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Weatherization Month Brings More than Warmth to Ohio

PHOTO: Weatherization workers. Courtesy Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development.
PHOTO: Weatherization workers. Courtesy Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development.
October 10, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - As Ohio celebrates Weatherization Month, an event in the southeast part of the state tells the story of the ways that weatherization can benefit communities.

The 100-year-old Martins Ferry home of widow Charlotte Campbell, 65, had no attic or wall insulation, wasn't airtight and had a heating system that needed extensive repair. The high utility bills had been a burden on Campbell's fixed income, but she says she was flattered when Belmont Community Action Agency said it would weatherize her home.

“They did a blower test on the door and found out that I was losing so much air in the house. So they brought a crew in and they did magic, honestly. I found out how much energy I was wasting.”

Using a whole-house approach, crews made the needed repairs to seal leaks, update the furnace and hot water heater and install insulation. Campbell says she was shocked at how quickly their work made a difference.

“The furnace was on 72, and we even turned it down to 70 and the heat just stayed in the house. It doesn’t escape like it usually does, because when the heat ran before, it really just went right out the door, or through the windows.”

Campbell says she’s extremely grateful and wishes the same kind of work could be done to all the homes in her area that need it. She hosted a Weatherization Open House demonstration on Tuesday to show other local residents, community leaders and lawmakers the ways that weatherization can make homes safer, more comfortable and energy-efficient for years to come.

Among those attending the open house was state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, who calls it “a great experience” to learn the intricacies of how a home is weatherized. He says he appreciates the skill and professionalism involved, as well as the cost savings to the homeowner.

“We need to have more investments in programs such as this weatherization program, particularly in southeast Ohio, where there’s a lot of older homes; there’s a lot of people at the poverty level who aren’t able to afford this.”

Gentile says it's an example to all policymakers of the value of investing in community development.

"There are goods and services; there’s workers that are working here. There are supplies and other materials that are going to be purchased in the community. That money stays locally.”

The Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income residents who lack the funds to invest in energy efficiency. Since it began in the late 1970s, more than 7 million homes have been weatherized.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH