May 15, 2015—Bloomfield, Iowa will gain more help in the coming months towards its goal of becoming a net-zero electric community by 2030. AmeriCorps, a program of The Corporation for National and Community Services (CNCS), will be supporting 56 service members over the next two years to reduce residential energy demand by five percent in Bloomfield. Starting this fall, AmeriCorps members will begin weatherizing two-thirds of Bloomfield's homes through energy audits, air sealing, and installation of insulation. They will also provide educational trainings for low-to-moderate income residents, along with households containing elderly or disabled members. In addition this this, AmeriCorps VISTA members will help identify energy incentives and green job opportunities within the community, while working with the city to develop an energy policy that can help bring Bloomfield closer to its goal. Bloomfield is one of five recipients of the Operation AmeriCorps funding grant.
Heat Smart released a report of preliminary results this week about its pilot program that promised to lower energy costs for certain low-income households in North Carolina. The Heat Smart program, in conjunction with Duke Energy, distributed Heat Smart kits containing a wool blanket, weather stripping, and energy conservation tips while also encouraging households to lower their thermostats at night and when away from home to help conserve energy. Of the residents chosen to participate in the four-county pilot program, 95 percent reported turning their heat down at night, a 24 percent increase. On average, they turned down their heat 7.9 degrees compared to 4.7 degrees before the pilot. Heat Smart notes that a turndown of seven to eight degrees can save households around 10 percent in energy costs. Forty one percent reported an increased knowledge of energy saving tactics through the information provided with the kits, and 96 percent indicated that they would continue to use the Heat Smart kit and continue to keep the heat down at night.
Sources: Media sources, Operation AmeriCorps website, Heat Smart website