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SENCA weatherization program celebrates 40 years of service

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1003_A5_Housing Weatherization

SENCA Weatherization Team members, from left, are Gin Christiansen, Keith Hart, Bill Noller, Kenny Garduno. Jim Wilson, Ben Simpson, Lisa Vickers and Tony Nussbaum.

The Energy Department’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has been hard at work for the past 40 years helping many low-income American families, living at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, attain the goal of an energy-efficient, safe and comfortable home. The program is available for households who either own or rent their home. An emphasis of service is placed on households with seniors (over age 60), persons with disabilities, and those with children (under age 6). August 14, 2016 officially marked the 40th anniversary of this program, which has retrofitted more than 7 million homes across the country. WAP is considered the nation’s oldest and largest whole-house energy efficiency program. According to information supplied by energy.gov. WAP services every political subdivision in the country through a network of 59 grantees: 50 states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. territories, and three select Native American tribes. Professionally trained crews use computerized energy audits and advanced diagnostic equipment to identify energy-saving strategies in single-family, multi-family, and mobile homes. Cost-effective weatherization measures and those essential for health and safety are performed. Typical measures include: installing insulation; reducing air infiltration; performing tune-ups and repairs to heating and cooling systems; improving water heater efficiency; and replacing incandescent lighting with compact fluorescent bulbs. The average home experiences an average of 18.7% reduction in energy costs.

An important component of the weatherization process is client education. Client lifestyle choices can play a big role in determining the amount of energy and money actually saved. Clients are provided with tips on saving energy and information on how to maintain the energy efficiency improvements that have been made.

Each year October is designated as Energy Action Month recognizing October 30 as National Weatherization Day. The Department of Energy uses the onset of winter to promote energy conservation, renewable energy, and new technology use in the energy industry.

The Nebraska Energy Office (NEO), www.neo.ne.gov, administers this federally-funded program in Nebraska. According to information furnished by NEO a total of 432 homes statewide were completed through the WAP network from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. SENCA is one of seven Community Action Agencies throughout the state who provide the program, supplying weatherization services to 71 homes this past year.

The SENCA Weatherization Program, consisting of a team of seven trained and certified staff, under the direction of Housing Director, Anthony (Tony) Nussbaum, serves the eight county service area of: Cass, Douglas, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Richardson, and Sarpy. Agency staff provide Weatherization services from two locations, the Central Office, 802 4th Street, Humboldt and the northern office, 1215 S. 15th Street, Suite A, Plattsmouth. For more information, please contact Gin Christiansen, Weatherization Program Manager at 402-862-2411 (ext. 116) or visit www.senca.org

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