While utility bills are steadily rising in Gainesville and Ocala, the Community Weatherization Coalition is looking to make homes more energy efficient to cut what residents will need to pay each month.
For Yvonne Dowers, a resident of southeast Gainesville, her electric bill can be nearly one-third of her monthly paycheck. The CWC is looking to lessen that burden by doing things like changing outdated incandescent lightbulbs to more efficient LED bulbs, installing pipe insulation on air conditioner lines and downsizing residents’ garbage, CWC program director Alane Humrich said.
“They are often living in older housing stock and it’s often less efficient appliances, especially if it’s a renter,” Humrich said. “They don’t have control if their air-handler is 30 years old, so we focus on the things that they can do.”
She said that in the Duval neighborhood, the average savings on utility bills has been $313 a year.
This fall, the University of Florida will donate 50 percent more money to the program. That’s enough to help 150 homes this year.