(Crystal A. Proxmire)
A section of Ferndale has been selected to be the first in the State to receive Federal Funding for the Better Buildings for Michigan Program. The program gives homeowners access to incentives, affordable loans and improvements at a reduced cost to help bring down energy consumption, at a savings of over $300 per year per home.
There will be six communities in Detroit and five more in the suburbs that will follow in Ferndale’s footsteps. The program, which is Federally funded with a grant from the Department of Energy, gives homeowners in the target areas an energy assessment and a package of upgrades that will save most people an average of $300 a year.
There are 440 homes in the target area, 20 of which don’t qualify because of participation in previous programs. The boundaries are W. 9 Mile Road to Pearson and Pinecrest to Allen. People with homes in that area can call (866) 402-1061 to sign up. There is a $50 fee to participate, which is used towards paying the contractor who comes to the home.
While the contractor is there, they will:
~Locate and seal air leaks using a blower door test.
~Tighten, seal and insulate air ducts as needed.
~Install up to 10 energy saving compact fluorescent light bulbs
~Install up to 2 high-efficiency shower heads and two faucet aerators.
~Install a programmable thermostat with instructions.
~Indentify appliances and/or equipment for potential upgrades to energy-efficient products.
~In some cases, install insulation.
There are also other incentives available to help with things like insulation, appliance replacement, window replacement, furnace and/or water heater replacement, and renewable energy systems. The entire visit takes about four hours to complete.
An informational session was held at the Kulick Community Center, which is located in the Better Buildings Area. Every resident in the target area was given an informational card on their door handle inviting them out. But even if they didn’t make the meeting, they can call (866) 402-1061 to sign up or check out http://regionalenergyoffice.org for more information.
For those who don’t live in the target area, there are other resources available. Michigan Saves is a Statewide program that provides access to home improvement loans at www.MichiganSaves.org.
The Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency (OLHSA) has many programs with assistance, which can be found at http://www.olhsa.org/oak_housing.asp?catID=3&cty=oak.
And the WARM Training Center is a non-profit organization that promotes the development of resource efficient, affordable, healthy homes and communities through education, training, and technical assistance. WARM’s services include: education, technical assistance, resources, and green jobs training.