FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Two reports recently released by the Cold Climate Housing Research Center show the strong returns of investing in energy efficiency.
Nathan Wiltse explains the health benefits of weatherization in homes (Carly Sjordal, KTVF)
From 2008 to 2018, the state of Alaska invested $629 million into the Home Energy Rebate and Weatherization programs to help Alaskans save energy and make their homes more comfortable.
The Home Energy Rebate Program provided up to $10,000 to homeowners who made energy efficient improvements to their homes -- such as adding insulation, tightening homes, and replacing boilers.
Participant Brenda Fiddick was encouraged to add more insulation to different parts of her house for energy efficiency. She says the program was most worth it for the added comfort in her home: “I can attest that I no longer have quite as cold of a floor. I don’t desperately need my slippers that I wear in the house, as well as I’ve noticed I have forced air heat and it just doesn’t kick on as often as it used to. So I’m sure I’m saving money as well as maintaining a warmer temperature in my house. “
Over the past 10 years, approximately 20% of occupied homes in Alaska received energy efficiency assistance. Overall, both programs had signifigant impacts on household budgets and the economy as a whole, creating a total economic impact of more than $2 billion.
Cold Climate Housing Reseach Center Policy Program Manager, Nathan Wiltse, says that the effects on human health from both of these programs shouldn’t be understated. "Those national numbers over that ten-year period... the health and safety impact from weatherization were $319 dollars in savings to those homes and those households,” said Wiltse.
Interviews with home energy raters detailed many instances of significant comfort gains in homes, of health improvement from proper ventilation, and of lives saved from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Winterization Program is still continuing as it has been for the past few decades, allthough it was reduced due to state budget restrictions, according to Wiltse.
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