Houston, TX – HARC has been awarded $1.9 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE)’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) for a project that will help Texas residents in underserved communities repair and weatherize their homes, resulting in lower energy bills and safer residences.
The project, “Preparing the Frontlines for a Climate Future through Holistic Weatherization,” will take a more innovative approach by actively engaging community members to identify problems and develop solutions for weatherization throughout their communities, leading to greater resilience against future climate change impacts. The three-year program will begin in Harris County, and eventually scale to communities in Travis County.
John Hall, HARC’s President and CEO, stated, “It’s important that we address the impact of severe weather on Texans living in underserved communities, and develop solutions to ensure the resilience of these communities. This weatherization program provides residents with access to much-needed services that will not only reduce their energy costs but allow them to live safely in their homes. It’s one of several programs that HARC is working on to ensure climate equity for marginalized communities.”
The first year of the program will include setting up and establishing models for co-production, climate-proof training, and retrofit technology options. Year two of the program will focus on implementation based on models from the first year, along with updates for improvement; while the third year will address any required changes from lessons learned, as well as a launch in Travis County.
“Texas residents are facing ever increasing energy prices, particularly with this summer’s extreme heat. As climate change worsens, more needs to be done to ensure Texans have safe, affordable places to live,” said Dr. Gavin Dillingham, HARC’s Vice President of Research. “This project is helping to make homes climate ready by launching a new weatherization deployment model, resulting in significantly more homes receiving weatherization services.”
In Harris County, an average of 350 homes are weatherized per year and 80 homes in Travis County. Through this program, HARC seeks to increase that number per year by 30 percent by moving homes more efficiently through home rebuild programs, increasing awareness in the community, and helping homeowners navigate title ownership and tax assessment concerns.
HARC is one of 21 organizations and five state agencies awarded over $40 million by the DOE to help address growing concerns over aging utility infrastructure, increasing energy costs, energy resilience, and the efficiency of existing energy systems.