's headquarters — the Southern Vermont Arts Center.

Discussion topics include net-zero energy, how-to information, payback from energy conservation and renewable power, according to a release.

Panel moderator Alan Benoit from Sustainable Design of Vermont has presented at SolarFest in the past and hopes to continue his mission of educating the public about energy efficient through this new event.

"I will be talking about how energy conservation can most effectively be incorporated into the design of a home addition, renovation or new home construction," he said in an email.

"Being an architect, I not only believe that efficiency designed into the project is important, but also, educating both the homeowner and the building construction team."

For the past six years Benoit has presented on all things green and started a monthly sustainable living series in 2008 that can be seen at the Manchester Community Library.

"I have been leading the charge locally to inform the public about energy efficiency, renewable energy and all things green," he said. "Therefore, my speaking and facilitating at Energy Savings Day, is just a continuation of my mission."

SolarFest has run for about 30 years by promoting education through the arts. For the savings day, student artwork from 22 schools will be displayed around the art center, according to a release.

Bill Laberge from Grassroots Solar said the day is a shortened version of Solarfest. He noted that renewable energy options are a form of technology and it advances every year.

"Things becaome more efficient and less expensive — it's part of the education process," he said. "If they looked into it three years ago, five years ago or eight years ago, it's a totally different ball game, because it improves all the time. We want to be able to show people here's the latest things you can take advantage of."

Learn more on March 25 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is $5, or free if you bring an electric or heating bill.

Visit for the full day schedule.

Reach staff writer Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471 or @MC_McGeeney.


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