Spokane residents have the opportunity to take advantage of stimulus funds to make their homes healthier, more energy-efficient and more comfortable. SustainableWorks was awarded $4 million in Community Energy Efficiency Pilot funds through Washington State University Energy Extension to help Washington state residents make energy-efficiency home improvements. SustainableWorks is the only program Spokane residents can access. In the last year, SustainableWorks has retrofitted 100 homes in the Spokane area.
As a local, non-profit energy-efficiency general contractor, SustainableWorks has helped Spokane homeowners in select neighborhoods to reduce their utility bills, as well as make their homes healthier. The first step is a comprehensive home energy audit, available at reduced cost thanks to a combination of grant funding and utility incentives.
“Our home audit can reveal a variety of building health issues,” says Tara Anderson, director of operations and finance for SustainableWorks. The audit is a full home-performance assessment and includes pressurized testing of the building, Combustion Appliance Zone testing, and mechanical-systems analysis as part of the process.
After this step is complete, an energy consultant meets with the homeowner to explain the findings and provide options. Common recommendations include air sealing and sealing duct air leaks, which can help to prevent high humidity levels and prevent respiratory issues.
“A healthy home is a dry home, free of pests, clean, ventilated and well-maintained. An audit and energy retrofit offers homeowners the opportunity to learn site specific measures which can help them address these issues in their home before they turn into serious health risks,” states Anderson.
Maintaining a properly controlled ventilation system that leads to the outside is a key element to allow for the controlled flow of fresh air throughout a home. SustainableWorks auditors assess the HVAC system to ensure it is properly sized and operating to remove humidity. SustainableWorks is also certified under the EPA Lead-Based Paint, Renovation, Repair and Painting Program (RRP) for renovation work, and directly acts as the general contractor for clients who are interested in making the recommended improvements to their home.
In the past, we’ve successfully attended to health and safety issues for local residents, including removal of fire prone knob and tube wiring, and asbestos abatement, often at reduced cost and sometimes with no cost to the homeowner.
Additional grant and utility incentives are applied to the retrofit cost through SustainableWorks to buy down the costs to the homeowner. The balance of the project is often financed by the homeowner through our lending partner, Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union (PSCCU), in the form of a low-interest energy-efficiency loan.
“Energy savings and good health go hand in hand,” says Anderson.
For more information, visit www.sustainableworks.com or call 509-532-1688. Kellie Stickney is the marketing manager for SustainableWorks.