MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont energy advisory organization is promoting an initiative that gives Montpelier residents free weatherization estimates in the hope of reducing heating bills.

The Times Argus reports Net Zero Montpelier recently launched Weatherize Montpelier. Net Zero officials say residents can reduce heating bills by up to 25 percent when they weatherize their homes. The organization says more than 500 residents have benefited from the program so far.

Program committee member Paul Markowitz says the initiative is based on a similar one in southern Vermont and New Hampshire called Weatherize Upper Valley.

Officials hope Weatherize Montpelier can strengthen relationships between homeowners and contractors and provide a comprehensive database for residents. A workshop will be held Thursday at the Vermont State Employees Credit Union.

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Information from: The Times Argus, http://www.timesargus.com/