Southwest Missouri has many homes that are more than 60 years old, built before the knowledge we have now with regard to building codes, safety practices and cleaner, more efficient air systems.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program was created originally to assist low-income families who lacked resources to invest in energy efficiency; however, it has grown to so much more. Weatherization is based on local partnerships that help leverage weatherization services. Weatherization impacts American businesses, families and workers, and is made in America.

Economic Security Corp.’s weatherization partnerships with private businesses, manufacturing companies and local utilities have provided a huge, flexible base for our weatherization activities in Southwest Missouri. Here are a few examples of weatherization work we were able to do because of our business partnerships:

• We were able to replace a leaking roof, which is not an allowed expense with weatherization. But because of our partnerships this was fixed, which allowed us to weatherize the home.

• Another home needed an electrical upgrade so we could install an energy efficient heat pump HVAC system.

• Using weatherization’s partnerships allowed us to install a sump pump in a home that didn’t have one. Why is this important? It reduced the home’s moisture problem and also allowed weatherization to air seal under the house and insulate the floor.

Partnerships with utility companies, home improvement stores, home repair projects and utility assistance programs allow weatherization to provide a more comprehensive solution to keep Southwest Missourians safe and warm.

In Southwest Missouri, our most vulnerable neighbors pay more than 28% of their income toward energy costs. ESC weatherizes 103 homes annually. Over the last 10 years, 1,030 homes are keeping Southwest Missourians warmer. This is an energy conservation solution for our public- and privately-owned utilities that helps keep energy costs down for our communities.

Weatherization programs also hire American workers and contractors. Materials purchased from local businesses support their employees. Staff are professionally trained, efficient and treat your home as their own.

Weatherization makes a difference in our communities’ housing stock, energy-related conservation methods and buys American products.

Every $1 received for weatherization from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is leveraged with approximately another $1.96 from local businesses, public utilities and other resources. This is almost a $2 to $1 match, locally.

What a lasting investment for Southwest Missouri.

Ryan Peterson is weatherization director for the Economic Security Corp.

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