It has been another busy year for our home weatherization program. We are now working in 10 of the 12 Hopi villages - last year we were primarily working in just one – and are now accepting applications from Navajos. For 2018 we have already substantially weatherized 38 homes and recently received a $100,000 extension to our contract that will help more families get ready for the coming winter and keep our local 2-person crew employed.
One the great benefits of home weatherization is the impact it has on improving the comfort of the indoor living environment, which includes making homes cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. A well weatherized home requires less heating and cooling, which in the case of many Hopi and Navajo households means a reduction in the use of coal burning during winter months. Less coal burning can result in cleaner air quality, both indoor and outdoor, which can reduce wide-spread respiratory ailments.
Additionally, more efficient homes also have lower energy costs, which are often a crippling financial burden for many low-income households. In fact, low-income U.S. households spend 7.2 % of their income on utilities bills, which is more than two times that of median income households (3.5%) and three time greater than higher income households (2.3%). This results in families having to make difficult decisions, such as sacrificing food quality and medical care over keeping their home warm or lights on. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that after weatherization, families have homes that are “more livable, resulting in fewer missed days of work and decreased out-of-pocket medical expenses by an average of $514 (per year).” Additionally, at each house we visit, we spend time educating family members not only about ways they can further reduce their energy bills, but also about the connection between their health and their home environment-covering a variety of topics from mold and lead paint to pest management.
Special thanks to APS for funding this home weatherization program as well as funding our DIY Home Weatherization and Women’s DIY Home Repair workshops that we will be delivering this fall.