Did you know a typical household wastes around 30 percent more energy than an efficient one does? Connecticut promotes energy efficiency to help customers cut their consumption and bills, but where do you begin? Enter I Heart My Home and energy consultant, Michael Uhl.
Mike moved to New Haven six years ago from a west-side neighborhood of Baltimore, where he learned about the systematic challenges facing families. “The experience compelled me to do more. I want to make homes where families are not gentrified away from communities and the air is clean.”
After his relocation, he found NHS of New Haven. “NHS staff were building and envisioning an equitable future, with the years of experience to know New Haven residents’ needs.” With his own experience in high-performance building services through his business, System Smart LLC, they stayed connected.
“I Heart My Home makes improving a residence simpler,” Mike explains, “We are centered on the participant. The program solves frustrations of homeowners and renters while attaining greater financial freedom and environmental improvements.” By guiding participants to financially-viable, energy-saving upgrades for their specific near-term needs, the program leads a resident through steps to make living more affordable and responsible.
“There is clear demand,” Mike observed, “the program is timely, strategic and effective.” And there is community support. Local universities and professors are pledging students’ service-learning projects to build tools for scaling the program. It uniquely addresses problems of housing affordability, climate change and air quality, while building community trust, home improvements and financing.
The average monthly residential electricity bill in Connecticut is $127. That’s 19% higher than the national average. Residential energy accounts for 12% of greenhouse gas emissions and 33% of total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions. Low-income households face an energy burden three times higher than other households. This forces tough choices because home energy costs demand a larger portion of their income.
“NHS and its partners are agnostic to technologies, financing, and contractors, allowing the team to focus on customer needs,” Mike explains. By facilitating the process and experience of residents, enlisting technical consultants to provide deep energy, financing or processing management expertise, “NHS can quickly build and easily manage program sustainability.”