Rebuilding Together Hartford, the local affiliate of the nation's largest volunteer home rehabilitation organization, and the Connecticut Petroleum Council today helped an elderly, low-income couple reduce their energy use and save money as part of an energy-efficient rebuild of their home.
The rebuild is part of the Energy Efficient Homes Initiative, a national partnership between Rebuilding Together and America's oil and natural gas industry that incorporates energy efficiency into home renovations for low-income homeowners nationwide, many of whom are elderly, disabled or have young children. The Initiative is an additional component of the 19 year-old national Rebuilding Together program that will revitalize nearly 10,000 homes across the country this year. With the help of the Initiative, Rebuilding Together will give low-income homeowners the ability to reduce their energy consumption by as much as 30 percent.
"This is a wonderful partnership. Together, we are making a positive difference in the lives of those most in need," said Greg Secord, executive director, Rebuilding Together Hartford. "Providing low-income homeowners the tools to dramatically improve energy efficiency enables them to save money and use it for other immediate needs such as food and health care."
"America's oil and natural gas industry practices energy efficiency every day within its operations, so we know the significant value of such a commitment," said Steve Guveyan, executive director, Connecticut Petroleum Council. "We are delighted to partner with Rebuilding Together Hartford in this outstanding initiative. Our efforts will provide low-income homeowners the dual benefit of saving energy and money."
Last year, the Initiative was highlighted in 18 rebuilds nationwide, saving low-income homeowners thousands of dollars thanks to a variety of energy-saving features incorporated into their homes. Rebuilding Together Hartford is renovating 65 homes throughout the area this year, with 72-year-old Juan Fuentes' home being the first to receive energy-saving renovations. Fuentes, a retired photographer, received energy efficiency improvements to his home, which he and his wife, Lucy, have lived in for more than 25 years.
Plagued by various health issues, Mr. Fuentes has been retired for 17 years and his wife has been physically and financially unable to make the necessary home improvements. As part of the Initiative, the Fuentes's will receive new weather-stripping and insulation, light fixtures with compact fluorescent lights, a new ramp to his front entrance and a roof extension for drainage. Other renovations to the house include a new smoke and carbon dioxide detectors and interior painting.
"We don't ask for help often," said Mrs. Fuentes. "We've wanted to make renovations for a long time, but the costs were always too much. These improvements will allow my husband and me to live more comfortably while saving money."
"It's a blessing," added Mr. Fuentes.
In addition to making homes more energy-efficient, the Initiative also provides low-income homeowners, volunteers and others with materials and information to help them use energy wisely now and in the future.
Rebuilding Together is the nation's largest non-profit organization whose mission is to bring volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners assuring that they live in warmth, safety, and independence. Rebuilding Together operates through nearly 250 affiliates nationwide that serve 1,879 communities across the country. Each year, more than 270,000 volunteers help to refurbish and revitalize nearly 10,000 houses.