NeighborWorks of Western Vermont
Marcy Tanger is a one-woman “weatherization warrior,” recruiting others to the cause, saving her community thousands of dollars and doing her part to protect the environment.
attributes much of its success in championing home energy efficiency in Rutland County to “the Marcy Tanger effect.” You won’t find it in any textbooks, but it’s real. In fact, Executive Director Ludy Biddle estimates that Marcy’s efforts to persuade residents to weatherize their homes has saved her neighbors more than $57,000 in heating costs every year – while increasing business for local contractors and attracting additional grant money ($20,000 so far) to the area.
Marcy attributes her passion for the environment and community engagement to her father’s “scientific mind,” her early childhood spent in the developing regions of Liberia and Peru, and her love for small towns.
“I drove through Vermont on a camping trip when I was 10 and fell in love with it. So when I was 30 and my husband was laid off, making it a perfect time to re-locate, we chose Vermont,” recalls Marcy, who first ran a general store and now focuses on volunteer work. “I love small towns where you can make things happen.”
Marcy says she first became involved with NWWVT “by luck.” A friend who knew how active Marcy was recommended her to the organization, and three years ago, she was recruited to be an ambassador for its home-weatherization program.
In the year before Marcy began her work with Biddle and her team, only 26 ENERGY STAR home-weatherization projects had been completed in the entire 27-town county. Today, 85 households in just her small town of Mount Holly (population 1,240) have signed up for audits, and 56 went on to complete an energy retrofit – of which 68 percent credit Marcy.
What’s her secret? Marcy is a constant presence at town meetings, harvest festivals and farmers’ markets. “I try to ‘run into’ people at events or the store, get them talking and introduce the subject. I tell them about the test they can have them to show just how much energy they’re losing with poor insulation, etc. If I know someone with a similar type of house who has successfully weatherized, I bring them over to hear how happy they are. That’s what I love about this work. I love to see people after they have weatherized, because they are ecstatic: Their house is warmer and they’ve saved money! What more could you want?”
2014 Dorothy Richardson Award Winners
: Never too Young to be a Leader
: Turning Tragedy into Strength
: From Bystander to ‘Upstander’
: Heart of the Community
: Teaching by Example
: Responding to the ‘Call’
: Be the Leader You Need