Throughout the nation the Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) has run into hard times due to a large decrease in federal funding. In Ohio HWAP is still alive and well, thanks in large part to effective use of remaining available funds and a productive partnership between agencies, utilities, and industry. Nowhere is that responsible fiscal management and private sector partnership more evident than in the 30-county southeastern Ohio area served by the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD) and the 17 community action agencies that form the COAD consortium. CIMA members often work to support COAD projects.
To bring the HWAP program and its benefits to the attention of communities and government officials COAD holds regular “open house demonstrations” at homes that have been weatherized under HWAP. The most recent COAD open house was on May 20 when Ms. Lorene Plybon welcomed a large group of guests into her home near the Ohio River community of Chesapeake. Ms. Plybon’s 50-year-old home was weatherized by the Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization, a COAD consortium member.
Ryan Smith, who represents the 93rd House District in the Ohio Legislature, was special guest. Also in attendance was Jack Laverty, Columbia Gas of Ohio, who received an award from COAD Executive Director Ron Rees for Columbia Gas support of home energy efficiency through the company’s WarmChoice Program.
After remarks by D.R. Gossett, executive director of the Ironton-Lawrence County CAO, Mr. Rees, and Rep. Smith, Tom Calhoun, who directs COAD’s weatherization programs, invited all guests to tour the home to see the energy efficiency improvements and the testing procedures that were used.
The Ironton-Lawrence County CAO HWAP has been operating since 1978, when the U.S. Department of Energy began to focus on home energy conservation as part of the nation’s conservation strategy. Each house undergoes an initial inspection to determine what is needed to make the structure energy-efficient. HWAP services include:
- Attic, wall, and basement insulation
- Blower door guided air leakage testing
- Heating system repairs or replacements
- Health and safety inspections and testing
- Electric baseload measures to assess lighting and appliance efficiency
CIMA and CIMA members have been actively involved with weatherization programs and community action agencies for many years. The association has had displays and sponsored insulation installation demonstrations at the biannual National Weatherization Training Conference, and has served as liaison between weatherization agencies and cellulose insulation suppliers. Blowing machines from CIMA members Krendl Machine and Intec, and bags of insulation from Advanced Fiber Technology, were on display in the two CAO home weatherization service trucks parked at the demonstration home.
CIMA continues to support legislation relating to WAP and to champion weatherization funding bills. WAP is the kind of stimulus worth sponsoring by federal and state governments. Weatherizing the aging U.S. housing stock is good for the economy and the environment.