IOWA CITY– Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity will audit and retrofit up to 60 homes to improve energy efficiency in Cedar, Iowa, and Johnson counties over the next two years. The local non-profit agency will receive $74,000 in funding from the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Innovation Pilot Program and will seek matching contributions from community organizations, private foundations, individual donors and volunteers.
“Residences consume more energy than any other use in our society, more than cars, more than factories, more than commercial buildings,” said executive director Mark Patton. “Improving energy efficiency has now become a national security matter. By burning less oil, coal or natural gas we reduce U.S. dependence on foreign sources. Ultimately, helping families save money on their heating and cooling bills is good for them and good for the nation.”
Benefits of the weatherization program for qualifying homeowners may include a replacement refrigerator for units older than 10 years, indoor air quality testing for ventilation issues and carbon monoxide levels, as well as energy bill reductions up to or above 25 percent.
To qualify, applicants must own their home and make less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. A family of four would qualify with less than $44,700 annual income. For each approved homeowner application, an initial inspection by certified energy auditors will diagnose the home’s performance, and then volunteers trained as weatherization technicians will install measures to improve health, safety and energy efficiency. A final audit will verify that the work was effective.
“Our audits are not one-dimensional. We look at the whole house system– from appliances, to building design, to energy usage habits,” said weatherization manager Christy Shipley. “The work is sustainable, and both homeowners and local communities will see results for many years to come.”