Energy. Efficiency. Weatherization. Solar. These are popular buzzwords in our world today. Most of us know the importance of being energy efficient, the benefit of going solar, and how weatherizing our homes can help reduce monthly costs – but not all of us can afford it.
The Environmental and Energy program works to reduce the costs of heating and air conditioning, allowing families to utilize their income more effectively. Simply stated, reducing energy costs means families have more money to spend on food, medicine and other essentials.
Since 1979, Community Action Agency (CAA) has provided services through home energy saving programs that are funded both federally and by utility companies. These services have helped families be more comfortable in their homes and save money by reducing their energy consumption.
Weatherization is the practice of protecting a building and its interior from the elements – think keeping cool in the summer and warm in the winter – and modifying a building to reduce energy use and optimize efficiency.
As part of the weatherization program, technicians perform energy audits on homes to determine which energy measures are most appropriate and cost effective for each home to reduce energy costs for low-income families.
Weatherization services include:
- Installing insulation
- Reducing air filtration
- Performing tune-ups, repairs or replacements of heating and cooling systems
- Replacing appliances to improve efficiency and safety
- Replacing incandescent lighting with compact fluorescent bulbs
- Door weather-stripping
- New windows and doors
- Low-flow showerheads
- Ceiling fans
These services may seem like common knowledge or everyday maintenance to the average homeowner, but they are often taken for granted. For low-income families who may not have the knowledge or resources, they can be truly life-altering.
“I just wanted to send a short note to say how very thankful I am to have received such wonderful services from your agency. I had no idea such programs existed until I received solid, tangible help in the form of a new heater, new windows, new doors, light bulbs and other things last week. Your workmen were friendly and professional and never complained about the heat, which got up to about 102 that day. And when the temperature goes down to about 35 degrees I will be grateful for the new heater since the previous one issues only cold air.
It felt like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one. I don’t know if I should thank you or PG&E or the state of California but let me tell you, this renews my faith in humanity and I will not forget it. In my opinion, all of you are doing God’s work.”
Another distinguishing feature of the weatherization 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.
Through weatherization improvements and upgrades, households save on average $283 or more every year.
Qualified households may also receive assistance in paying their utility costs. Program services include payments on electric, natural gas, wood, propane, and fuel oil expenses.
There are specific emergency services for clients who have received shut-off notices from their utility provider. We can also provide information about the PG&E CARE program which can help save up to 20% on your monthly PG&E bill.
The fact of the matter is, no one should have to choose between paying their energy costs or having enough food to eat.
If a family is struggling to make ends meet, the Environment and Energy programs are in place to help alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty by whatever means necessary in our community.
How You Can Help
While some of the funding for the energy programs comes from government funding, our goal is to continue to grow the program in the coming years. A big part of this includes raising funds from the local community to help increase the number of services we can provide to the populations in need.
If you’d like to donate or volunteer, please click here.