Supporting a key constituency

  • July 7, 2016
  • Heat Smart

Families left out in the cold make us really hot under the collar.

We’re passionate about keeping people warm when they don’t have the means to do so on their own. We’re a long-time partner of tribal Community Action programs and have helped more than a dozen Indian tribes around the U.S. with repeat deliveries of our Heat Smart kit. We empower tribes to help their members with a program that meets their needs and fits their culture.

The welfare of tribe members is important to us and we’d like to become more involved. That’s why we’re once again participating in the upcoming Reservation Economic Summit Leadership Conference in Oklahoma, sponsored in part by Cherokee Nation Businesses. It’s a meaningful event to us and we appreciate the opportunity to participate.

One part of the conference will address Tribal Energy policy, and that’s great. Long-term, strategic solutions to heat insecurity are important all across the country. But in the immediate future, we understand the challenges tribe’s heat assistance programs face – in heating, in funding and in meeting a growing need. We know it’s not enough to wait for the government to help and we’re ready to assist their communities in any way we can.

As a regular RES attendee, we’re deeply committed and look forward to catching up with old friends and making new acquaintances among today’s Indian leaders. Every year we make new connections, hear respected opinions and offer valuable information.

If you’re going to RES, we’d love to get to know you and see how we might help. Stop by the Heat Smart booth and introduce yourself. If you’re not going, send us an email and we’ll be sure to connect with you. Hope to see you in Tulsa!

Everyone likes a road trip!

  • June 2, 2016
  • Heat Smart

Even though it’s nearly summer and heat waves are around the corner, keeping people warm is still on our minds. Like you, we have a passion for reducing energy poverty, and maybe someday, eliminating it altogether. (Hey, we can dream, right?)  So Heat Smart is hitting the road to attend industry conferences, make new connections and learn what’s new in helping reduce energy demand.

We’ve dedicated our company to helping those who need assistance in order to stay warm with an innovative, cost-effective idea. At the core of it is all-natural wool, the fabric that raises body temperature the fastest of any material. Plus, we’ve researched and tested behavior change methods that make our program a success and can make your job easier.

Our first trip is to the Mile High City, aka Denver, from June 6th through the 8th. We’ll be joining industry thought leaders at the nation’s largest annual gathering of energy assistance professionals, the 2016 National Energy & Utility Affordability Coalition Conference. We look forward to sharing our ideas with everyone from energy professionals to LIHEAP and weatherization policy folks. This is our sixth trip to NEUAC, and we’ve always found it informative. NEUAC helps us form new partnerships with professionals and organizations across the country to help stretch energy resources, reduce demand, and save low-income families money. Maybe this year, one of those new connections will be you.

Our second trip is to the beautiful White Mountains in New Hampshire, to NEEP’s Northeast Energy Efficiency Summit on June 13-14 at the Omni Mt. Washington. NEEP is a New England Regional AESP  covering the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to accelerate energy efficiency. In addition to helping them celebrate their 20th anniversary, we’ll be meeting with state and local policy leaders, efficiency program administrators, and utility representatives to build collaboration. We feel Heat Smart has a lot to add to the conversation about Next Generation Energy Efficiency.

Stop by our booth at either conference and see how we can help you reach your goals. Or, email Executive Director Donna Montaquila to set up a time to meet. If you can’t make it to the conferences but would still like more detail, please email and she will be in touch right away.

“Show me the money!”

  • May 19, 2016
  • Heat Smart

Even if you’re not a Tom Cruise or Cuba Gooding Jr. fan, chances are you’re familiar with the phrase from the movie Jerry Maguire. And that’s exactly what we’re doing with our Pilot 2.0 study.

Last fall we launched a bigger, longer study to show our partners where the savings are.  We recruited over 130 families, delivered more than 400 Heat Smart kits, and measured kilowatt usage for an entire heating season, from October 1 through March 31. To measure the behavior changes the study was looking for, we sent three strategically timed reminder surveys to determine behavior change over the course of the study: baseline beginning, middle, and end. With a majority of the surveys returned, we discovered:

  • Before the study, nearly half the families did not turn the heat down at all overnight. By the end, thermostat setback increased significantly with 98.8% reporting they now turn down their thermostats at night, nearly double.
  • Plus, 35.7% more respondents now reported increasing their thermostat setback an average of 8.8 degrees (a set back increase of 6.1 more degrees each night).
  • During the study, 68% of families responded to at least one reminder mailing, and reported thermostat setback increased with each reminder.
  • At the end of the study, 100% of respondents reported saving on their energy bills.
  • The educational component had a strong impact, with 92.2% reporting increased awareness of the potential savings obtained through thermostat set back.
  • 95.2% of the families reported using the weather stripping we provided.
  • 100% of the families indicated they would continue to use the Heat Smart blankets and keep turning down their thermostat even after the Pilot Program, building long term savings.

Bottom line: our kit empowered more people to turn their heat down by more degrees while staying comfortably warm.  These self-reported survey results show marked behavior change and positive impact on family budgets with a minimal, cost-effective investment of $12 per kit. 

This demonstrates real progress in the behavior change that is key to our end goal of helping low income households save money and reduce overall energy demand.

So you see, energy savings programs don’t need to be expensive and they don’t require sophisticated technology or gizmos. The warmth and comfort of all-natural wool inexpensively motivates behavior change to lower heating bills while helping more low-income families stay warm. The result: reduced energy demand, more cost-effective heat assistance programs and more easily-achieved outreach goals.

These results are just the beginning. We’re currently conducting a statistical usage analysis of actual kilowatt usage as part of the pilot and will report those findings to you as soon as we have them. Stay tuned!

Neighborhoods, Energy Savings and Spokane

  • May 2, 2016
  • Heat Smart

In recent decades, building technology has brought us wonderful weatherization and conservation advances such as net zero homes and closed cell foam spray insulation.  It’s certainly a long way from the energy conservation movement of the 1970s when Fred Rogers advised his young viewers on the PBS hit Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood to turn down the heat and put on a sweater to stay warm. It was an easy energy-saving action with immediate benefit. 

At Heat Smart, we know taking those simple actions can still make a huge impact for low-income families, such as weatherizing around windows and doors. That’s why we include a 27-foot roll of synthetic weatherstripping in each and every Heat Smart kit. It will insulate three standard windows and one door to tighten up the building envelope, eliminate drafts and retain heat.

We’re super-excited to share the Heat Smart approach at this year’s Energy OutWest (EOW) conference May 9-13 in Spokane, Washington. This is our fifth year attending and we’re proud to be a Silver sponsor. EOW is an independent organization that advances weatherization knowledge and practices as they engage the community in conversation. They also serve as a resource for the region’s low-income energy services network, helping share news and best practices to expand programs that help low-income families. 

Our Heat Smart kit has already helped more than 500,000 families realize energy savings. At the same time we help assistance programs stretch their budgets and supply utility companies with a cost-efficient outreach program. The benefits are many: families stay warm while saving money, organizations reach more families, and utility companies meet federal mandates. In the spirit of Mr. Rogers, we partner with a broad coalition of community action programs, nonprofit organizations and energy professionals across the country to help neighborhoods stay warm and save energy. The DOE says turning the heat down just seven to eight degrees can reduce an energy bill by up to 10%.

Come see us at EOW in booth 4 and discover how beneficial Heat Smart can be for you while celebrating EOW’s 25th anniversary. If you like, send us an email before then and we’ll set some time to connect during the conference. Not going? Send us an email and we’ll be sure to connect with you. Hope to see you in Spokane!

Energy burden higher for those who can least afford it. 

1 in 4 households held back by a high energy burden.

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