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Weatherization Program helps low-income families

Friday, October 25, 2013

ELIZABETHTOWN — Adirondack Community Action Programs Inc. can help low-income families keep warmer this winter.  

Since 1976, ACAP's Weatherization Assistance Program has been reducing energy usage for low-income families, especially the elderly, disabled and children, Weatherization Director Barbara Allen said in a press release.

“Through the installation of energy-efficient measures, we make homes more energy efficient and increase the health and safety of homes," she said. "We make homes warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.”

Low-income families typically spend 14.4 percent of their total income on energy, as opposed to 3.3 percent for other households. 

Weatherization saves an average of $437 in heating and cooling costs every year at current prices, the release said. And it reduces the energy costs for families who may be forced to choose between heat and other necessities.

The work is performed by certified professional staff or subcontractors "who work hard to make every home more energy efficient, more affordable and more comfortable to live in," the release said. 

The program works on all types of homes: single-family, multi-family and mobile homes.

“In Essex County alone," Allen said, "over 3,700 homes have been weatherized since the program began in 1976.”

She said Oct. 30 is Weatherization Day, and so it's a good time to get the message out that the program has had great success in creating an average energy savings for low-income families. 

Savings average 35 percent of consumption for the typical low-income homeowner, the release said — for every $1 invested, $2.51 is returned in reduced energy bills.

Weatherization requires skilled workers to carry out the program, the release said. 

"These are 'green jobs' — jobs that reduce total energy use and environmental impact on the planet."  

Since 1976, more than 7 million homes have been served by the Weatherization Program nationwide.

Essex County residents can call 873-3207 or go online to to learn more about the program.