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State government to weatherize 3 times as many low-income homes

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Dennis Schroeder
/
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Worker insulating an attic as part of weatherization of a home.

Over the next five to seven years, Michigan will weatherize three times as many homes of low-income families than it typically does.

The state is getting an additional $183 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand the weatherization program.

“And since we would be looking at an estimated tripling, we would be weatherizing about 3,900 homes a year,” said Maddy Kamalay, weatherization specialist for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Each household that’s eligible will get a whole home energy audit. Weatherization for each house differs upon what’s needed, but it often includes things like caulking and insulation to seal up the home.

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Lester Graham
/
Michigan Radio
Often older water heaters and heating systems are not efficient and are replaced.

“We’ll even do heating system repair or replacement if necessary. We do light bulb replacement, refrigerator replacement and address water heaters often,” Kamalay said.

It all reduces energy use and lowers utility bills.

Kamalay added that besides energy efficiency measures, the work ensures there’s proper airflow in the home, and carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are installed.

Low-income homeowners and renters are eligible. To learn if you’re eligible, you can go to michigan.gov/weatherization.

“So it doesn’t have to be owner occupied. We can do income qualified renters as well. And we also do single family site built homes, manufactured homes, and are now beginning multi-family weatherization as well,” Kamalay said.

With the workload tripling, the regional community action agencies across the state that administer the weatherization program will likely be looking for more contractors who are interested in doing the work.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
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