According to Fran Forman, Executive Director of CAC, “Weatherization has made a big difference in the lives of so many families here in Santa Barbara County. The families benefit from safer, warmer homes and weatherization lowers utility bills.”
The Recovery Act provided $5 billion nationally to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) weatherization program, of which California’s Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) was awarded $185.8 million. Community Action Commission was awarded $1.8 million and weatherized 958 low-income homes of the total 59,066 low-income homes weatherized in the state.
Weatherization is a long-term solution to reduce the high energy burden faced by low-income families, who can pay significantly higher portions of their income on residential energy costs. Reducing these energy costs for these families means they can live more comfortably in their homes, while making more of their income available for other necessary expenses such as food or medicine.
Studies show that lower income households spend significantly more of their total income on their energy bills than other households. An Oak Ridge Nation Laboratory study found lower income households can spend over four times more in relation to household total income.
Weatherization includes installing energy efficiency upgrades to a home such as adding insulation, sealing ducts, and installing more efficient appliances, windows, doors, and heating and cooling systems. On average, weatherization reduces energy consumption for low-income families by up to 35 percent, saving families more than $400 on their heating and cooling bills in the first year.