***Today is Earth Day. In honor of this special day, I decided to reach out to some stakeholders in a very special that will help change energy consumption in the greater Seattle area - Community Power Works (CPW). Corey Fitch and Scott Cooper represent Sound Home Performance, a local home performance contractor who have been a big part of CPW, since its inception. Corey and Scott are BPI Building Analysts with a variety of other credentials. I have asked them to clue us in to the CPW program.***
On Tuesday the City of Seattle kicked off the Community Power Works for Home program, an initiative aimed at getting homeowners in Central and Southeast Seattle to make energy efficient improvements to their homes. Funding for the program comes through a $20 million dollar award that the City of Seattle received from the federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, part of the 2009 ARRA stimulus package.
All homeowners in the target area can take part in the program, which begins with a subsidized home energy assessment by a qualified contractor (normally $400, participants only pay $95). Based on this initial assessment the contractor will put together a list of home retrofit recommendations aimed at increasing the comfort, efficiency, and health of the home while reducing energy usage.
The real strength of the program, however, is in the innovative funding offered to participants. Homeowners can apply for low-interest, fixed rates loans through the City to fund the recommended retrofit projects. The monthly loan payments will be attached to, and repaid through, the participant’s Seattle City Light bill, with the goal of the added cost of the loan payments being offset by reductions in energy usage. In addition to this, homeowners will be able to take advantage of a Carbon Reduction Incentive, a one-time payment for carbon savings over the life of energy efficiency upgrades made to the home.
As noted by Seattle Councilmember Mike O’Brien, the CPW for Home program accomplishes three lofty goals:
- It reduces our carbon footprint through reducing energy usage;
- It allows homeowners to improve the efficiency and value of their homes; and
- It creates jobs and careers in a growth industry.
As Congressman Jim McDermott said in a press release about CPW for Homes, “This innovative program will create jobs, save energy, and improve the health and affordability of our homes; this is exactly what Congress had in mind with BetterBuildings funding through the Department of Energy.”
A community kickoff for the CPW for Home program will be held Tuesday, May 3rd at 6:30pm at South Shore School.