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Weatherization Challenge: Retrofit an Entire City

October 20, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The challenge: weatherize an entire city; the target: a southeastern Ohio community. The village of Murray City in Hocking County has been selected for a pilot program designed to help local residents receive weatherization updates to their homes.

City Councilwoman Rebecca Johnson says more than 250 buildings will be retrofitted, including homes, churches and businesses.

"We've found unsafe homes, and we've found homes that are not energy efficient. So it's just an honor to be chosen to be a pilot program like this."

State Congressman Zack Space says the project is the first of its kind in the country. He says it's a model that will streamline the process of weatherization, compared to the traditional way of doing it on a household-by-household basis.

"It will be done more efficiently. It will help enhance workforce development, and if it works in a town like Murray City, then it can work not just in other small towns, but even in neighborhoods and big cities."

The project is being paid for with a variety of funding sources including American Electric Power, Columbia Gas and federal stimulus dollars. It's estimated that the weatherized homes will see a $300 to $400 reduction in annual utility bills.

Space adds investments in clean energy projects like Murray City weatherization are a smart move all around.

"It makes perfect sense to weatherize, and when you do that you're saving money -- you're putting somebody to work and it helps rid this nation of its reliance on foreign oil. It makes us much more energy secure and independent, and that's good for all of us."

October is weatherization month and Ohio's Weatherization Assistance Program has weatherized more than 340,000 homes since 1977.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH