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Residents encouraged to take advantage of program that boosts energy efficiency in the home

The GR1K program has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes more energy efficient. The program has now been extended through the summer.
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The City of Grand Rapids has extended the time for residents to participate in GR1K, an energy program that has helped hundred of Grand Rapids residents make their homes more energy efficient. For $99, program participants receive a comprehensive home energy assessment, including a full report on how efficiently the home is operating andrecommendations to increase energy efficiency. The program will be offered until this summer.

"[Through the program] you can get a very clear picture about what you should make improvements on that will really make a big impact as a homeowner," said Anne Marie Hertl, Energy Programs Coordinator at WMEAC.

The assessment, which lasts 3-4 hours, is done by a professional contractor and uses such technologies as infrared guns and blower doors in order to identify areas for improvement in the home. 

Those who take part in the program will receive free installations in addition to the assessment. Installations include energy-saving fluorescent lightbulbs, pipe wrap for water heaters, water-saving shower heads, sink aerators and an upgrade to a programable thermostat in replace of those with a dial.

Other installations, such as insulation or furnaces, are available for an additional cost. There are, however, some incentives, such as low-interest loans and dollar discounts, that may be available for paid upgrades that program participants wish to make.

"We've helped over 1,600 residents make their homes more energy efficient. On average we're saving people about 20 percent a year on their energy bills," said Hertl.

Some homeowners that live outside the city of Grand Rapids may be eligible for parts of the program. To register, go to

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We have a 3200 sqft brick house in Heritage Hill. Our utility bills are pretty low considering the projected monthly costs considering the age and size of the house. We had a couple of concerns which we wanted to get checked out, so we had this done a few weeks ago.

The final report came back and said that for a mere $30K, we could have our attic insulated (our concern), insulating all the walls of the house, joists in the basement, and new ductwork in the attic. And you know, if we wanted to take out a home energy loan for the low monthly payments of couple of hundred, they could get started asap.

We're going to get a second opinion on the attic as that is where our central air unit is housed and this was our concern, but no, we're not taking out a loan to pay $30K to "maybe" drop 20% in already low utility bills.