City of Fayetteville Adds Weatherization and Energy Efficiency Outreach Position

Joseph Beachner (right) participating in an energy audit field training with Viridian/Home Rx Energy Consultants, Corey Keen and Gary Kahanak at the Feed Fayetteville Sustainable Community Food Center.

In partnership with the SCI:Fayetteville team and the Energy Corps/AmeriCorps initiative, the City of Fayetteville has created a new position within the City’s Community Services Division.

As the Weatherization and Energy Efficiency Outreach Coordinator, Energy Corps/AmeriCorps member Joseph Beachner will be working to assist the Housing Rehabilitation and Redevelopment Programs through the federally funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.

Since 1992, Community Services have been focusing their rehabilitation efforts on South Fayetteville and there have been over 100 housing rehabilitation projects up to $25,000 each in this area. One of the main goals for this new position is to determine energy usage per household before a rehabilitation project compared to the energy usage after a CDBG project.

Thanks to this collaborative partnership, the Community Services Division has identified an additional 1034 homes in South Fayetteville to prioritize for specific energy efficiency and weatherization opportunities.

Additionally, the Community Service Division has committed to BPI Training for three of the CDBG staff members plus the purchase of their own energy auditing materials/equipment. By internalizing this expertise, the City will now be able to perform free energy assessments and audits to low-income home owners within the 1034 target group.

The Ozark Electric Cooperative predicts that energy costs in Northwest Arkansas will increase by 100% within the next ten years. Planning ahead for those costs by investing today in lower utility demands not only helps the homeowner’s pocketbook but also helps the utility companies make the most of their existing energy generation capacities.

Prioritizing energy efficiency and weatherization services for low-income home owners is a huge step in the right direction of overall community sustainability, as low-income homeowners are typically the most economically vulnerable to extreme temperature fluctuations and the consequentially high utility expenses that result.

The cheapest kilowatt is the one that’s not needed or wasted so facilitating energy efficiency and weatherization outreach with low-income home owners will also help reduce our community’s collective energy demand.

The Community Services Division administers the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program delivered from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The CDBG Program is the Federal Government’s primary program for promoting community revitalization throughout the country, providing annual grants on a formula basis to approximately 1,000 metropolitan cities such as Fayetteville.

CDBG funds are used for a wide range of community development activities directed toward neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and improved community facilities and services.

For more information about the City of Faytteville’s CDBG programs, please visit their website.

— Contributed by Melissa Terry and Joseph Beachner

The original story is posted on the Sustainable Cities Institute website.

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