Southwest MN

UCAP provides In-home education and energy savings for those in need

February 2020

Weatherization service providers are on the front lines when it comes to assisting under-resourced community members with lowering their energy bills and keeping their dwellings affordable, comfortable and safe.

United Community Action Partnership (UCAP) shows how a little bit of seed funding for in-home one-on-one visits mixed in with traditional utility and governmental dollars can lead to big results. 

It ended up being a win-win situation for everyone involved with the project. It helped educate our clients on energy conservation and partnered with other energy saving programs.

Jeff Gladis, Housing Director at UCAP

The project helped to ease the burden of energy costs for twenty low-to-moderate-income households in UCAP’s southern service area.

By doing in-home, one-on-one visits, UCAP personnel were able to ascertain which programs and funding streams they could best match with the client they were meeting with. Then, after the home energy counseling was completed, they partnered with local utility providers and also used their own weatherization and energy assistance programs to provide appliance replacements, weatherization and energy saving services to these homes.

Results: Six of the twenty households received extensive weatherization services through their program. All twenty households received energy counseling on a one-to-one basis from UCAP staff and participated in local utility-sponsored Conservation Improvement Programs (CIPs). The county breakdown for projects completed was:

  • Cottonwood County – 2 households
  • Jackson County – 2 households
  • Lincoln County – 5 households
  • Lyon County – 7 households
  • Redwood County – 4 households

Here are some great before and after shots from a home energy visit:







Follow up surveys with their clients showed very positive results. Beyond the thank yous, when asked “Have you noticed a reduction in your kWh usage reflected on your bill, many circled “Yes.” Added notes included:

  • “$10 less per month”
  • “A little bit—$93-$107”
  • “Bills were over $400, and now are $225”
  • “Down to $103 monthly, used to be $115-$125”
  • “About $30 less per month, then dropped another $20 after insulation from weatherization”
  • “Absolutely—$22 down per month”
  • “Budget billing went down”
  • “Better amount—varies between $20-$50”

National outreach: Jeff recently presented about the project at  the National Community Action Conference in New Orleans. “The discussions have been well received and I feel that there will be other organizations that model their outreach efforts after this program.”

  • Technology: Low-Cost/No-Cost Upgrades, Behavior Change, Building Insulation & Sealing, Lighting Upgrades, Heating or Cooling Equipment, Energy audits
  • Southwest CERT Seed Grant: $5,000
  • Total Project Cost: $100,811
  • Other Funds: Weatherization funds, utilities providing appliances and light bulbs
  • Project Team: Jeff Gladis, Zac Blomme, Gloria Robles and Darren Struck, UCAP
  • People Involved and Reached: 166
  • Annual Energy Savings: 354 MMBTUs (heating) and 30,729 kWh

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