Two Energy Sprout Winners Have Continued Success
May 12, 2017
Energy Sprout was a collaboration between Sustainable Energy Fund and West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund that created a competition with the goal of developing new technology and business models that lead to improved sustainable energy solutions. Finalists competed in two categories, Community and Business, on July 28 at Energypath 2016 at The Pennsylvania State University.
We would like to congratulate two of the winners in the community category for their success in the programs that they submitted to the competition.
Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) is a leader in energy efficiency retrofits for existing residential, small multi-family and commercial properties and promotes a mission to help people conserve energy and promote a sustainable and socially equitable energy future for all. At Energy Sprout, ECA proposed a community-based sustainable energy project to demonstrate the effectiveness of new technologies and process improvements to create linkages with the public health system.
Low income families who live in homes in poor physical condition are very likely to have high energy use and health problems that are caused or exacerbated by their house. Roof leaks, structural problems, plumbing leaks, and related problems lead directly to high relative humidity, which drives mold, mildew and pest infestations. These problems are usually beyond the scope of the Weatherization Assistance Program and Pennsylvania’s utility funded energy efficiency programs. As a result, these low income high use households are regularly rejected when they apply for weatherization.
Unsolved structural issues drive further deterioration, the household becomes increasingly unstable while the financial burden to fix the home only increases. High energy use leads to bill payment problems, and worsening health conditions continue to drive up healthcare costs. The cost to utility rate payers and the health care system is high, and quality of life declines. All too often, this process can result in utility shutoffs, homelessness, and abandoned houses, pulling down the surrounding community.
Currently, the Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are inadequate to begin to solve this problem. However, based on the recommendations of ECA, the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) have agreed to amend the LIHEAP State Plan to permit DCED to do a statewide pilot program in Weatherization Plus Health next year.
Saint Francis University Institute for Energy works to be a reliable source of energy information for businesses, schools, policy makers, and communities. They are committed to establishing high-quality, authentic, and accurate information to assist Pennsylvanians in making educated and sustainable energy choices. Last year at Energy Sprout, they submitted an idea to develop a one stop shop database for assessing the feasibility of implementing a small, renewable energy system and expedite the entire analysis process.
They have recently developed the Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Assessment Clearing House. Want to install a renewable energy project in Pennsylvania, but don’t know where to begin? Let Saint Francis be your guide. On this new website, you will find:
- Information to determine your current energy situation.
- Resources specific to developing a project at your location.
- Financial resources and installers.