More local residents are benefiting from the Weatherization Assistance Program in Puerto Rico, where some 259 homes are splitting an investment of $439,446 this year, Economic Development and Commerce Department Secretary Manuel Laboy announced.
The current number represents 131 additional homes that will benefit, in comparison to those on record for the years 2017 and 2018, when the Energy Public Policy Program — run by Economic Development — disbursed $366,031 in WAP funds, he said.
The Home Weatherization Program is aimed at reducing energy consumption reflected in the electricity bill, with the installation of electronic equipment and efficient measures in homes, free for the applicant.
An additional $400 million from the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG–DR) Program will “soon be allocated” to Puerto Rico to address energy issues, he said.
Air weatherization that takes place in homes, through WAP, consists of replacing: compact fluorescent light bulbs for LED; refrigerators with more efficient ones; air conditioners for more efficient units; shower heads; swapping electric heaters for solar heaters; and electric clothes dryers with more efficient models, among others.
Projects to mitigate problems related to health and safety, such as installing alarms that detect high levels of carbon monoxide are also included. In addition, there is education on topics such as energy conservation and presence in the home of fungus, mold and lead, among others.
Eligibility for this program is based on the income of all household members and people who do not pay fixed rates for electricity. Applicants must be over 18 and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be the dwelling’s owner or tenant with written permission from the owner, among other requirements.