“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
The Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) and the Electrical Partnership Program (EPP) housed in Community Action’s Housing and Transportation Department not only give the tools of energy efficiency but also teach the consumer how to live more energy efficient.
Increasing energy efficiency by reducing electrical waste is the focus of EPP, which is funded by local electric companies. An energy auditor is sent to the home to assess its efficiency and electrical usage. By plugging refrigerators and freezers into meters, the energy auditor can determine whether or not they are energy efficient. Also, by looking at the family’s electric bill and discussing with the client their daily habits, the energy auditor can determine where the participant’s highest electrical usage is coming from and how to lower their usage while increasing their comfort level.
The information gathered at the home assessment allows the energy auditor to take different actions. The easiest one is installing new light bulbs. These “swirly” bulbs, which are called Compact Florescent Lamps (CFL), give the same amount of light but with a third or less of the electricity. Another action the energy auditor can take if the refrigerator is not energy efficient is to provide participants with a new one. If the participant has a separate freezer too, they may be able trade in both for a larger refrigerator. The energy auditor will also go through the different problem areas in the house and suggest ways that the participant can reduce their electric bill.
The Home Weatherization Assistance Program’s (HWAP) goal is to increase energy efficiency in the home by reducing air leakage and improving the efficiency of the heating system. Many people think that by replacing old windows and doors, they are fixing the problems of air leakage, but much of the air leakage comes from unexpected places. If you were to take all the leaks from an average home and put them together on one wall, you would have a hole about the size of a spiral notebook. HWAP crews close these gaps by doing the following:
• Stop major air infiltration around doors, windows, duct work, plumbing, floors
• Install attic insulation
• Fill sidewalls with dense packed insulation
• Install smart thermostats
• Seal and install energy efficient heating systems
• Put in floor insulation
After they complete all of these tasks, the crew makes sure the house is not sealed too tightly through the use of a blower door. They also ensure that the home and appliances are properly vented. If no air can get out and a heating unit or other appliance were to cause a CO2 build up, it could be detrimental to the family’s health. The crews always test to make sure that the participants are safe.
Both programs focus time on consumer education, which helps participants to be more independent, through lowering a high necessary expense while helping them to improve their comfort level in their home.
The HWAP program has had a huge boost this year. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has increased the weatherization budgets in all states by millions. The funds Washington-Morgan received are getting put to good use. Additional crews have been hired and additional equipment acquired allowing WMCAP to serve more people not only with weatherization service, but also with employment and purchases.
While helping participants, the environment is also being saved. Every home that is weatherized reduces the impact of the green house effect on the earth. Every dollar saved on energy reduces our need on foreign oil. Therefore, these programs are, in one way or another, helping everyone in the community.
If you are interested in applying for either of these programs, call
Washington-Morgan Community Action Washington and Morgan Counties, Ohio
218 Putnam Street, Marietta, OH 45750 (740) 373-3745
50 W. Third Street, PO Box 398, Malta, OH 43758 (740) 962-3827