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Trump now says he misspoke as he stood side by side with Putin. Also on the Wednesday rundown: a Senate committee looks to weaken the Endangered Species Act; and public input is being sought on Great Lakes restoration.

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Weatherization: Taking Action on Energy in Ohio

About 300 homes have already received energy-efficiency improvements as part of Weatherize Nelsonville. (COAD)
About 300 homes have already received energy-efficiency improvements as part of Weatherize Nelsonville. (COAD)
October 3, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Some 340,000 Ohio households owe about $1,700 more in annual energy costs than they can afford, according to federal data on home-energy affordability gaps.

During Energy Action Month in October, community organizations are educating Ohioans about Ohio's Home Weatherization Assistance program, and how it can take a chunk out of energy bills - over 20 percent, in some cases.

Nicole Peoples, utility programs manager at the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD), said they've weatherized more than 100,000 homes since 1975.

"Ohio's weatherization program has probably been the most successful in the country," said Peoples. "Our job is huge and immense, and we need to continue a grassroots effort to weatherize all the homes that are in need across our state."

The program offers weatherization services to eligible low-income home owners and renters. Besides reducing energy costs, Peoples says weatherization also makes homes more comfortable and reduces energy consumption.

During one event coming up Oct. 31, folks can watch a crew weatherize a home as part of "Weatherize Nelsonville," a project that has provided energy-efficiency upgrades to about 300 structures.

Tom Calhoun, COAD's housing programs manager, said to reach more households, they are working with the faith community to spread the word.

"When we go into a church and we say, 'Let's make your church building more energy efficient,' it's a natural step for the congregation to say, 'Well what about our own homes, what about where we live?' And then, they start having some positive experiences," he explained.

Peoples noted that utilities have continued to support home weatherization, despite state leaders putting energy-efficiency requirements on hold in 2014.

"They had frozen our energy standards," she said, "and the utilities have decided to keep participating in their demand-side energy-efficiency programs, especially at the low-income level."

The freeze is set to expire at the end of the year, and lawmakers are debating revamping the renewable-energy requirements for electric utilities.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH