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As recounted to Tamara Toles O’Laughlin by Dean Fisher

Last week went along as any other does in MEA’s Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI) Grant Program replete with Summertime site visits to grantees, and phone calls with auditors on any number of matters. As such, It might have been just one more upgrade intended to save energy and money through MEA’s LMI Grants. But as the Building Performance Institute (BPI) auditor entered a home to carry out an otherwise routine, scheduled energy assessment, he felt a sudden headache come on. The home’s occupant had complained of headaches for the last few weeks. The auditor conducted Combustion Appliance Zone (CAZ) Testing. The test revealed the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) at ten times the emergency level. The home’s 40 year-old water heater had quietly failed and was poisoning the residents of the house with CO. According to the CDC during 1999–2010, a total of 5,149 deaths from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning occurred in the United States, for an average of 430 deaths per year.

United Communities Against Poverty (UCAP), a 2014 EmPOWER Clean Energy Communities County-Allocated LMI Grant Awardee for Prince George’s County, quickly installed a new ENERGY STAR water heater in the home along with other cost-effective measures, including a new CO alarm.

MEA‘s LMI program offers energy efficiency grants designed to help families save money and assist non-profits serving low and moderate income Marylanders. UCAP’s grant funding supports BPI qualified auditors to perform energy assessments that identify cost-effective allowable measures such as weatherization, insulation, ENERGY STAR appliances and HVAC upgrades.

. . . And once in a while, they just might help save a life.