Mike McGinn, Mayor
10/29/2010 10:35:00 PM
Todd Burley (206) 684-5081
Weatherization works for our community!
Seattle's HomeWise Program recognizes October 30 as National Weatherization Day
SEATTLE - In case you hadn't noticed, winter arrived this week in western Washington. High winds, frequent showers and cool temperatures have many families across the region turning up their thermostats.
However, for low-income families, cranking up the heat is not always an option. Nationally, these households pay 14.4% of their annual incomes for energy compared with 3.3% for other households.
In recognition of National Weatherization Day on Oct. 30, the City of Seattle's HomeWise weatherization program is reminding residents of the financial and environmental benefits realized with a properly weatherized home. Besides creating a more comfortable living space for the residents, weatherization measures help to lower energy consumption, reduce carbon emissions and cut utility costs.
HomeWise, operated through the City's Office of Housing, provides free weatherization services to low- to moderate-income Seattle renters and homeowners, like seniors living on fixed budgets. These services can include insulation, venting of bathrooms and kitchens, air sealing, weatherstripping, repair or replacement of furnaces and refrigerators, and more.
"Weatherization provides a highly cost-effective way to boost energy efficiency and reduce the energy burden on households,” said Miriam Roskin, HomeWise program manager. "The dollar savings alone make a big difference for the families we serve. Associated environmental benefits and preservation of the City's stock of affordable housing makes a big difference for our community as a whole.”
Funding for the HomeWise program comes from local, state and federal grants, including a recent award through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). HomeWise has received almost $4 million in additional funding for residential weatherization projects of the total $5 billion granted nationwide. This significant increase in funding means HomeWise can provide these valuable services—again, at no cost to qualifying households—to even more homes in Seattle.
In 2008 and 2009, the HomeWise program committed $6.1 million to weatherize 1,630 Seattle low-income homes. The program also distributed about 34,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). In terms of electric power consumption alone, this energy-efficiency effort saved 3.36 million kWh (enough electricity to power 336 average Seattle households) and cut CO2 emissions by an estimated 2,017 metric tons (similar to taking 369 cars off the road). In 2010, HomeWise already has completed weatherization of almost 1,300 houses and apartments.
How HomeWise Weatherization Works
Using state of the art equipment, a HomeWise property rehabilitation specialist conducts an energy analysis and recommends a package of conservation measures. The measures are then installed by a professional contractor, with city staff overseeing the work. Homeowners also receive free compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Eligibility is based upon the number of household members, total household income and type of heating system. For example, the monthly income limit for owner-occupied homes with gas or oil heat is about $2,000 a month for a one-person household or $2,640 for a two-person household. The monthly income limit for owner-occupied homes with electric heat is about $3,730 a month for a one-person household or $4,260 for a two-person household.
Additionally, apartment buildings are eligible for free weatherization services if more than half of the tenants meet income qualifications.
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