West Virginia Senior Praises the LIHEAP –Weatherization Combo
Writing and reporting by Jake Brown
Long conceptual bedfellows and literal lifesavers, the reliability and proven results of an energy assistance program that utilizes both a short term – LIHEAP – and longer term – Weatherization Assistance (WAP) – solution plan on any single dwelling or broader community, say in the instance of an apartment community where all units are involved, have proven time and again to be a powerful combination with permanent relief for affected households.
Statistically borne out time and again, according to the American Counsel for an Energy Efficient Economy , this one-two combination in the battle against higher energy bills has produced dividends in savings and statistics that show its effectiveness is hard to argue with by the numbers: from the average $4200 life-time savings from weatherizing a home, $820 million/year in energy savings for the combined homes benefited, and in 2018, nearly 2.5 million homes nationwide that wouldn’t have been weatherized without the existence of programs like WAP. 1
West Virginia senior Brenda Kelsor highlighted the extra benefit of the healthier home she lives in now thanks to the Weatherization and LIHEAP assistance she receives, explaining that living in a trailer without air conditioning and a combination of Bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, translated to a perfect storm where “its hard to breath, if its too hot or too cold.” Her review of her home life and health improved dramatically after her trailer was weatherized with LIHEAP funds, where after living in her newly weatherized home, she remarked “oh my God, it feels good in here,” confirming that “this is going to help.” 2
Echoing Mrs. Kelsor, The National Association For State Community Service Programs confirms after extensive research that “for decades, LIHEAP has worked alongside the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) to reduce the energy burden for low-income, vulnerable families. Managed by the Department of Energy, WAP focuses on installing energy conservation measures in low-income homes, such as insulation, duct sealing, efficient light bulbs, furnace repair or replacement, and more. According to an evaluation by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, these services save a low-income family at least $283 a year and reduce heating bills by 30% on average.” 3