Energy Efficient Homes for Heroes
The USGBC South Carolina Chapter would like to introduce our new community outreach program – Energy Efficient Homes for Heroes. In 2010, the USGBC SC embarked on a new Strategic Plan incorporating Weatherization as a main focus for Community Outreach. This Community outreach program is a collaborative effort among our chapter members, students, the general public, state and government officials, corporate supporters, foundations and volunteers.
The need for the Energy Efficient Homes for Heroes program is great. The South Carolina State office of Veterans’ Affairs estimates that there are currently 413,000 veterans in South Carolina, with additional Veterans re-locating daily to South Carolina due to its mild climate. The Veterans’ population will be increasing due to large numbers of enlisted service personnel returning from the current conflicts.
A large percentage of Veterans who have served our country and us currently live at the poverty level, and many live in the same home for decades. With the aging Veteran population, many are unable to undertake the necessary repairs to ensure energy efficiency in order to lower their monthly bills providing them with more money for monthly food and medication costs.
The USGBC SC Chapter’s Energy Efficient Homes for Heroes program is weatherizing and improving the energy efficiency of Veteran households, helping to reduce the economic burden of high energy bills and resulting in healthier, more efficient, comfortable homes. The first goal of this new USGBC SC community engagement program is to reduce the necessary energy used to heat or cool a home. The impact results in significant savings and decreases the energy demand in households where utilities can constitute as much as 30% or more of the homeowner’s monthly income. Energy education for the homeowners, volunteers and general public is the second goal of the program, thereby demonstrating the importance of energy efficiency and the impact of weatherization on the reduction of greenhouse gases in the environment and overall effect on future generations.
The Veterans targeted for this new outreach project are among the most underserved men and women and are being identified through partnerships with VA officers, VA hospitals and veteran civic groups, such as the American Legion.
If the project were not undertaken, low-income Veterans would not be able to live in healthy homes, and may find their incomes drained by the high costs of trying to heat and cool a non- energy efficient home.
For an application, please click here.
Project date – June 2, 2012
Location: Columbia, SC
US Green Building Council, South Carolina Chapter and the Veterans Affairs have teamed up to develop Energy Efficient Homes for Heroes program. This program identifies Veterans who are in need of lowering their homes energy cost. Energy Efficient Homes for Heroes has been funded through grants from the US Green Building Council, Chapter Innovation Grant and Wells Fargo so all work and materials are provided with no cost to the resident. We would like to extend a special thank you to Habitat for Humanity, Home Depot, Sustainability Institute, Efficiency First, EarthFare and TRANE for their time and contributions. US Green Building Council, South Carolina Chapter Energy Efficient Homes for Heroes is committed to saving resident’s money, improving the health and air quality of the home, and providing a lasting product that will have long term savings. The South Carolina Chapter, with representatives from numerous educational, governmental and private industries, strives to uphold and disseminate the goals of the U.S. Green Building Council, while working on a local level to educate the citizens of South Carolina about the benefits of green building and sustainable communities.
On June 2, 2012 the Midlands Branch of the US Green Building Council South Carolina Chapter with a group of eight volunteers spent their Saturday afternoon weatherizing James Whites home of off Faraway Drive. Mr. White was identified through the application process of the Energy Efficient Homes for Heroes program. Members of Efficiency First, LLC, a local home performance contractor, conducted a home energy audit prior to the volunteers coordinating and found several common household issues that were contributing to Mr. White’s high energy costs and comfort issues. Mr. White’s issues included HVAC ductwork that was leaking air, substantial drafts often referred to as “air leakage” in addition to low and often times missing insulation in both his crawlspace and attic.
Matt Ryan, a building technician for Efficiency First remarked, “Mr. White had a classic case of issues we see in existing homes that have high utility bills and poor comfort. Ducts that were leaking and pulling air from a crawlspace, fallen insulation in the crawlspace, and attic fan that had no cover (which happened to be by the thermostat) in addition to very little attic insulation”. He went on further by adding, “It’s always interesting to me how quickly some volunteers adapt to weatherization work as they begin to see the problems come to life. It’s not glamorous work at times, but we’re talking about a group of volunteers that cut the leakage in the ductwork by 30%, reduced air leakage by 10%, added and replaced missing insulation, and draft stopped the entire house in a day. It was pretty cool to see a group volunteers who just came to work and had almost everything done by lunchtime.” Mr. White’s appreciation was clearest as the group stood around to take a picture. In a time when veterans affairs is such a hot topic in our country its great to know that something as simple as chipping in on a neighbor’s home can make a lasting impact on someone’s life. Melissa Leroy, Executive Director of the USGBC SC, added “We are fortunate to have great sponsors that allow us to give back to our veterans who gave so much to secure our freedom.” For more information about this program and how you can help, please call 843-329-3131 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quick Facts about the White Residence:
– Reduced leakage in ducts by 30%. Adding about a quarter of a ton of air back into the HVAC system
– Complete maintenance check-up.
– Added R-19 insulation to bring attic up to R-30
– Material Costs less than $500.