UDMO’s Weatherization program is a low-income energy efficiency program. The purpose of the program is to make the homes of low-income families and individuals more energy efficient, reducing energy costs and increasing comfort for our clients. Priority is given to households with elderly or disabled residents or homes with young children present.
Weatherization program staff members conduct a health and safety inspection on every home that is weatherized. All combustion appliances (furnaces, water heaters, gas dryers and stoves) are checked for carbon monoxide, for proper venting of combustion gases, and for gas leaks. A staff member will also do a visual inspection of the electrical system, looking for loose or bare wires. Another health and safety concern is moisture problems in a home. When damp conditions are identified, we locate the origin of the moisture issue (attic or basement crawl space) and determine how to mitigate it.
Professionally trained technicians use advanced energy audits and diagnostic equipment, such as a blower door and infrared camera, to identify the most cost-effective, energy-saving measures for each home. Using the blower door to de-pressurize the house, a technician can use the infrared camera to see where air is getting in. Contracted crews then do weatherization work which may include adding insulation to attics, walls and crawl spaces, and “infiltration” work like caulking, sealing and weather-stripping doors.
During fiscal year 2014, a total of $1,614,870 was expended to weatherize 137 homes in UDMO’s 12-county service area. That averages out to approximately $11,624 per home.
Besides the obvious benefit of conserving energy, the Iowa Weatherization Program also provides other benefits to Iowa and its residents. The program results in millions of dollars of additional value added to the Iowa economy. The program also mitigates certain health and safety problems in the client’s homes, maintains affordable housing for low-income persons, reduces utility averages, and reduces environmental pollution.
The Weatherization program is funded by federal monies from the Department of Energy and funds from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Funding is also received from local energy utility contributions from Iowa’s major utility companies: Alliant, Mid-American Energy and Black Hills Energy. UDMO contracts with the Iowa Department of Human Rights to administer these funds.
According to the National Weatherization Assistance Program, Iowa ranks near the top in gas savings results in single-family homes,with a 26% savings per year.