October is National Energy Awareness Month, which serves to underscore how critical energy is to our prosperity, security, and environmental well-being. Throughout the month of October, TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs will highlight a variety of case studies and tips to promote energy conservation, resiliency, and smart energy management. Through these efforts, we rededicate ourselves to a more conscious use of energy, so that we can continue to strive for a cleaner, stronger, and more secure future.
Everyone can benefit from reduced energy costs achieved through energy efficiency. However, for low- to moderate- income households, the cost savings can have a pretty significant impact on a household’s overall budget. For example, a 2008 report found that while the average U.S. household spends 4% of income on home energy costs, low-income families spend 17% of their annual income on energy expenditures. For these families, cost savings from energy efficiency can mean the difference between going into debt (or choosing what to forgo for the month) and being able to pay for investments like education.
In March of 2014, TDEC entered into a grant contract with the City of Bristol’s Department of Economic and Community Development to design, develop and deliver the Energy Efficiency Assistance Program (EEAP), a grant initiative to provide qualifying low- to moderate-income homeowners with a free in-home energy evaluation, a customized implementation plan by the local utility, Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES), and up to $20,000 in financial assistance to install recommended energy efficiency upgrades.
EEAP was funded by a Clean Air Act settlement agreement between King Pharmaceuticals, LLC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and TDEC.
With a goal of customer-focused service, Bristol Community Development Specialist Donna Malone, TDEC OEP’s Angela McGee, and TDEC OSP’s Jan Compton collaborated to ensure that a total of 47 homes were upgraded by the close of the program on June 30, 2016. Under this program, a total of 442 windows, 84 doors, 21 refrigerators, and 8 carbon monoxide detectors were replaced. Electrical upgrades were completed on 24 homes, and 43 homes received new insulation. HVAC upgrades were completed on 30 homes. Of these 30 homes, 25 were using kerosene heaters and/or burning wood either because their HVAC had stopped working or did not function properly.
Residents provided feedback both during and after the contract work at each home. The two primary contractors, Associated Builders and Redpoint LLC, received high accolades for their work, customer service, professionalism, and dependability from all homeowners participating in the program.
For more information on EEAP and its accomplishments, please contact Angela McGee at Angela.McGee@tn.gov.