Although homes in California use less energy compared to most other states, California residents pay close to the national average for electricity due to high energy pricing. Costs are especially burdensome for residents within the Sacramento Region who experience extreme temperatures during the summer and winter. During these months, residents rely on their cooling (if they have them) and heating systems in order to maintain a comfortable and safe temperature in their homes. As the impacts of climate change accelerate the severity and frequency of extreme weather events, residents will need to rely even more on heating and cooling systems, leading to higher energy bills. This will have the greatest impact on low-income families who already struggle with costly and unaffordable energy bills. For low-income families, the issue of costly energy bills is compounded by homes which are often outdated and not energy efficient. It also can be difficult for low income families to invest in home improvements, such as energy saving appliances or projects that would improve the overall energy efficiency of their homes. These kinds of improvements are often referred to as Weatherization. In Northern California, Community Resource Project is working to help provide Weatherization services to families in underserved communities to improve their living environment while also saving them money. The work done by Community Resource Project through the Weatherization Program not only benefits low-income families, but it also decreases overall energy use which contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Community Resource Project
Community Resource Project (CRP) is a non-profit organization in Sacramento which was founded by three Latino community leaders in 1972. Today, CRP provides various forms of assistance to low-income communities in Sacramento, Yuba, Butte, Yolo, Solano, and Tehama counties. CRP works to improve the quality of life within these communities by implementing Energy and Weatherization services; Women, Infant and Children-Health programs; and Education programs with the help of local partners.
Weatherization Program objective
Community Resource Project’s mission is to “improve opportunity for people in need through energy efficiency, health, and education.” The Weatherization Program contributes to CRP’s greater mission by providing services and education which leads to greater energy efficiency, lower energy costs, and more comfortable, healthy, and safe homes.
Weatherization involves a series of home-improvements that increase the overall energy efficiency of a home. Community Resource Project provides weatherization services such as:
- Installation of solar panels (on owner-occupied homes)
- Weather-stripping; installation of water saving features and appliances
- Improved insulation
- Repair and replacement of ducts
- Replacement of windows, appliances, and light systems
Before these improvements are made, homes lose energy due to poor insulation. This results in heating and cooling units working harder (and using more energy) to maintain a comfortable temperature in the home. Weatherization improves the insulation and energy efficiency of a home, allowing it to use less energy which saves residents money. In addition to providing home improvements, CRP’s Weatherization Program incorporates an educational element which works to provide communities with energy saving tips and information.
Over the past four decades, Community Resource Project has markedly expanded the reach of its Weatherization Program. Today, CRP carries out its Weatherization Program in Sacramento, Yuba, Butte, Yolo, Solano, and Tehama counties, making its impact on low-income families of Northern California significant. In 2017 alone, CRP spent over $5 million on weatherization efforts, and served over 11,000 households.
In order to carry out its Weatherization Program across six Northern California counties, Community Resource Project utilizes partnerships with multiple organizations to assist underserved communities. Butte Community Action Agency helps implement the Weatherization Program in Yuba, Butte, and Tehama counties. Meanwhile, Community Housing Opportunities Corporation provides assistance to CRP in Solano and Yolo Counties. While CRP performs the majority of the work involved for the Weatherization Program, it does subcontract some work out to private companies and SMUD (CRC member).
CRP carries out its Weatherization Program in six Northern California counties.
CRP’s Weatherization Program is in-part funded by LIHEAP California which receives block grants from the Federal Department of Health and Human Services. CRP is one of the organizations which has received funding from LIHEAP to administer energy assistance programs. The infographic above outlines LIHEAP California’s impact in the year 2017.
Funding for the Weatherization Program is derived from a handful of funding sources. Community Resource Project receives funds from the US Department of Energy which are allocated by the state. CRP also receives funds from the Department of Water Resources and the Low Income Weatherization Program which is part of California Climate Investments. California Climate Investments utilizes cap-and-trade funds to reduce GHG emissions, strengthen the economy, and improve public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. CRP receives funds from the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which allocates federal funds to states who subsequently distribute funds to agencies such as CRP. The funding provided through LIHEAP is used to providing weatherization measures and utility assistance in the case of utility shut-offs for nonpayment of their utility bill.