Conservation Corner: Grants for weatherization assistance still available

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For the past two years the Energy Advisory Panel has been promoting the Weatherization Assistance Program. The mission of the program is to reduce the monthly energy burden on low-income households by improving the energy efficiency of their home. The program is funded by the U. S. Department of Energy and is administered by the Central Florida Community Action Agency, Inc. This is a really good program for several reasons; energy savings, pollution reduction and it helps our neighbors that are economically challenged.
In a survey of households that had weatherization work completed, 60% of respondents saw their electric bills get cut in half. With both heating and cooling seasons around here, this could be a saving of $1,000 per year besides living more comfortably and reducing energy demand. Low-income households pay an average of 18% of their annual income for energy compared with 5% for other households so this can be a huge benefit to these folks. To date about 50 households in the 32625 zip code have gone thru the process and have had the weatherization work completed.
How the Program Works
   To qualify for the program you have to own the house or trailer and be living in the dwelling.            Qualifying is also based on income as follows:   (1.) Two people in a household having an annual income of less than $29,420 (2.)  Four people in a household having an annual income of less than $44,700 (3.) Six people in a household having an annual income of less than $59,980. There is an application to fill out along with verification of income etc. Preference is given to the elderly, disabled and families with children under 12.
Once qualified, a specially trained team will come and evaluate your home to see where the $5,000 grant could be best spent to reduce your monthly energy bill. Another team will then come and do the work on your house or trailer. Work ranges from weather stripping, caulking, replacement of windows and doors, installing attic insulation and ventilation, to the repair or replacement of water heaters and heating and cooling units. They can also apply a solar reflective coating on manufactured homes and install solar screens. The workers have said that they really like to work in the Cedar Key area, “the clients are real nice and we sure do appreciate the offers to help.”
Applications are available at Drummond and Capital City Banks, city hall and the library. If you need help filling out the application please give me a call at 543-6042. There are volunteers that will help you thru the process. The process can be slow, but once qualified the work will get done. Anyone that I have talked to that has had the work completed is very pleased with the results.
So pick up an application, if not for yourself, for someone else that you may know that would be able to participate in this energy and money saving program. If you have participated in this program tell others of the results that you have experienced and encourage them to apply. Simply put, you save money and it does not cost qualified households a penny.
Tom Deverin