- Jun 22, 2022 10:09 pm GMT
According to data from a 2019 American Housing Survey (AHS), approximately 6 million households live in inadequate housing with moderate to severe plumbing, heating, wiring, electrical, or upkeep problems. Many of these households are low-income families who disproportionately suffer health issues related to their housing quality. While both state and federal government agencies have begun taking steps to solve for the traditional barriers to home upgrades, now is the time for utilities to rise to the challenge and meet the needs of their customers.
In a rapidly changing landscape, it can be challenging for state energy offices, utilities, and local governments to provide their customers with the most effective services possible while streamlining efficiencies and meeting goals in a cost-effective manner. The key to offering a true whole-home approach is not only evaluating a home and prescribing the best course of action, but also installing energy- and water-efficient products that will save money, provide for the health and safety of a home, and function reliably for years to come.
Here are some of the top products that support a whole-home approach to energy efficiency and weatherization:
Caulk and Sealants. If a home isn’t properly sealed, heat may escape the home in the winter and leak inside during the summer, causing elevated heating and air conditioning bills. Ensuring all surfaces are sealed will keep a home’s temperature more stable and therefore more comfortable for its residents. Furthermore, caulking and sealing prevent water from entering a home and causing mildew, which can lead to a variety of health issues and can be costly to remedy.
Door Sweeps. Even if a home is properly sealed, exterior homes still lack full protection from the elements. This is because the bottom of the door must be slightly off the ground in order to open and close properly. The solution is a door sweep, which can typically be installed within minutes and adds an extra layer of protection against drafts, dirt, air leakage, and more.
Faucet Aerators. Within homes in desperate need of energy- and water-efficient upgrades, appliances are often older and less efficient than their modern counterparts. This includes faucets, which may be using 2 or more gallons per minute when turned on. A faucet aerator, which is inexpensive and simple to install, is the ideal solution to cutting back water use without impacting homeowner comfort and satisfaction. Efficient water aerators can trim back water usage to 1 gallon per minute or even less—all while maintaining the same water pressure and without sacrificing quality.
Water-Efficient Showerheads. In 1992, the U.S. federal government enacted laws that set the maximum flow rate of a showerhead to 2.5 gallons per minute. Before then, many showerheads had a flow rate of 3.5 GPM. Today, water-efficient showerheads can operate at 1.5 GPM or even less. Swapping out an old showerhead for a newer, more efficient model is another quick win that creates lasting savings by permanently cutting down on the water bill.
LED Light Bulbs. While LED lighting is considered today’s standard, many low-income homes still have traditional incandescent bulbs. However, LEDs last up to twenty-five times longer and use far less electricity. Ensuring a home is utilizing only LED light bulbs is a quick fix to save money on energy.
In addition to providing bulk products at competitive pricing, the ideal whole-home program offers a streamlined customer experience to maximize program impact. Franklin Energy offers a toolkit of solutions for income-qualified services that take advantage of available funding while delivering cost-effective results. Our products division, AM Conservation, delivers industry-leading efficiency products straight from the warehouse with no middleman. Our experts at Franklin Energy are armed with nearly three decades of experience delivering innovative energy management solutions.
If you’re ready to learn more about our whole-home approach to residential health and safety in low- to moderate-income homes, contact us today.
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