Arlington, Va. – For Josephine Chapelle, her home and neighborhood on South Monroe Street is like a photo album of her life in Arlington, Va.
“This is the house my husband and I bought and moved into over sixty years ago,” Josephine said. “In fact, we actually met for the first time on this very street.”
But with the onset of cold weather across the country, rising home heating costs was a concern for Josephine. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, low-income households currently spend 16 percent of their total annual income on energy costs, compared to five percent for other households.
“The aging population is especially vulnerable during cold spells,” said Bill Beachy, CHP’s VP of Energy Services. “There’s no substitute for a warm home during the bitter months of winter.”
During 2006, CHP’s Energy Services provided weatherization repairs to 432 homes, of which 97 percent are 40 percent below the area median income. Those households were made safer and healthier for 159 children, 208 elderly residents and 101 disabled residents. In fact, according the DOE, weatherization allows low-income families to save an average of $358 each year, providing long-term relief and protection against future fluctuations in energy prices and supplies.
Beginning this February, CHP will partner with Dominon, one of the nation’s largest producers of energy, to weatherize 40 homes of senior citizens in Arlington County located in northern Virginia. With Dominion’s $50,000 donation, CHP will provide weatherization improvements including insulating attics, sealing and insulating air ducts and installing weather stripping. Energy efficient products will also be installed, such as compact fluorescent lights, low-flow showerheads, and insulation on water heaters and pipes. Dominion’s contribution, along with funds from the Virginia Weatherization Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, will be utilized by CHP to expand its weatherization services.
“I definitely can tell a difference in my heating bills and my home is much more comfortable in both the summer and the winter,” Josephine said. “And the guys that worked on my house were very good at explaining the work they were doing and teaching more about how to care for my home.”