Caroline County Habitat Pairs MEA EmPOWER Grant Funds with Volunteer Work
Thanks to the 2010 EmPOWERing Clean Energy Communities Low-to-Moderate Income Grant Program, the comfort of six Caroline County households has been increased while the energy bills for those households has been decreased.
Using a $50,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), Caroline County Habitat for Humanitycompleted six energy efficiency upgrades for low to moderate income families. These energy efficiency upgrades produced an estimated annual savings of $11,464 in energy costs for the six families. This was accomplished by reducing annual electric consumption by more than 38,000 kilowatt hours, propane consumption by more than 470 gallons, and oil consumption by more than 980 gallons.
In addition, Caroline County Habitat leveraged grant resources by using cost-efficient labor – including more than 1,200 volunteer hours – as well as the donation of materials and equipment worth more than $3,100.
“Caroline Habitat was able to accomplish many more projects beyond the scope of the MEA grant,” said Bill Clemens, Executive Director for Caroline County Habitat for Humanity. “It was great to use this grant as a platform to address health and safety issues, such as kitchen renovations, plumbing replacements and repairs, structural and flooring issues, and an electric panel upgrade. This grant was the key to developing much larger and more inclusive projects for us.”
One example of a Caroline Habitat project made possible through the MEA grant is an energy efficiency upgrade at a senior resident’s home. An energy audit highlighted health and safety issues, and Caroline Habitat leveraged the grant to install energy efficiency measures and to complete more than $50,000 in renovations to solve health and safety issues at no cost to the homeowner. “We have no choice but to move forward and find a way to fix these problems,” said Phil Clark, construction manager for Caroline Habitat. “It is the right thing to do.”
Along with the MEA grant, the project was completed by the investment and time from many people and organizations, including Lowe’s Home Improvement, ProBuild, Whirlpool, Kevin Knighton heating contractor, Emile Rue electrical contractor, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services early release volunteer inmates, Larson Manufacturing, and The Dow Chemical Company.
This grant is part of the EmPOWER Maryland initiative, and is funded through the Strategic Energy Investment Fund (SEIF). SEIF funds come from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and the SEIF fund statute requires the 50% of all energy efficiency funds be used for low-to-moderate income Marylanders. The grant funds were divided among the Maryland Counties, with $50,000 available for Caroline County for the grant period June 15, 2010 to Feb. 1, 2011.