It is that time of the year when the temperatures start to fall and families start thinking about what they can do to keep their homes warm and comfortable, and their energy bills affordable for the upcoming winter season.
“We’re getting into winter and some people will be struggling to pay their bills,” says Richard Fennessy, president of Hermann’s Ministerial Alliance and board member of Missouri Ozarks Community Action (MOCA).
That’s why Mr. Fennessy wants residents in-need to know about a winterization program called the Weatherization Program (WAP) that is administered by Missouri Ozarks Community Action, Inc. (MOCA).
This is a year round program that reduces energy costs for low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes, while ensuring their health and safety.
The Weatherization staff use computerized energy assessments and advanced diagnostic equipment, such as blower doors, manometers, and infrared cameras, to create a comprehensive analysis of the home to determine the most cost effective measures appropriate and to identify any health and safety concerns. Low-income households carry a larger burden for energy costs, typically spending 16.3% of their total annual income versus 3.5% for other households.
Weatherization helps alleviate this heavy energy burden through cost-effective building-shell improvements such as insulation and air sealing, heating, ventilation, and lighting issues. On average, homes that have been weatherized will save $283.00 annually. For every $1 invested in Weatherization, approximately $1.72 is generated in energy benefits back to the clients.
Mr. Fennessy says this weatherization program is for renters as well. In this case, the renter will still apply for the program, but the landlord will be required to sign an agreement that they will not raise the rent for two years, or cannot evict the tenant without just cause. The landlord/homeowner is encouraged to contribute to the Weatherization of the home, but it is not required.
“It improves the value of the house,” says Mr. Fennessy. “Most renters will pay the utility bill, before they pay the rent, so it is in the best interest of the landlord to help out.”
The Weatherization Assistance Program is funded by U.S. Department of Energy, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’, Division of Energy, the Missouri Department of Social Services, and Ameren Missouri Electric and Gas.. Missouri Ozarks Community Action, Inc. (MOCA) serves Camden, Crawford, Gasconade, Laclede, Maries, Miller, Phelps and Pulaski County. For more information, call MOCA at 800-876-3263 to request an application or go to www.mocaonling.org and download an application.