Published October 1, 2021
It’s that time of the year again, Energy Awareness Month. CUB has been waiting all year to celebrate! Last year we encouraged people to think about issues of access and equity when it comes to energy. This year we want to focus on the importance of weatherization and its long-term benefits to households and communities.
Weatherization services can permanently reduce energy bills and energy consumption as well as optimize energy efficiency. Because each home is unique, starting with an energy audit can be a good first step towards understanding which home improvements can make your energy bills more affordable and your home more comfortable.
Whether these improvements include added insulation, replacing a major mechanical system, or sealing air leaks, paying for them can be a financial burden to some households. The good news is that there are various financing options available. If you are income-qualified, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and certain utility programs provide free home energy upgrades for renters and homeowners.
Potential energy upgrades include:
- Exterior wall and attic insulation
- Air leakage reduction
- Furnace, boiler, and water heater repair or replacement
- Ideas to help you reduce your home’s energy use, such as using a programmable thermostat
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The federal Weatherization Assistance Program gives priority to households with elderly or disabled members, households with children under age 19, and households determined to be high energy consumers. Households can obtain an application by contacting their local service provider or by accessing it online. To receive assistance with finding your local service provider, contact the Commerce Energy Information Center at 1-800-657-3710 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also encourage you to reach out to your utility to see what types of energy efficiency programs are offered and whether you qualify for income-based utility programs. Depending on the utility, income-based programs may work in conjunction with the federal Weatherization Assistance Program or may be implemented separately.
Energy Awareness Month is a great time to highlight energy issues important to Minnesotans, but for CUB it’s really a year-long effort. We invite you to engage in these topics during Energy Awareness Month and beyond and hope you will join us in our efforts to ensure all Minnesotans have equal access to clean, affordable energy. Visit our website to attend an energy related educational event and sign up for a free 30-minute virtual energy bill consultation.