Community Money Statewide News

Program that saves money for low-income Michigan families, weatherizes homes highlighted by governor

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is raising awareness on National Weatherization Day for a weatherization program that reduces household energy costs by an average of $283 per year – benefitting approximately 1,300 low-income families in Michigan. The governor has also proclaimed October as Weatherization Month in Michigan.

“As the temperatures get colder, the Weatherization Assistance Program will reduce energy costs for low-income families,” Whitmer said. “This program will help families across the state who need support this winter as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will help us protect our environment by making homes more energy efficient. This program is also good for our local economies, as it supports 8,500 jobs nationally for workers who weatherize homes. Moving forward, my administration will continue working around the clock to ensure Michigan families have the support they need as we head into the winter months.”

The U.S. Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program is administered at the state level by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity. MDHHS utilizes Community Action Agencies and non-profit organizations to provide weatherization services at the local level.

“MDHHS is committed to helping Michiganders who are struggling to pay their energy bills,” said Lewis Roubal, the department’s chief deputy director for opportunity.

“We want to give these families more peace of mind by assisting them in lowering their energy costs,” Roubal added. “That can remove worries about having their heat shut off and leave more money in the household budget for food, clothing and other needs.”

Trained weatherization professionals known as energy auditors use computerized energy audit software and advanced diagnostic equipment such as blower doors and infrared cameras to create a comprehensive energy analysis of the home. This analysis is used to determine the most cost-effective measures to install in each home. The energy auditor creates a customized work order and trained contractors and crew members install the identified energy-efficient and health and safety measures.

Energy efficiency measures installed in client homes include items such as insulation, blower-door-guided air sealing of key junctures, and installations such as lighting and water saving measures.

Health and safety issues such as carbon monoxide, moisture problems, ventilation needs, and heating systems safety and efficiency are also addressed. There is growing evidence that the program provides benefits beyond energy savings. Improved indoor air quality and appropriate ventilation strategies lead to healthier living conditions in weatherized homes. These healthier living conditions often lead to reduced asthma triggers and fewer doctor visits.

Eligibility is based on household income and if the home’s current condition is weatherization ready.

Anyone interested in applying for the Weatherization Assistance Program can contact their local provider.

More information about home energy savings can be found by visiting websites that cover:

Air Sealing your home.
Fall and winter Energy Saving Tips from Energy.gov.
Energy Efficiency Tips from Consumers Energy.
The Energy Saver Guide from Energy.gov.
Twenty-five Quick and Easy Energy Saving Tips from Direct Energy.
Energy Efficiency Tips for Renters and Homeowners from Energy.gov.

Training for those working in the Weatherization Assistance Program is provided by the Michigan Training and Education Center. For more information about the training, visit www.MichiganTEC.org.

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