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Weatherization programs crucial for Delaware winters

Get your house weatherized, it's easy, free if you qualify, and will save you a lot of money while making you more comfortable in your home, summer and winter.

It was a long, cold winter in Delaware. The entire East Coast has been pounded with winter storms and freezing temperatures over the last few months, making residents from Maine down to Atlanta pray for the early arrival of spring. Heating our homes is crucial during these cold storms, but in the case of power outages or even high electricity rates, this can be a challenge.

Home weatherization is an excellent way to insulate and efficiently heat a house during cold winter weather. Delaware’s two programs – the Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program and Energize Delaware – both offer financial assistance to Delaware residents who want to seal and insulate their homes. These efficient and effective energy saving weatherization programs are largely funded by revenue earned from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – the country’s first market-based program that sets a cap on emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants.

Through implementing these two programs and by initiating clean energy and energy efficiency projects on buildings across the state, RGGI has helped save more than $38 million in energy costs in Delaware, $1.6 billion across all involved RGGI states, and has reduced CO2 emissions by nearly 800,000 tons. Direct benefits can be felt and seen all over the state. For example, the University of Delaware built a green roof using RGGI proceeds. Students can now enjoy a more comfortable work environment in science labs, where temperatures used to reach 86 degrees during class. With the new Energize Delaware incentive program, companies are actually competing to increase their energy efficiency, and those who win are getting money back. And RGGI-sponsored programs, like Delaware’s Sustainable Energy Utility, has issued nearly 16,000 rebates for new, energy efficient household appliances. Collectively, these rebates will save Delaware residents more than $360,000, and cut over 3 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

Energy efficiency is an incredible tool for strengthening Delaware and our nation in numerous venues; by conserving energy, weatherizing homes and creating local jobs. Delaware has one of the highest energy consumption per capita ratings in the country, and one of the quickest and cheapest methods of reducing our state’s energy consumption is by conserving what we have and lowering the cap on carbon emissions.

Despite recent comments in Delaware and claims that lowering the cap would make energy prices skyrocket, the historic data proves RGGI has delivered real economic benefits to every state in the region. Lowering RGGI’s emission cap would spur more economic progress, since efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest way to meet the energy demands of a growing state economy. For RGGI to continue to attract new investment while creating a cleaner more efficient, and more reliable power system, a tighter RGGI cap on carbon emissions must be protected.

The bottom line is this: RGGI is working. Setting a cap on greenhouse gas emissions for electricity generators has helped cut carbon dioxide pollution while spurring economic development and saving money for the businesses and families of our state. Tightening RGGI’s cap will keep the momentum going, and the amount of extra costs will be offset by reinvested RGGI funds. That would be good for the nation, good for the Northeast, and good for Delaware.

Jack Sol-Church 12:17 a.m. EDT March 22, 2014; edited by Mark Perri, 2016-05-02