Weatherization: From House to Home


Cozy, relaxing, warm, and inviting…just some of the things that come to mind when thinking about home.  But when a house is drafty, cold, and burdensome it is hard to feel at “home”.  This is where the Weatherization Assistance Program steps in!

The Weatherization Assistance Program was the first grant-funded program to join the array at the Council of Community Services in 1979.  Launched as an effort from the US Department of Energy, the Weatherization Assistance Program is one part in a two-part utility assistance program offered federally.  This federal assistance program is known as LIEAP the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program.  LIEAP offers low-income households a seasonal utility subsidy, paid directly to their main heat source provider, to help ease the burden of high energy costs on low-income families.  In addition, LIEAP partners with the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) to help those with the highest energy burden outfit their homes in energy efficient ways.  Together the pair provide assistance for energy costs and also ensures energy costs in the future are reduced.

Services five counties including Sheridan, Johnson, Campbell, Crook, and Weston

The unification of LIEAP and WAP make applying for assistance easy with a single application for both programs.  Once approved, applicants are filtered from the main office in Cheyenne to regional offices across the state for weatherization consideration.  The Council of Community Services Weatherization Program services five counties including Sheridan, Johnson, Campbell, Crook, and Weston.

Energy efficiency has come a long way since this program began.  The Weatherization crews at the Council are able to make improvements to homes that drastically cut energy costs for the homeowner all year round, often for the life of the home.  To make these improvements certified Energy Auditors on the crew conduct an evaluation of the home to see which measures will have the most money saving impact for the client.  Armed with a list of improvements crews set to work improving insulation, windows and doors, light fixtures, and more.  Major appliances (refrigerators, hot water heaters, furnaces, ovens, etc.) are tested for their safety and operating efficiency and replaced if necessary.  Crews also make sure to install lifesaving safety equipment like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers.

Built-in method to handle emergency situations

While typically the Weatherization crews work systematically through a house making improvements, emergencies do arise-especially during harsh Wyoming winters.  The Weatherization Assistance Program has a built-in method to handle emergency situations.  It’s an unthinkable and panic inducing thought…the furnace quits working in the middle of the night in the dead of winter.  Fortunately, if qualified for LIEAP/WAP, the Weatherization crew at the Council will be notified of the emergency and have 18 hours to restore heat to the home.  Keeping people safe and comfortable in their home is a top priority for the Weatherization Program.

Making energy efficient improvements to homes is the cornerstone of the WAP, but a vital piece is client education.  Weatherization crew members make sure to inform household members of the improvements they are making and exactly how the changes will reduce energy costs.  One of the most notable changes is also one of the smallest, LED light bulbs.  Crews upgrade homes to have LED light bulbs because they use less energy and have a much longer lifespan than traditional bulbs.

When combined LIEAP and the WAP provide a significant improvement to the quality of life for low-income households.  Together they can take a house from cold, drafty, and expensive to a home that is warm, safe, and affordable.  Providing assistance and education in tandem give the household the ability to maintain their energy savings for years to come.

 

Low Income Energy Assistance Program/Weatherization Assistance Program

Utility subsidy available November-May

Weatherization available year round

Application period: October 1-February 28

For more information and to apply online visit: www.lieapwyo.org

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