The Town of University Park, MD was awarded a grant by the US Department of Energy to implement the Small Town Energy Program for University Park, or STEP-UP. STEP-UP’s three-year effort is designed to achieve energy efficiency market transformation within University Park and to serve as a roadmap for energy transformation in small towns across the US. STEP-UP includes a full suite of model activities for replication including energy audits and retrofits for homes, financial incentives, local community delivery partners, and low-cost social media techniques. STEP-UP may also include additional energy-related activities such as integrated solar, composting, transit and street lighting programs.
The Town’s “Energy Coach” assists residents of University Park in making use of the STEP-UP program and related financial incentives. The Energy Coach’s role is to answer questions, provide information, and support STEP-UP participants as they make choices related to auditors, interpreting their home audit reports, selecting contractors, and accessing financial incentives. The STEP-UP Energy Coach is Ms. Suzanne Parmet, who can be reached at energycoach@UPMD.org, at (240) 695-3991, or through University Park Town Hall: 6724 Baltimore Avenue, University Park, MD 20782.
Any household within the Town of University Park, Maryland (20782) is eligible to participate in STEP-UP, including tenants who have their landlord’s written permission. Unfortunately, other residents within the 20782 zip code but not within the boundaries of University Park are not eligible to participate.
- Review the STEP-UP Participation Agreement and STEP-UP Participation Benefits & Requirements.
- Complete and return the Participation Agreement to Suzanne Parmet, STEP-UP Energy Coach, by mail or hand delivery to Town Hall (6724 Baltimore Avenue, University Park, MD 20782) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
STEP-UP participants commit to do three things.
First, STEP-UP participants commit to having a whole-house energy audit performed on their home at their expense. Through STEP-UP and its partners, the cost to the homeowner of the comprehensive energy audit has been reduced to $100.Households that are eligible for the Pepco Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Audit Program must use a Pepco Participating Contractor. Homes that are ineligible for the Pepco program may use any Pepco Participating Contractor or any Participating Contractor with Maryland Home Performance with ENERGY STAR. The STEP-UP Energy Coach is available if needed to help UP homeowners find a qualified auditor, arrange for the audit, and understand the results of the audit report.
Second, STEP-UP participants commit to sharing information about their home and its energy use, their audit results, and any energy upgrades that they make to their home. Sharing this data will help us to measure the impact of the STEP-UP program. STEP-UP must regularly report data to the U.S. Department of Energy and may, at times, share home energy information with other UP residents. In such cases, the data to be reported or shared will be in a redacted or an aggregate format to ensure the privacy of UP residents.
Finally, participants who decide to make energy-saving improvements to their home commit to applying for the available federal, state, utility and STEP-UP financial incentives. The STEP-UP Energy Coach is available, if needed, to help guide UP homeowners towards the available incentives.
For a step-by-step guide to participation, click here.
Participants may call upon the Energy Coach to assist them with every step of the energy improvement process, including:
- Providing general information
- Discussing issues to consider when selecting an auditor or contractor
- Explaining audit reports
- Reviewing recommended improvements and proposals
- Describing available financial tools and incentives
- Assisting with the paperwork required to apply for incentives
In addition, STEP-UP provides each participant with up to $400 to cover the net cost of implementing energy efficiency improvements recommended in the audit report. Additional financial incentives are available for participants who are not eligible to participate in the Pepco Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Audit Program.
Further, we a special, advantageous loan program is available to from SunTrust, enabling STEP-UP participants to access affordable financing to help cover the cost of their energy efficiency improvements.
For more information, or if you have questions or comments, please contact the Energy Coach at email@example.com, and visit the Participate page (hyperlink to participate page) to sign up!
Roughly 80% of the US population resides in only 350 different metro areas. However, within these large urban centers, most people live in jurisdictions – towns, boroughs, wards – of fewer than 25,000 people. If rural areas are considered, the average size of a jurisdiction in the United States is a little over 6,000 (Wendel Cox, NewGeography, 2008).