2019 Actions

These are some programs of special interest available to you in 2019.

Our HeatSmart program is a collaboration between CoolWinchester, the town governments of Winchester and Arlington and the state’s Clean Energy Center. The goal is to encourage residents to make their heating and cooling systems more efficient and to get away from using fossil fuels.

We will be vetting the vendors, so our fellow residents will know they are getting a qualified installer at a reasonable price. By serving a large population (two towns) we can negotiate lower prices from vendors on the installation of one of the following four technologies:

• Air Source Heat Pumps (most often “ductless mini splits”)

• Ground Source Heat Pumps (geothermal)

• Solar Hot Water Systems

• Wood Pellet Furnaces

Energy used for heating contributes to over a quarter of the Commonwealth’s greenhouse gas emissions. In the average Massachusetts home, 75% of the energy used is for space and water heating. We hope to help reduce those numbers.

The program will not be fully available until April, 2019 so stay tuned. However, feel free to email us with any questions in the interim at HeatSmartWinchester@gmail.com 

Mass Energy is a non profit organization with various programs to promote the generation and use of renewable energy. Drive Green is their program to promote the purchase of all-electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt, or plug-in hybrids like the Prius Prime. In addition to the $2,500 state rebate and $7,500 federal tax credit (if you have sufficient tax liability to take advantage of the tax credit), Mass Energy has negotiated discounts as high as $7,000 from certain area car dealers. So, for example, a $39,000 electric vehicle, with discount negotiated down by Mass Energy to $32,000 and with the state rebate and federal credit, the final purchase cost (not counting taxes) could be $22,000! For more information, go to the Drive Green home page. Note that for 2019 the federal tax credit is shrinking or disappearing for certain EV makes.

Update December 2018:
Eversource winter rates announced – the fixed price for Eversource Basic (13% renewable) for Jan 1 to June 30, 2019 is 13.7¢ per kWh. Meanwhile WinPower 100% renewable was locked in for 30 months at 13.56¢ per kWh, - that’s actually less for 100% renewable electricity! 

WinPower promised to work for savings when it first launched in July 2017. We now see that promise carried through 2018 into 2019.  Our community electricity aggregation program not only achieves substantial savings over Eversource, it does so by including 5% more local renewable energy than required by state law for WinPower Standard. Our WinPower Standard at 18% renewable was also at lower cost than Eversource’s Basic at 13% renewable.

WinPower 100 – pay nothing more and get 100%. It feels great!

When the program started, we urged people to sign up for WinPower 100, even though it cost 3% more. As described above, now it is actually slightly less expensive than Eversource Basic.  If you’re interested in WinPower 100, act now, it’s easy. Just contact the WinPower program supplier, Dynegy, at (866) 220-5696 or sign up here today.

Although our big WinSaves push in 2016 is over, it is never too late to get a no-cost, Mass Save authorized energy assessment of your home and to make recommended improvements. Typically, during an assessment, you home is analyzed for air leaks, insufficient insulation and other factors. Also, free light bulbs (now LED) and other items may be provided. For our WinSaves 2016 program we first partnered with Next Step Living and when they abruptly folded, switched to HomeWorks, which did an excellent job of doing the assessments in 2016. To get an assessment you can contact HomeWorks at https://www.homeworksenergy.com/win-saves/.


Alternatively you can contact some other Certified "Home Performance Contractor” of your choice or Mass Save. We cannot guarantee satisfaction with anyone you choose, including Mass Save. (CoolWinchester has no financial connection with any business).

Our Winchester Senior Energy Grants program is also over, but CoolWinchester is still happy to help seniors get an energy assessment and to make recommended improvements to their home. The Senior Energy Grant program which ran from 2014-2016 offered help and guidance by a Winchester volunteer for a senior desiring to get an energy assessment and make recommended improvements, such as air sealing or insulation. It also offered doubling a tax credit or rebate up to $800 maximum, with money donated to a fund by Winchester organizations (including CoolWinchester). For example if you installed an energy star refrigerator and received a $50 rebate for doing so, we gave you a $100 grant, double of the rebate.

Air Source Heat Pumps (or “Mini-Splits”)

A new generation of efficient air source heat pumps can provide a good alternative to other heating (and cooling) systems. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC), a state agency, is offering rebates for the installation of such systems. There are many categories of possible installations, but at the simplest level a single such system might qualify for a $650 state rebate, with a rebate maximum for more complex systems up to $2,500 per household.

For more information, go to the CEC web site.

       Solar Power

There are many solar installers in Mass, but it is a complex process and you want someone who will work for your best interests - not theirs. With our bias towards local resources and good reputation, we can suggest a couple to consider out of the many.

Blue Selenium, featuring high quality, efficient SunPower panels, serves eastern Mass and the Cape in particular. The owner lives in Winchester.  We suggest Winchester residents ask to be served by Dave, who also lives in Winchester. Dave is well known in the community, would be great to work with and can be reached at djudelson@bluesel.com. We know people who were happy working with Blue Selenium. More information at www.bluesel.com or 781-281-8130.

SunBug Solar, founded in Somerville serves both eastern and western Mass. We know people who were very happy working with SunBug. They have an office in Arlington Heights. More information is at sunbugsolar.com.


SMART  stands for Save Money And Reduce Trash. It is a municipal program to encourage recycling by replacing the pricey ($225) one-size fits-all transfer station sticker with a much cheaper sticker ($50), plus SMART trash-only bags for all trash ($10 per roll of ten 14 gallon bags & $20 per roll of ten 33 gallon bags). The program includes free recycling and free food and yard waste disposal. The average Winchester SMART  household spent $35 on SMART  trash bags, far less than the $175 sticker differential. More information can be obtained at at the Town Clerk’s Office, at the Transfer Station or by emailing winchestertrashpickers@gmail.com

For Transfer Station information about recycling, the Swap Shop, appliance disposal and more, go to www.winchester.us/196/Transfer-Station-Recycling-Center