Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
How does your process work?
After we receive an owner/developer’s application for services, we contact him/her with any questions, and schedule a walkthrough of your building. We work with the local Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) office to confirm that the property is considered “affordable housing” based on rent levels or tenant income. We also verify that the property is a relatively high user of energy for heat and hot water, and that project plans are likely to result in at least 25% energy savings.
If the building and project plans qualify, we’ll schedule an energy audit to gather data and perform diagnostics. We analyze that data, then hold a project meeting to determine the work scope, funding, and timeline. Specifications and request for bids are developed by the building owner, with 3E Thermal’s help.
The next step is to meet with the owner/developer and design team to finalize the scope, funding sources, and timeline. An incentive agreement is issued by us, detailing the incentives being offered for comprehensive building performance improvements. The building owner retains contractors to do the work, and 3E Thermal pays incentives to the owner as the work is completed.
What do you mean by “comprehensive building performance improvements?”
3E Thermal has a broader scope than traditional weatherization and other efficiency programs. Our goal is to improve a building’s energy efficiency at least a 25% savings from existing use for heat and hot water. We take a whole-building approach, analyzing air-sealing and higher insulation levels in attics, foundations and walls; and upgrades to space-heating, water-heating and ventilation equipment.
How do you verify my building’s energy use?
We will need fuel delivery data from your fuel dealer for the last two to three years or more — the more the better our savings estimates. We do NOT need costs and financial information, just dates and delivery (or meter-read) amounts.
How much incentives can I expect to receive?
The specific size of the incentives depends on how much savings we can generate together. Usually, the more savings a project will generate, the higher the incentive we can offer. 3E Thermal will conduct an energy audit analysis at no charge and then meet with you to finalize the scope of work and the level of incentives it allows.
Do you pay for everything?
No, we offer incentives to help owners take their renovation and retrofit projects further. But some of our services are free, such as energy audits and technical support — which allows us to act as an unbiased consultant to the owner. 3E Thermal does not do installations or pay for materials or contractors directly. Contracts for construction are between the contractor and the owner. 3E Thermal provides incentive payments as reimbursement to the owner.
Which buildings qualify for your assistance?
3E Thermal’s services are available to owners of affordable apartment housing. “Affordable” means that most of the tenants meet eligibility standards by income or rent levels. “Apartment housing” typically means buildings with five or more dwelling units. The number of apartments per building can be lower if more than one building is involved in a project.
Who are the partners behind 3E Thermal?
The primary partners in 3E Thermal are: Capstone Community Action and Vermont’s four other Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) providers (BROC, CVOEO, NETO and SEVCA); Efficiency Vermont; Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity, which administers WAP; and Vermont Housing and Conservation Board; and Vermont Housing Finance Agency. See the partners page for more information.
If my tenants pay for the heat, do I still benefit?
Yes, as property owner you see significant benefits from comprehensive building performance improvements. You will have less maintenance (such as repainting peeling and mildewed areas), fewer repairs (by, for example, reducing or eliminating damage from ice dams), and healthier and more comfortable apartments — which means less turnover and happier tenants.
Why should I trust 3E Thermal?
We’ve been involved in renovations on more than 250 apartment buildings with more than 2,000 units. We’ve got a solid track record of achieving energy savings. In fact, a review of our projects found an average savings of 24 percent. Check out our 2013 Fuel Study for more details. Our staff has a long, successful history in construction, building design, and weatherization. See the staff page for more information.
What do I need to get started?
To get started, go to our apply page page to send us some information about you and your project. We’ll then be in touch to schedule a walkthrough of your building so you can begin planning your project!