CEO services 60-70 houses a year through our Weatherization Assistance Program. Our team is honored to help customers throughout Rensselaer County lower their energy bills and keep their homes warmer and more energy efficient. There are a few common questions that come up during the process that we took a minute to answer below.
What is the Weatherization Assistance Program?
Weatherization Assistance Program is an energy savings program that assists the low-income residents of Rensselaer County. The goal is to save the customer money in home energy costs through repairs and upgrades that may include adding insulation in the walls or attic, air sealing opportunities, appliance upgrades, LED light bulb replacement, and more.
What is the process like?
The full Weatherization Program process has five steps.
A customer will start the application process. CEO must verify income to make sure that an applicant qualifies for the weatherization program guidelines, then we ask for proof of ownership, or other documentation if it is a rental, including energy bills.
The program follows the New York State Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) guidelines. If a customer receives other support like SNAP Nutritional Assistance (Food Stamps), HEAP, TANF(Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) or Supplemental Security Income, a customer will automatically qualify. Otherwise, customers that have a household income of less than 60% of the state median income or 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline will qualify.
Once a customer is eligible to receive services, CEO schedules an energy audit. The auditor comes out to the home and does a full evaluation. The auditor will perform a visual check of the home to identify areas of concern, like broken windows or holes in the walls. Next, they will use a “blower door” device to pull air through the entire building. This helps our team to measure the air leakage of the home and where the heat is escaping.
The goal throughout the process is to lower energy costs, and the auditor keeps that goal at the forefront when auditing the home.
In addition to lower energy bills, CEO also address health and safety issues such as indoor air quality, which can look like fixing fans in the bathroom or kitchen or addressing moisture issues in the home.
Once the energy audit is complete, the weatherization team uses the data collected to create a work scope for the home. That work scope will outline the plan for what CEO can perform to lower energy costs for the customer.
When possible, CEO partners the EmPower NY program in addition to Weatherization grant to increase the amount of total impact of the project and help do everything possible to assist the home. The custom work scope for the home will likely include some of the following:
- Adding or improving insulation in walls, attics, and crawl spaces
- Adding weather-stripping on doors and windows
- Caulking around openings
- Patching holes in walls or windows
- Testing, cleaning, repairing or possibly even upgrading heating systems
- Appliance or light bulb upgrades
Our goal is to get the most for the customer between the two funding sources, EmPower NY and Weatherization. Once the scope is finalized, it’s sent on to the customer for approval.
Upon approval from the customer, CEO schedules the work, and puts the project on the calendar. CEO utilizes a combination of our own weatherization team and subcontractors depending on the schedule and other project needs.
Once the project start date gets closer, the crew chief meets with the homeowner to go over the work scope on site and to go over any questions they might have. The crew chief lets the customer know how the project will be executed and what the impact will be during the work.
The team gets to work executing the work scope. Once the work is completed, the team conducts a Quality Control Inspection (QCI) to make sure everything was done correctly and according to the scope to improve the efficiency of the home.
Upon inspection being complete, the customer signs off on the job, and looks forward to lower energy costs in the coming months!
In 10% of all projects, representatives from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, CEO’s funding source, do an additional inspection CEO’s to ensure quality of the work completed in the customer’s home.
What are some common misconceptions about the program? Or things folks should know?
- We don’t put liens on the homes.
- The homeowners must not sell the home within a year of completion of project.
- We don’t always replace windows and doors. A small percentage of projects require window or door replacement, but many do not.
- The Weatherization Assistance Program is a process on par with any construction project, it is not an emergency service.
- There is a waitlist for the program, and the team works their way through the list on a first come first serve basis.
- Rented properties can also be eligible with landlord approval.