Bringing Homeowners Warmth, Safety and Savings
Thursday, March 01, 2018
Taking steps to weatherize and increase the energy efficiency of a home can result in serious long-term savings. The average American homeowner that makes weatherization upgrades saves $300 per year in reduced utility costs.
Unfortunately, the upfront cost of completing such home improvements can be prohibitive for many homeowners. Thankfully, there is assistance available. GROW South Dakota has an income based program, funded by the federal government, to help people weatherize their homes. Weatherization provides cost-effective, permanent solutions for reducing the heavy energy burden families endure.
GROW South Dakota completes weatherization projects on approximately 30-40 homes each year. Applicants are placed on a waiting list based on a household priority score, which gives precedence to homes with elderly, children and disabled.
GROW South Dakota’s weatherization program has weatherized more than 7,200 homes in its 17-county service area in northeast South Dakota in the last 40 years.
GROW South Dakota has two certified auditors on staff that begin by conducting a comprehensive energy audit. They check to make sure furnaces are running properly and run combustion safety tests on appliances. The auditors check indoor air quality as well, making sure homes have proper ventilation and that carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are installed.
Once a home is assessed, crew members are tasked with completing energy efficient improvements. Weatherization Coordinator Kristin Hofland says the average cost for improvements is $5000. She gives an example of a client who recently complained of a drafty house with mold and moisture issues and a high heating bill.
“After an extensive evaluation,” Hofland says, “the program allowed for the installation of a bathroom exhaust fan to correct ventilation issues, and the crew sealed around the doors and windows and insulated the attic, walls, and foundation. They also installed CO/smoke alarms and installed energy efficient lighting.”
The program participant was thrilled with the results. “My house feels warmer. The windows are no longer steamed up or covered with frost and the bathroom no longer has mold issues after the installation of a bath fan. Weatherization was needed badly and greatly appreciated.”