Our region is subject to some pretty extreme seasonal climate changes. Winters can get very cold and summers are extremely hot, well over 100 degrees for multiple days on end. When you are living in a home with outdated appliances, bad insulation, single pane windows and air gaps around doors, the outside elements come right inside. More than just being uncomfortable, these issues can create health risks for residents. Water leaking in during the winter can cause mold and air quality issues, and sustained heat over 100 degrees for long periods of time can be dangerous for infants and the elderly.
Here's What CAA Does to Help
Our Environment & Energy Services program manages projects in the community to improve the quality of life for people that are struggling with these issues and may not have the available income to pay for all the work themselves. This program is coordinated with efforts by PG&E to save energy and reduce costs for low income families. Reducing energy costs means these families have more money for food, medicine, transportation and other essentials. On average low income families spend 16.3% of their total income on energy costs. That's a huge part of the family budget. Here's a little more about our approach:
- Our Weatherization professionals take the “whole house weatherization” approach that analyzes all of the building systems – the building envelope, heating and cooling systems, electrical system, and electric baseload appliances – though the completion of an energy audit.
- Another distinguishing feature of our program is the attention to the overall health and safety of the customers being served. Many dwellings receiving attention are old and in need of repair. Our teams check the building envelope and major energy systems to ensure there are no safety concerns for the occupants before installing any energy efficiency measures.
- Two key principles guide the installation of measures: cost effectiveness measure by the savings-to-investment ratio (SIR) – the amount of energy savings versus the cost to install a measure – and the availability of health and safety funds. Through Weatherization improvements and upgrades, households save on average $283 or more every year.
The Weatherization Program in Action
Stacy Ann Lee of Oroville has a variety of issues with her home the she alone does not have the resources to fix. She had known about the weatherization program for a while but was unable to utilize the program because the house had been in her parents name until recently. Once she move the home loan and the PG&E accounts under her name, she was eligible for the program and we could assess her needs. Here's what we found:
Poor insulation; it's hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
Her appliances are old and inefficient.
There are plumbing and electrical issues.
The exterior doors have gaps.
Windows are broken and need replacing.
She has leaks causing mold in her home.
There are light switches that are no longer working.
The oven doesn't work at all because the heat plate went out.
Her water heater doesn't work well and hot water runs out quickly.
To put it briefly, she could really use some help...
What Did We Do?
We installed new exterior doors with new locks for Stacy. We replaced her windows. We got new lighting fixtures for her, replaced light bulbs with high efficiency ones, put in a new microwave, and we're seeing what we can do to fix or replace her oven. These measures will significantly reduce Stacy's energy costs and keep her family more comfortable in the hot summer days that are just around the corner. Stacy was also excited that the mold would be gone and she can have her son, who has asthma, over to visit again. The mold was a huge concern and Stacy had worried that her granddaughter might also develop asthma if the mold situation continued.
Stacy enjoyed working with the CAA staff and the Weatherization team and said that she would not have been able to do all of this without them. These are projects and costs that she would have to spread out over years, but with our help she can benefit from all these upgrades at once! We are so proud to know that we have helped to keep Stacy and her family healthy and happy.
Want to Learn More?
The Environment & Energy Services organization offers two major programs: the PG&E Energy Savings Assistance Program, and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. By providing a variety of services at no charge to Butte County residents who meet the program income guidelines, this organization lessens the financial burden placed on families in our community while protecting and improving the environment!
This download includes the following:
- Breakdown of the how the program works
- Information on how, where, and when you can help!
Please join us in giving back to the local community by offering support to those who need it most.