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MEA EmPOWERs Garrett County Community to Save

Liberty Mews

Liberty Mews uses grant money to save on energy bills.

Using a $50,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), residents of Liberty Mews, a 36-unit lease purchase housing development in Oakland, will save money on utility bills while enjoying new energy efficient appliances.

The grant, issued to Garrett County as part of the MEA’sEmPOWERing Clean Energy Communities Low-to-Moderate Income Grant Program, allowed the Garrett County Community Action Committee (GCCAC), a private nonprofit corporation operating in Garrett County since 1965, to upgrade appliances in all 36 lease purchase housing units.

“These are our first ENERGY STAR-rated units constructed and we are so pleased that [MEA] could be a part of it in assisting us with the purchase of ENERGY STAR-rated and energy conserving appliances,” said Cynthia A. Sharon, Director of Housing & Real Estate for GCCAC. “The units are well-insulated, the light fixtures are energy efficient, and pre- and post-blower door air infiltration testing has been performed. Affordable housing is not just affordable house payments, but includes affordable utilities.”

The grant was for the incremental cost associated with upgrading appliances to ENERGY STAR rated and energy conserving devices. The new units are expected to provide an annual energy savings of 28,760 kilowatt hours which will translate into an average annual estimated savings of $127 per year in electricity costs per home. The ENERGY STAR/Energy Efficient appliances purchased for the 36 units of Liberty Mews include refrigerators, clothes washers, and dishwashers.

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 that 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 Garrett County for the grant period March 1 through Sept. 30, 2010.