December 6, 2022

Department of Energy program aims to make low-income Hoosier homes more energy efficient

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An energy bill from Indianapolis Power & Light, now known as AES Indiana. The U.S. Department of Energy’s weatherization program provides energy assessments for qualifying Hoosiers to ensure their homes are utilizing energy properly. - Lauren Chapman
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IPB News

An energy bill from Indianapolis Power & Light, now known as AES Indiana. The U.S. Department of Energy’s weatherization program provides energy assessments for qualifying Hoosiers to ensure their homes are utilizing energy properly.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The U.S. Department of Energy’s weatherization program provides energy assessments for qualifying Hoosiers to ensure their homes are utilizing energy properly. The program is intended for low-income families and gives priority to families with children, those with disabilities and older Hoosiers.

Christin Willman is the weatherization training team leader for the Indiana Community Action Association, the association for all community action agencies in Indiana.

“What weatherization is, is going into existing manufactured housing, single-family homes and multifamily housing, and we figure out what deficits the home has related to energy,” she said.

Willman said the main focus of the assessment are things like insulation, air sealing and HVAC equipment.

The program also looks at outdated or inefficient heating and cooling equipment. During the process, Willman said the health and safety of people living in the home are a big priority.

“When we go into the home, we're making sure that we're not exacerbating any potential, building durability issues or health issues that a person might have,” she said.

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This may include properly handling lead-based paint by not disturbing it, which could lead to lead poisoning. This may also include taking care of mold issues before or during weatherization. In either situation, the program may also walk away if these issues are beyond their funding for these problems.

To sign up for the program, there are several options.

“The client could reach out to the community action agency in their county and they can directly enroll or see if they qualify for energy assistance through the agency,” Willman said. “And if a person qualifies for energy assistance, then they automatically qualify for weatherization as well.”

Hoosiers can also sign up on the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority website.

To qualify for the Energy Assistance Program, households must make 60 percent of the state median income or less. For further questions, individuals can contact the intake site in their county. 

Contact reporter Violet at vcomberwilen@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.

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