Locals eligible for grants to make homes energy efficient

Published 2:37 am Saturday, April 13, 2019

Low-income and elderly residents of Covington County are among those who qualify for $1.9 million grant funds for home improvements that lower energy costs.

The grants support the state’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which supplies funds to improve the energy efficiency and safety of qualifying homes. People with disabilities, the elderly and low-income households with children are given priority access to these services.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Organized Community Action Program (OCAP) that serves Covington, Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Coffee, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lowndes and Pike counties, received an allocation of $175,206.

OCAP director Liz Seay said that several residents in Covington County benefit from this program and several more need to take advantage of the opportunity.

“It is really a great program,” Seay said. “We had somebody that came in and filled out an application and they had everything done to their house and their electricity was cut in half. It provided insulation in her house and it greatly improved her energy bill.”

Common improvements include installing extra insulation in the attic, walls and floor; sealing air leaks around doors and windows; repairs or tune-ups for air conditioning and heating units; and replacing incandescent light bulbs with high-efficiency bulbs. Along with lowering energy costs, these improvements can reduce the risk of fire and other hazards.

Seay said that anyone who walks in and asks for an application could apply for the program.

“Anyone can apply for the program,” Seay said. “But if you are elderly or on disability, you get points on your application.”

“Elderly and disabled Alabama residents who are living on limited incomes can struggle to pay higher utility bills in the warmer months,” Ivey said. “These grants will go toward lowering the energy bills for many of them by making upgrades to keep their houses cool during the summer months.”

Each home that qualifies for weatherization assistance will undergo an energy audit to determine what cost-effective improvements can be made to make the home safer and save on energy costs.

“Annette Shephard, the manager of the weatherization program in Troy, is the one that will come and do the energy audit,” Seay said. “People need to be on top of their application to make sure that they get everything done in a timely manner.”