50,000th Home Weatherized

Whew! It's taken 22 years to weatherize 50,000 homes of low-income Nebraskans. That's about the five times the number of homes in Fremont.

The state's weatherization program reached this milestone last December: a home in Trenton became the 50,000th home weatherized in Nebraska since the first home received free weatherization services in 1978.

Typically the types of weatherization improvements made in the homes include wall and attic insulation and checking the energy efficiency and safety of furnaces, stoves and water heaters.



Eligibility for the free home improvements is limited to households with incomes at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level. Households containing a member receiving either Aid to Dependent Children or Supplemental Security Income are automatically eligible.

Household Size

Maximum Income

1

$10,438

2

$14,063

3

$17,688

4

$21,313

5

$24,938

6

$28,563

7

$32,188

8

$35,813

Each Additional Member Add $ 3,625

The Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program was created by Congress in response to the energy crises of the 1970s to help needy Americans reduce energy use. In the first few years, about $400 were spent on each home. Back then, temporary improvements such as plastic storm windows, weather-stripping and caulking were installed by volunteer labor.

Today's professional staff use sophisticated energy audit tools and diagnostic equipment to determine which cost-effective improvements should be installed to achieve the greatest energy savings and cost payback. The cost of improving each home has also increased. Now, about $2,000 is spent on each home, including the cost of the labor.

According to the Energy Office, energy use after home weatherization typically declines by 20 percent. And the savings accrue for 15 to 20 years or more.   "The $3.42 million spent in 1986 to improve energy use in 2,122 homes have resulted in an estimated $4.51 million in savings so far," Pete Davis of the Energy Office said.

Back to Trenton

The home in Trenton in southwestern Nebraska was typical of weatherization projects. This elderly-occupied, site-built home received R-38 attic ceiling insulation, R-11 wall insulation, R-19 box sill/band joist insulation, blower door guided air sealing and a safety inspection on all combustion appliances. Work on the home was done by Mid Nebraska Community Services headquartered in Kearney.

Trenton

Weatherization services are offered in all 93 counties. The Energy Office contracts with nine, non-profit community-based organizations, primarily community action agencies, to provide these services across the state.

The federal Departments of Energy and Health and Human Services, through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, provide most of the funding. The Energy Office expects to have $2.745 million for improving more than 1,300 homes in 2000,

For more information about free home weatherization, contact your local community action agency, or contact Pete Davis in the Energy Office, email at pdavis@mail.state.ne.us

Return to the Spring 2000 Newsletter