If you were to touch a dark roof surface on a manufactured home during the summer in Phoenix, you might find that it is thirty degrees warmer than the roof of a mobile home that is painted white. By applying a white reflective roofing coating, homeowners can reduce the cost and energy needed to operate their air conditioning unit. A white roof coating is just one example of the cost-effective improvements that are made through the Weatherization Assistance Program.
The federal program was established to help low-income families and individuals improve their homes’ energy efficiency and lower energy costs as well as assist with energy-related health and safety issues in the home.
In support of the program, Salt River Project provides $725,000 per year to the Arizona Community Action Association, which manages the funds. Home auditors determine which improvements such as sealing leaky AC ducts, adding insulation and weather stripping, providing low-flow showerheads or even replacing aging air conditioners are cost effective. To qualify, a family must make less than double the federal poverty line, which equates to about $44,000 annually for a family of four.
SRP is proud to support weatherization services for our low-income electricity customers and just recently increased the per-home funding from $2,000 to $6,000. Combined with economic stimulus funds from the federal government, customers who qualify could get up to $12,500 in upgrades or repairs. The increase in SRP’s per-home funding is important because major appliances such as air conditioners can be replaced instead of repaired. The longer a weatherization improvement projects lasts, the more money the residents have for other important items such as rent or mortgage payments.
“The program is important for several reasons,” said ACAA Executive Director Cynthia Zwick. “Every year more people die of heat-related deaths than from the cold. Weatherization improves the quality of housing stock in communities; it lowers energy bills allowing for greater conservation of energy – allowing families to use the savings for other necessities like food or medication.”
Valley residents interested in participating in the Weatherization Assistance Program should contact their area community agencies or visit www.azcaa.org. More information on SRP’s Weatherization Program can be found by visiting www.srpnet.com/weatherization.
The next time you see new shade screens on windows on a home or a new coat of white paint on a manufactured home, remember that you may be seeing SRP's weatherization program at work.
Deborah Kimberl is manager of energy efficiency and policy analysis at Salt River Project.