Brett Wiley is the Lead Organizer of the Strong Homes Program.
Since we began our community engagement work around energy efficiency in D.C. nearly three years ago, we've found that one of the biggest barriers to community members weatherizing isn't even cost: It's information.
Sorting through the different types of services, the alphabet soup of technical terms that need to be deciphered in order to evaluate a business’ services and record of experience delivering quality work at a reasonable price can be overwhelming.
One role that our program plays is helping community members separate the wheat from the chaff.
We hope that by demystifying the weatherization process and explaining key terms, we can provide communities the resources they need to move forward with investing in energy upgrades.
There’s some crucial information about the very first step in the weatherization process – energy assessments – that all communities should know: Not all energy assessments are the same.
Some assessments lack important tests that take into account the health and safety of a home and its residents.
How can you know whether an assessment includes health and safety tests?
A Building Performance Institute (BPI)-certified assessment is becoming the industry standard. For example, the contractors with whom we partner cannot begin installing energy upgrades without a full assessment of a home's energy usage, drafts, health and safety.
Since the launch of our work, Strong Homes Program participants have received BPI-certified assessments. These evaluations are crucial for ensuring the air inside a home is healthy and your gas appliances are working properly. This helps reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses like asthma.
The District Department of the Environment's free energy assessment program for D.C. residents does not offer BPI-certified assessments. If you completed a DDOE free energy assessment and would like to move forward with recommended upgrades, email Ayla (
) your electronic report. We’ll review it for recommendations and help you participate in one of our projects, which include BPI-certified assessments.
If you have not completed an energy assessment or upgrades, sign up to participate in the Strong Homes Program - making your home comfortable and healthy while saving you money on your project and energy bills.