By Mark S. Kenna
Oct. 25, 2013. Turning 50 years old next year, W.A.M.Y Community Action Inc., a private 501-c3 nonprofit organization created to alleviate the causes and effects of poverty by helping people help themselves, moves to push awareness about weatherization during the month of October by advocating to local community members, public officials, and legislators of the importance of continuous funding for the program.
The Weatherization Assistance Program is just one of the ways W.A.M.Y helps the people of Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties.
W.A.M.Y uses professionally trained crews to conduct computerized energy audits and advanced diagnostic equipment to identify energy-saving strategies in single-family, multi-family, and mobile homes.
Cost-effective weatherization measures and those that are essential for health and safety are then performed, including, but not limited to, installation of insulation, furnace and boiler retrofits and cooling measures for warm climates. All households that are at or under 200% of the poverty guidelines qualify to be assessed for services.
“This is one of the only programs that is so inclusively operating under the poverty line, so a lot of people qualify who think they wouldn’t,” Andy Bryant, weatherization coordinator for W.A.M.Y said.
Since the creation of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program in 1976, more than seven million households have experienced energy efficiency, financial, health and safety gains as a result of weatherization measures.
These services have helped the elderly, persons with disabilities, households with children and low-income households that are 200 percent of poverty guidelines.
The Weatherization program got a burst in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2009 that awarded North Carolina with $131.9 million for weatherizing homes. However the ARRA is scheduled to end soon, which will cut the average amount of homes W.A.M.Y has been able to service in half.
“We’re slated to do 44 homes this year, but our goal is to complete 50,” Bryant said.
W.A.M.Y raises awareness for their programs through radio advertisements, public service announcements, fliers, disseminating information at food banks and shelters, visiting senior centers and by holding national awareness days.
On National Weatherization Day, October 30, 2013, W.A.M.Y will be teaming up with Carolina Barbeque for a free barbeque awareness-raiser at their Avery office at 723 Cranberry St. Newland. Donations will be accepted, but are not expected.
If you or someone who know needs assistance and qualifies for W.A.M.Y’s services, the organization can be contacted at the Boone offices off of 225 Birch St., suite 2, at 828-264-2421 or go online to their website to download the application and check the program’s income guidelines.
-Weatherization reduces the nation’s dependence on foreign oil imports and plays an important role in the nation’s energy security. Weatherization reduces national energy demand by the equivalent of 24.1 million barrels of oil each year.
-WAMY successfully weatherized 443 homes during the ARRA period.
-It was also one of the few programs in the State to be awarded funding to continue to the very end of the recovery period.
-During the ARRA period, WAMY was able to offset 1174 metric tons per year of carbon monoxide and 23,479 metric ton per year of CO2 emissions.
-Nationally, the Weatherization Assistance Program on average saves $437 or more in annual utility bill savings year after year
-After-weatherization energy savings average 35% of consumption for the typical low- income home.
-Below is a chart of the house holds completed over the ARRA period: