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State's low income weatherization program expands to multi-family housing

Dennis Schroeder
National Renewable Energy Lab
(Photo: Dennis Schroeder/National Renewable Energy Lab)

Michigan is expanding its program that provides energy-efficient home upgrades for low-income residents.

The program will include energy efficiency upgrades for multi-family housing now, as well as single family homes.

Maddy Kamalay is the weatherization manager for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

She said low-income people often struggle with very high energy bills, often because they live in older buildings.

She says it's a similar process to weatherize a single family home and a multi-family building.

"Things that are our primary energy savers in general in weatherization are air sealing - so reducing air leakage from the inside of the home to the outside of the home - and insulation. You would be surprised to find out how little insulation some buildings in Michigan have," she said.

Other upgrades can include furnace and refrigerator replacement.

To be eligible, the weatherization project has to primarily benefit the renters, not the owner of the unit.

The state's weatherization program has an annual budget around $22 million, and this year, there is an additional one-time appropriation of $183 million.

Kamalay says the funding may make it possible to weatherize hundreds of units every year over the next five to ten years.

Copyright 2023 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

Tracy Samilton covers the auto beat for Michigan Radio. She has worked for the station for 12 years, and started out as an intern before becoming a part-time and, later, a full-time reporter. Tracy's reports on the auto industry can frequently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as on Michigan Radio. She considers her coverage of the landmark lawsuit against the University of Michigan for its use of affirmative action a highlight of her reporting career.