Silver Spring home first to be weatherized with stimulus help
Federal recovery funds to pay for work
During an energy efficiency test at his home, Richard Lowery said he held up a lighter to an electrical outlet, and the air coming in through the receptacle blew it out.
"It's an older, wood house, and it's not a tight house," Lowery said.
And it's the first Maryland house to receive weatherization work paid with federal stimulus funds. For that, Lowery and his wife, Sonja, hosted a dozen state and county officials, and a phalanx of media on a rainy Thursday.
The work on their home, on Highwood Road in Silver Spring, will include extra insulation, larger gable vents and a cap on the flue vent.
"This is something that for us is going to help us a lot," Lowery said.
The state is receiving $61 million for home weatherization from the U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which will translate to 6,800 households receiving assistance across the state, and about 700 to 800 in Montgomery County.
After the work is done, homeowners should average savings of about $300 to $400 a year on their utility bills, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said.
To qualify for weatherization assistance, families must meet eligibility requirements. For a family of four, the qualifying annual income is around $44,000.
In addition to energy savings, the money is expected to create 150 jobs.
Rockville Window and Door is doing the work on the Lowery home.
"We're excited about being able to help more families conserve energy in our state," said Raphael Pagan, co-owner of Rockville Window and Door. "And we're also very excited about not only being able to maintain the staff levels [but about] being able to increase those levels and hire more people."
To find the leaks, workers attached a large fan to the front door opening of the house, sucking out the air. Workers already had started weatherizing the house and were expected to continue this week, Lowery said.
Out of work for about a year, he said he signed up for the weatherization program last year.
"I never thought anything would come of it. It was something I just checked off on the application," he said. "When we got the phone call the other day, we were ecstatic."