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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Weatherization program to benefit homeowners and the local economy

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fulton County is participating in the Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program, enabling low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.

Each approved home will receive up to $6,500 in weatherization improvements at no cost to the homeowner. By reducing the energy bills of low-income families instead of offering aid, weatherization reduces dependency and liberates these funds for spending on more pressing family issues.

On average, weatherization reduces heating bills by 32 percent and overall energy bills by about $350 per year at current prices. This spending, in turn, spurs low-income communities toward job growth and economic development.

"This is stimulus money that will help the folks who live here, but it will also bring jobs for our local carpenters and others," said Fulton County Judge Charles Willett. Application forms are available at the County Judge's office and local families are strongly encouraged to apply. Assessment teams will be here in July to begin evaluating the homes that have been accepted for the program.

To qualify, families must meet the following eligibility requirements: A single person would need to make no more than $21,660 annually. A family of two can make up to $29,140. A family of three can make up to $36,620. A family of four can make up to $44,100. A family of five can make up to $51,580. A family of six can make $59,060. If you have more than six members in your family, contact the County Judge's office for eligibility requirements.

Weatherization provides a lasting solution to high energy bills by addressing the cause through energy efficiency. In the three decades since its founding in 1976, the Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program has provided weatherization services to more than 6.2 million low-income families.

The Department of Energy provides funding and technical guidance to the states, but the states run their own programs and set rules for issues such as eligibility. They also select service providers, which are usually nonprofit agencies that serve families in their communities and review their performance for quality.

Through this program, local service providers install energy efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. These are not expensive upgrades but they are effective and energy savings pay for the upgrades within a few years.

Weatherization has helped spawn an energy efficiency industry for residential housing. This industry employs thousands of people who work in low-income weatherization alone and many times that number work in companies that help homeowners increase their energy efficiency through low-cost measures.

Many of the techniques that are today standard procedure in this industry were first developed and tested by the Weatherization Program. And through weatherization, the Department of Energy continues to develop and test in the field new advances in home energy science.



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