A Real Super Sunday- Helping Reverse the Affects of Maine's Fuel Assistance Cuts
The symbolism of the day that Kevin from Upright Frameworks, Peter from Energy Circle, and I chose to go to the Hartford’s in Peru, Maine to see what we could do was not lost on me. It was the day of the Super Bowl. While we were trying to decide the best way to make the home more energy efficient and a healthier place to live, millions of people were trying to decide how to make their football parties fantastic. I am not criticizing sports revelers one bit. The day just showed the broad scope of what is happening in America.
There are so many misconceptions about people that end up needing assistance. Often times they are demonized for needing help. I was so impressed by the attitude and demeanor of the Hartfords. While we were helping them Mr. Hartford was in and out driving people to doctor’s visits and other places that they could not get to.
On the way back to Brunswick I must have passed 100 houses that were in dire need of efficiency upgrades. Why am I saying efficiency upgrades rather than heating oil? There is no doubt that heating oil is what people must have at this moment to get them through to the spring. They need it and should get it. But what will get them comfortably into seeing the spring from year to year is making sure that they need less oil. Properly weatherizing their homes is the path to that security.
In simple terms all of these homes are like buckets with holes in them. Every year we can fill the bucket but that doesn’t solve a problem nor contribute positively to the Maine economy. If we fill the majority of the holes then the bucket won’t leak nearly as much.
The economic affect of weatherized homes in Maine is unlike any other. There were 2,500 homes weatherized through the HESP program when it was up and running. The savings generated by those homes totaled roughly 2 ¼ million dollars. This is money that can be spent in the local economy every year that the homes are standing. It actually will increase as fuel prices go up.
We need to take the long view and realize that making homes more energy efficient is a win-win for everyone. This winter let’s get the fuel into needy homes and then let’s weatherize these homes so that we no longer have good people wondering how they will survive.