Vermont sets major goal for weatherizing homes
It took all I had not to turn and inch my way down the ladder. The attic was approaching 120 degrees. My covering consisted of a Tyvek suit tied at the ankles with foot coverings, gloves, mask and a headlamp. It was a small attic with a low ceiling. Heather and Kevin were blowing insulation. They had already applied a line of foam sealing. I was determined to stay in the stifling heat and carefully walked on the planks so as not to go through the ceiling. It was an experience of 15 minutes that will be long remembered. They were saving the world one house at a time.
They come in one by one in the early morning hours. With the sound of metal against metal the rear truck doors are opened and the day’s work is organized. Generators, insulation, foam, wall board, fire detectors and fans are loaded on the truck and the crew, men and women, are dispatched north and south to “Save the world one house at a time.”
Vermont is ranked 51 in energy affordability and has the second oldest housing stock in the nation with 46 percent of units built before 1970.
The auditors were the second wave to come into the Weatherization Office. They can be compared to the early American scouts entering Vermont homes to assess energy efficiency. They attend to the long waiting list of homes to be weatherized. Tim Page meets with each family to demonstrate behavioral changes that support energy efficient homes. Page is CVOEO’s energy efficiency coach and an ambassador for the work of weatherization. The auditors employ high tech tools to test each section of the house. The blower door test is a foundational tool to check for air tightness and to set a baseline measure for energy savings. Infrared cameras are used to detect temperature changes in walls, roof and ductwork. They provide a map for additional insulation.
Senior citizens, persons with disabilities, families with young children, households below 60 percent of median income and those households with high energy use and with low incomes receive priority for CVOEO Weatherization. After qualifying there can be a two to four year wait for services.
After weatherization services there is an average savings of 150-230 gallons of oil per year. In 2014, low income weatherization activities prevented 3,028 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Vermont families enjoy warmer, safer and healthier homes after being weatherized.
The State of Vermont set a goal in 2007 to weatherize 20,000 low income homes by 2020. In January, 2016, we had 9,200 homes to go. Though it is an uphill climb, it is made easier to achieve knowing that it is CVOEO’s goal to “save the world one house at a time.”
Champlain Valley Weatherization Services are directed by Dwight DeCoster. Info: 802-891-9697 or www.cvoeo.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=dep_intro&dept_id=3.
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