Campus News

$2.2 million grant to aid homeowners

$2.2 million grant to aid homeowners

Weatherization monitors and educators funded with federal stimulus money are making a difference in the lives of homeowners across Georgia, and an additional $2.2 million in stimulus funding will ensure that they’re able to continue their work.

The new funding, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will allow weatherization education and monitoring efforts to continue until at least 2012. The program is sponsored by the UGA Cooperative Extension and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Lance Beaton, a weatherization field monitor headquartered in Fulton County, was able to reduce the cost of a weatherization product from $500 to $50 per house with a simple suggestion.

“On the material side of things they were using roughly two foam packs per home at an estimated cost of around $500 per home,” said Beaton, who has several energy-related certifications. “By switching to another line they can lower this cost to roughly $50 per home, a savings of around $450.”

Likewise, Chuck Rose, a weatherization educator headquartered in Clayton County, is making a difference by educating installers of weatherization products about state-required procedures.

“When I started, there was a lot of uncertainty about state requirements and standards,” Rose said. “I was able to act as a resource to train their entire staff on how to properly file records for the Weatherization Assistance Program. In addition, I have spent a lot of time working individually with their staff to ensure that they understand the guidelines and are now following them.”

Beaton and Rose are two of more than 20 monitors and educators hired during the past three months to work with community agencies that are weatherizing homes and to educate homeowners on additional energy conservation tips.

“This program will touch all 159 Georgia counties,” said Jorge H. Atiles, FACS associate dean for outreach and extension and principal investigator for the grant. “We have placed UGA extension weatherization educators and field monitors strategically throughout the state to collaborate with all 22 not-for-profit agencies processing requests in the state.”