Income-eligible clients (limit of 60% of the State Median Income) may apply for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) through their regional Community Action Agency. Applications are taken at the same time as the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program as part of a joint application process. Make sure to ask the staff person for a Weatherization Card or Referral Form if you are interested in the program. For the Energy Assistance intake site near you, call 2-1-1. Priority is given to households that are particularly vulnerable, such as the elderly, persons with disabilities, families with children and high energy users.
The WAP program is able to remediate barriers only to the extent listed below. Deferrals will be referred to the Statewide Weatherization Barriers Remediation Program (WxBRP) that was developed in 2021. WxBRP was established as a three-year barrier remediation program that is targeted to remove health and safety barriers in 1,000 CT homes. Health and safety deferrals from utility-managed energy affordability and Connecticut WAP will be fed into the barrier remediation program.
COMMON BARRIERS AND REMEDIATION FUNDING AVAILABLE THROUGH WAP
The following information is excerpted from the CT-WAP-Operations-Manual-Revised-6-17-21.pdf
Many homes contain asbestos, which was widely used into the late 1970’s because of its fireproof quality and excellent insulation properties. In products such as pipe wrap, the material can become friable, meaning it destabilizes into microscopic particles when damaged which, when inhaled, can cause serious health problems such as pulmonary fibrosis and mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer that occurs in the chest and abdominal cavities. Any and all costs related to exterior sidewall insulation procedures where asbestos siding is present must be charged as part of the Energy Conservation Measure (ECM). General abatement of Asbestos siding materials or related replacement materials is not an allowable health and safety cost.
A range of electrical issues may arise in the process of weatherizing a house when installing insulation in an attic or in sidewalls where outdated, overloaded or deteriorated electrical circuits may pose a hazard. Typical issues to look out for include: · Uncapped junction boxes · Frayed or exposed electrical wiring · Live knob & tube style wiring · Overloaded circuits · Improper use of extension cords · Recessed can light – always consider to be non-insulation contact canned lights · Other exposed wiring at lighting fixtures, switches and outlets, fans · Electrical problems with fans, blowers, thermostats on combustion appliances
Funding may be used for CT licensed electrical inspection and repair of electrical hazards if such hazards might be made worse with the installation of weatherization measures, would prevent the effectiveness of the work, or present a danger to weatherization crews. Such costs must be reasonable and are limited by the funds available for each unit and require prior state approval in all cases.
Indoor Air Pollutants (VOCs and Formaldehyde)
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products. Funds can be used to remove pollutants if they pose a risk to workers and the cost is not prohibitive. Prior State approval is necessary before removal of VOCs may take place.
Lead exposure can lead to poisoning, especially in young children and pregnant women. Household paints used before 1978 are presumed to contain lead. Paint chips or dust from lead-containing paints can be inhaled or ingested, which can lead to lead poisoning. Crews working within these areas of pre-1978 dwellings must assume that lead paint is present and take precautions to prevent contamination of themselves and clients. The USDOE Minimum Standards: Must follow EPA Lead, Renovation, Repair and Painting Program (RRP) when working in pre-1978 dwellings, unless approved, certified testing confirms the work area to be Lead free. Only costs directly related with the testing and lead safe practices for surfaces directly disturbed during weatherization activities are allowable Health and Safety costs. Testing methods must be certified, approved, and economically feasible and justified in all cases.
Water and excessive moisture in a unit can cause health and safety issues ranging from structural deterioration to formation of dangerous mold and mildew. To the extent that water problems will interfere with effective weatherization, or will be worsened by a measure, the underlying problems must be addressed prior to any weatherization work. High levels of indoor relative humidity (over 60% for an extended period of time) encourage increased growth of molds and germs. The health effect of mold spores can be exacerbated by weatherization because of the reduction in air flow throughout the unit resulting from air sealing activities.
The sources of water and moisture problems vary greatly. They can be caused by excessive ground-water penetration, poor drainage, poorly graded grounds, roof leaks, deteriorated guttering, leaky plumbing, and inadequate ventilation. Evidence of health and safety issues resulting from these problems is determined by the Auditor conducting a moisture assessment on all units. This assessment will check for the following conditions:
The following actions are allowable health and safety measures related to water and moisture under Connecticut WAP, Including, but not limited to: Drainage, gutters, down spouts and extensions, flashing, sump pumps, dehumidifiers, landscape, leaking roofs, vapor retarders, moisture barriers, etc. Limited Water Damage: work that can be addressed by weatherization workers is allowed when necessary in order to weatherize the home and ensure long-term stability and durability of the installed measures. Source Control: correction of moisture and mold creating conditions when necessary in order to ensure the long-term stability and durability of the installed measures. Surface Preparation: where weatherization measures are being installed, and must be charged as part of the installed ECM.
Funds may be used to mitigate the cause of water or moisture conditions (Source Control) where weatherization will further impact health and safety risk to occupants, or will threaten workers. To the extent that the specific moisture is related to the weatherization work, reasonable mitigation of the causes of the problem may be considered health and safety work by the weatherization installer.
Mold testing is not an allowable Weatherization cost. Mold Cleanup is not an allowable health and safety measure.
Pest removal (cockroaches, mice, rats, mites, and others) is an allowed cost only where infestation would pose a health hazard to the worker and prevent weatherization. Screening of windows and points of access, and incorporating pest exclusion into air sealing practices to prevent intrusion is an allowable cost.
Radon and other dangerous soil gases generally enter homes by seeping up through the ground. Radon is an inert gas, which means that it does not react or combine with the elements in the ground. Because of this, radon gas can move up through the soil into the atmosphere, where it is easily diluted. However, when it enters a building constructed on top of this soil, it can build up and become a health concern. Studies have shown a link between breathing high concentrations of radon and incidence of lung cancer. WAP funding cannot be used to mitigate radon.
Current EPA documentation provides a map of Radon Zones in CT in accordance with the Indoor Radon Abatement Act of 1988 (IRAA). The CT map displays 3 color-coded zones of radon potential. Zone 1: (Red) is listed as the highest potential area to encounter residential radon exposure. (Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London Counties). Zone 2: (Orange) is listed as moderate potential. Zone 3: (Yellow) is listed as low potential. Based on EPA reporting, Radon testing should be recommended in any home weatherized in CT Zones 1 and 2. Testing may be recommended in Zone 3 homes if the auditor determines that site conditions warrant further examination.
In some instances, minor structural repairs may be made to accommodate weatherization measures. “Minor repairs” are funded under Incidental Repairs and included in the overall SIR of the package of measures.
Although not all vermiculite contains asbestos, some vermiculite products that contain asbestos were made until the early 1990s. Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral composed of shiny flakes, resembling mica. When heated to a high temperature, flakes of vermiculite expand as much as 8-30 times their original size. The expanded vermiculite is a lightweight, fire-resistant, and odorless material and has been used in numerous products, including insulation for attics and walls. Sizes of vermiculite products range from very fine particles to large (coarse) pieces nearly an inch long. WAP funding may be used to address encapsulation of Vermiculite by appropriately trained Asbestos control professionals, provided testing performed by AHERA Certified sampling confirms the presence of Asbestos.
The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) administers the LIHEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program) fund for the federally. The funds are used for bill payment and energy crisis assistance but a certain percentage of the funds may also be used for weatherization and energy-related repairs. To be eligible for this benefit program, you must also have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below 60 percent of the State Median Income.
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