500+ Homes to be Cheaper to Heat Next Winter

This spring, the state's Health and Human Services Department made $1.03 million from utility bill paying funds available for weatherization of the homes of needy Nebraskans. About 507 homes will be less costly to heat next winter after improvements are made in the houses.

Weatherization of homes in the state is provided by the Energy Office in cooperation with regional community action and other agencies. Weatherization crews typically install caulking, insulation, weatherstripping and make other types of energy saving home improvements.

The regional agencies receiving the funds and the estimated number of homes that will be weatherized in each area include:

Regional Agency Grant Amount Estimated homes Improved
Blue Valley Community Action, Inc., based in Fairbury $68,929 34
Central Nebraska Community Services, based in Loup City $138,271 68
Goldenrod Hills Community Services, based in Wisner $142,502 70
Lincoln Action Program, based in Lincoln $123,722 61
Mid-Nebraska Community Services, based in Kearney $162,830 80
Northwest Community Action, based in Chadron $37,147 19
Panhandle Community Services, based in Gering $52,213 26
Southeast Nebraska Community Action Council, based in Humboldt $63,563 31
Weatherization Trust, Inc., based in Omaha $242,697 118

In 1997, funds from the state's Health and Human Services Department weatherized nearly half the homes that year. The balance of funds for these improvements come from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Seven Years Big Gains

A recent evaluation of weatherization services in Nebraska found the typical home saved an average of 18.7 percent on energy used and reduced energy bills by $126 a year.

The survey, part of a national review, found significant improvements had been made in the past several years. The use of advanced diagnostic technologies such as computerized audits better pinpoint the most cost-effective improvements to make. These tools, in part, account for an 80 percent rise in average energy savings per household between 1989 and 1996.

Lower income households spend about 15 percent of their income for energy, more than four times that spent by higher income households. About one-third of the homes receiving the energy-saving improvements are occupied by elderly Nebraskans.

For more information about the Weatherization Assistance Program and the services provided, contact Pete Davis in the Energy Office.