It's a house-by-house battle. If the state wants to strive toward energy independence, save money on electricity and make the environment cleaner, one of the best places to start will be in making homes more energy-efficient.

"People say in this economy, it's not the time to do this work," said Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi, speaking Tuesday at a meeting in the state Department of Environmental Protection's headquarters in Hartford. "Now is the time. Now, more that ever," Marconi said.

Ridgefield is one of 14 towns that will be on the front line of this effort. It's been chosen to participate in the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge — a three-year program to encourage homeowners to get an energy audit to find how their homes are leaking energy, then to make the improvements needed to stop those leaks.

The program's goal — funded by a $4.17 million federal stimulus grant — is to get at least 10% of the homeowners in each of the 14 towns in the program to reduce their energy use by 20%. (The News-Times)

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