The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program has opened an application round for Puerto Rico homeowners looking to qualify for lower energy bills by installing efficient equipment.
The program is overseen locally by the Department of Economic Development and Commerce’s Energy Public Policy Program.
“We urge citizens who meet the established requirements to request to participate in the Home Weatherization Program, which seeks to contribute to reducing consumption and electricity bills by installing electronic equipment and efficient measures in homes, with no cost to the applicant,” Department of Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel Laboy said.
The Puerto Rico Public Policy Act establishes the need to comply with a renewable energy portfolio to achieve a minimum of 40% renewable energy use by or before 2025; 60% on or before 2040; and 100% on or before 2050.
“This time, we can assist up to 150 families through this initiative to contribute and be able to achieve the established goals,” Laboy said.
The at-home WAP initiative calls for replacing: All lighbulbs to LED; refrigerators and air conditioning units for more efficient ones; shower heads; and swapping electric heaters for solar units. Work is also done to mitigate health and safety issues, such as installing alarms that detect high levels of carbon monoxide. The initiative also calls for educating on topics such as energy saving, the presence of mold and lead in the home, among others.
The head of the local program, Yan Carlo Oquendo, said eligibility for the Home Weatherization Program is based on total household income.
“Households whose income is equal to or less than 200% of the poverty level established by the U.S. Department of Energy are eligible. The owner or tenant of the property may apply,” he said.
The program will give priority to families with elderly residents, those with disabilities, and families with children.
Through the federal program, the residential sector contributes to the metrics under the energy law of reaching 30% of energy efficiency by 2040, he said.