Citizens hear about funds to conserve home energy
VINTON – Approximately two dozen people gathered at Living Waters Baptist Church of Vinton, located at 627 Vale Avenue, on Thursday May 12th to learn more about the weatherization programs now available to residents of the Midway Community.
Pastor Barney Arthur greeted most people at the door of the church, warmly inviting them in. Among those in the audience were Vinton Mayor Brad Grose, who briefly got up and spoke about how excited he was about the opportunity being given to the community, and Joyce Johnson who was attending on behalf of the office of Senator Mark Warner.
Rick Sheets, the project manager from TAP, then got up and addressed the crowd, telling them about the project for which $400,000 has been earmarked for this project in Vinton, “no strings attached.” The three main goals for the project are to reduce carbon emissions, provide more employment in the local community by offering jobs to local contractors, and save consumers money. An average of $6500 will be spent to weatherize the 30 – 35 homes in the Midway Community that meet the certain criteria to be eligible. Once the homes have been weatherized residents will be able to apply for the SERC program where an average of $12,000 will be spent per home installing innovative green technologies.
To qualify residents must own their homes, meet an income requirement, and agree to remain in their homes for one year after all work is completed. All eligible homes must be owner occupied as well.
Weatherizing the homes not only helps make them more energy efficient but also identifies and corrects potential health and safety issues such as moisture problems and exposure to carbon monoxide and lead. It also helps make the house more comfortable and more affordable. Among some of the green technologies that will be put into homes with the SERC project are items such as hybrid electric water heaters. Regular 50 gallon water heaters can cost $500 – $600 a year to use whereas a hybrid electric water heater costs closer to $140, which would provide homeowners several hundred dollars in savings a year.
Architect Alfred Chevalier explained in more detail how the different technologies worked and how the houses would be chosen for them. “For example, we may not see a lot of geothermal because of the room required to get the equipment in there” he said. Other determining factors will be house orientation on the land, the size of the family and what they can best use. If residents have preferences for certain technologies those will be taken into consideration as well.
For more information, or to see if you are eligible for the project, contact Liz Puckett at 977-8199.
-Story by Carrie E. Cox