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Georgia Nonprofit Helps Homeowners Save Energy

April 21, 2010 - 12:44pm

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Job creation is helping more families in Georgia make ends meet, while the work being done because of those jobs — weatherization — is helping other families do the same by saving them money on their energy bills.

Residents such as Mattie Williams are living in more comfortable and energy-efficient homes because of work done by the Central Savannah River Area Economic Opportunity Authority’s weatherization program. Since its launch in 1976, CSRA EOA has helped 5.5 million households save energy, money and be more comfortable.

Mattie learned about CSRA EOA online. She began searching for weatherization options in hopes of lowering her high energy bill.

“I got on the Internet to find out what kind of help I could receive,” she says. “CSRA sent me an application and I was approved.”

The Georgia nonprofit has the opportunity to further its reach lately with $7.3 million in Recovery Act funding for its weatherization program. The funding has made a significant impact, the organization’s weatherization coordinator, Keesha Johnson, says.

“Jobs, both for employees and contractors, have been created,” she says. “We’ve expanded to a bigger building to provide space for additional crews and equipment.”

The team who came to Mattie’s home caulked around windows and doors, sealing cracks that exposed the home to outdoor elements. Insulation was added beneath the floors. Lighting was replaced with energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.

These were not the only energy-efficiency improvements the crew made.

“When they put in a brand-new, out-of-the-box heating system, I was so surprised,” she says. “It all costs so much, and I couldn’t afford it — it was just amazing.”

Not only is the house more efficient, Mattie’s monthly energy bill went down from $400 to $217, on average. “What needed to be done, they did,” she says.

Mattie’s already started telling others about weatherization, hoping they will share her experience.

“Anything I can do to help to spread the word, I’m glad to do,” she says. “I hope they keep going; there are people who really need it but can’t afford it.”

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