Published Wednesday, October 19, 2023
The month of October is celebrated as National Energy Awareness Month. One might ask, why is such an initiative important? The answer is the program is a national effort to underscore how home energy use affects our national prosperity, security, and environmental well-being.
As part of this overall mission, Weatherization Day is Oct. 30, and highlights the impact of the U.S. Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). According to Energy. gov, WAP has become the single largest residential energy efficiency program in the country, helping the most vulnerable families across our nation while also producing jobs.
Historically known as the National Association for State Community Service Programs, WAP was created in August 1976 when President Gerald Ford signed the Energy Conservation and Production Act, establishing a weatherization program to help “increase the energy efficiency of dwellings owned or occupied by lowincome persons, reduce total residential energy expenditures, and improve health and safety.”
Forty-seven years later, the WAP has evolved into a nationwide energy efficiency initiative administered by building and energy science professionals while serving more than eight million impoverished people in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. Territories, and three Native American Tribes.
The Osceola Council on Aging has hosted the WAP locally, since 2008, consistently working to reduce monthly energy burdens for low-income, Central Florida households by improving home energy efficiency.
“WAP is not a homerehab program. There is a common misconception that we only replace doors, windows, and paint interiors,” said Chip Ford, OCOA Weatherization Services Director. “What we do is address problems such as poor insulation and a lack of ventilation in a residence, and how that can negatively affect a client’s power bill. We will also replace the most energy inefficient appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioner units when needed, and can repair leaky windows and doors, which can easily cause home energy insufficiencies.”
By managing this program, this is just one more step in which the OCOA supports our disadvantaged families, seniors, disabled individuals, and veterans residing in Osceola County. Weatherization assistance projects can also include insulation of ducts, attics, and floors, adding solar screens, repairing HVAC Units, reducing air infiltration, and conducting energy audits on appliances, heating/ cooling systems and water heaters.
To manage these projects, the OCOA works with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Florida Department of Commerce. Once weatherization assistance funding is awarded, the state contracts with nearly 700 local organizations nationwide for contract labor. The Council also utilizes in-house crews, and contracts with many Central Florida, private contractors.
Documentation required to apply for WAP support includes photo identification, verification or social security number, proof of income, proof of home ownership, the last two months’ electric bills and proof of disability (if applicable). Income guidelines for the program are based on household size, and maximum income, per household, per year.
Both Orange and Osceola County residents who would like to learn more about the program or request WAP support, should apply through the OCOA offices. Call Jordan Love at 407-846-8532, ext. 1243, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or Wanda Garcia, email@example.com, at 407-846-8532, ext. 1242.