April 29, 2014. With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) signed into law in 2009, Weatherization Assistance Programs across the nation received $5 billion in additional funding to provide service to local communities. Funding by the Department of Energy (DOE), the Weatherization Assistance Program provides grants to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families. Since the program began in 1976, DOE has assisted in improving the lives of more than 7 million families by reducing their energy bill. While finding from the ARRA came to a close earlier this year, W.A.M.Y. Community Action Center provided service to 443 households during the ARRA period.
W.A.M.Y. proudly serves the High Country counties of Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey. Free weatherization services provided through W.A.M.Y. typically include but are not limited to installing insulation in walls, floors and attics; reducing air infiltration and pressure imbalances; sealing and HVAC ducts; and tuning and repairing heating and cooling units. Specifically, W.A.M.Y. uses computerized energy audits and advanced diagnostic equipment, such as the blower door, manometer, and infrared camera, to determine the most cost-effective measures appropriate for each home. W.A.M.Y. prides itself in contracting licensed and insured local businesses to assist in all weatherization measures.
As a result of the Weatherization Assistance Program, homeowners see an annual savings of roughly $400.00 nationally; however, residents that fall under the care of W.A.M.Y. often see annual savings that are potentially double the national savings average. Residents in the high-country often see greater energy savings due to common heating fuel usage in appliances such as oil, kerosene, and propane as well as condition of housing stock and weather.
Ruth Vannoy, of Watauga County recently partnered with the Weatherization program at W.A.M.Y. in hopes of having her residence weatherized. During the weatherization process, it was discovered that her propane heater was leaking dangerous carbon Monoxide into the home, which posed a threat to all residents in the house- pets included. With the assistance of W.A.M.Y., Vannoy received a new propane heater, along with various weatherization measures such as window replacement, additional insulation, air sealing, fresh air ventilation, installation of CFL light bulbs, and the wrapping of pipes and the water heater. With much thanks to W.A.M.Y, Vannoy, will benefit from the weatherization measures taken throughout future summer and winter months.
Celebrating 50 years in July, W.A.M.Y. is proud to serve the high-country. While weatherization measures reduce home energy consumption and lowers residential energy bills, it also plays a large role in healthy indoor air quality and energy education. The education address’s housing-related health and safety hazards and protects our communities and families- a goal W.A.M.Y. Community Action strives to achieve.
Interested in the W.A.M.Y. Community Action Weatherization Assistance Program? Now is the perfect time to apply! Applications are rolling! Visit www.wamycommunityaction.org OR call (828) 264-2421 to request an application for free services!