October is National Energy Awareness Month, and this year marks the 45th anniversary of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).
In 1976, President Gerald Ford signed the Energy Conservation and Production Act into law, essentially paving the way for the Weatherization Assistance Program. The WAP legislation was established to increase the energy efficiency of dwellings owned or occupied by low-income persons, reduce residential energy expenditures, and improve overall health and safety.
In 1991, President George W.H. Bush encouraged government and private organizations to raise awareness around the importance of sustainably managing energy resources by officially establishing Energy Awareness Month. Now, 45 years later, the Weatherization Assistance Program has served more than 8 million low-income people in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. territories, and three Native American tribes. The WAP continues to provide cost-effective energy efficiency savings for low-income families, improve overall health and safety outcomes, and support a dedicated nationwide weatherization workforce.
Through weatherization services, like the Helping Home Fund (HHF), Healthy Home Initiative (HHI), and the N.C. Weatherization Assistance Program (NCWAP), low-income families receive energy-efficient appliance replacements, HVAC repairs, air quality improvements, and other health and safety-related measures designed to lower energy consumption services, increase overall energy efficiency, and improve resident health and safety.
Since 1964, community action agencies have assisted individuals and families across this state and the country in their efforts to overcome poverty, obtain decent housing, access social services, pursue education, secure good jobs, and improve their overall wellbeing.
Through the support of Duke Energy and Blue Cross and BlueShield of North Carolina, the North Carolina Community Action Association, and its weatherization partners, have completed more than 10,000 weatherization projects and have connected thousands of North Carolinians to more than $40 million dollars in weatherization-related services. Despite great effort over the years, more than 1.4 million North Carolinians live at or below the federal poverty level and still struggle to pay their energy bills, with many more burdened by energy bills.
In the spirit of action, NCCAA encourages all weatherization advocates and service providers to participate in this year’s Energy Awareness Month and National Weatherization Day activities. We ask the community action network to highlight their work via social media throughout the month of October. NCCAA has a call to action for all community action agencies and weatherization service providers to promote and highlight the successes of all their energy and weatherization programs.
On Thursday, October 28th, NCCAA will host a network-wide virtual roundtable discussion to talk about our collective impact and discuss what more we can do as a network to serve those in need. During this session, we will focus on program successes, barriers to affordability, and brainstorm on innovative solutions.
Is your organization celebrating Weatherization Day? If so, NCCAA wants to know about it. Whether it is an event, a press release, a proclamation, or something else please let NCCAA know so we can also share and highlight all the great work you are doing. Submit your information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please download our Weatherization Awareness Month toolkit for tips on promoting weatherization activities and successes.
Detrick Clark is the Director of Housing and Energy Programs for the NCCAA.