Weatherization workers are trained in the house as a system approach. The Energy Department's Weatherization Assistance Program funded technical assistance as part of Connecticut's Health Impact Assessment project. | Photo courtesy of Weatherization Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center
The Energy Department’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is helping Connecticut reach its weatherization targets while maintaining health and safety. With $44,000 from the Energy Department and technical assistance from the WAP-funded Healthy Homes Initiative, the state community action association and one of its member agencies developed and released a rapid Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to assist the state in maximizing positive health outcomes and reducing potential negative impacts on health when working toward its energy goals.
The project could serve as a model of collaboration for other state weatherization programs and involved key stakeholders, including the state government, utilities, healthy homes programs, and Weatherization Plus Health -- which provided technical assistance -- to develop the HIA. As a result of this collaborative effort, the state association and community action agency involved, Connecticut Association for Community Action (CAFCA) and New Opportunities Inc. (NOI), have made two presentations about the HIA to the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board. The board will next advise and assist the state’s utility companies in developing and implementing comprehensive and cost-effective energy conservation plans, transforming Connecticut’s growing energy needs.
The development of the HIA has led to CAFCA and NOI to successfully compete for a $250,000 grant from the Connecticut Department of Social Services to be used for two pilot field demonstration projects. The projects will study the impact of asthma-related and fall-prevention measures on the process of delivering weatherization services.
Recognizing the potential success of the HIA, Governor Dannel Malloy recently signed a special order to explore sources for state funding that would allow it to be implemented throughout the state to improve the health and safety of its residents.
Through projects like this one, WAP continues to help residents and providers of low-income energy services work together to access solutions to housing problems and take efficient and healthy measures which will save energy and energy costs for individuals.