A green initiative backed by the Western New York Apollo Alliance is bringing together union members, clean energy activists, and volunteers in an effort to weatherize the homes of low-income residents in Buffalo. The 2010 Home Energy Conservation Kit (HECK) project will ultimately bring energy and financial savings to 50 homes in the city’s Seneca-Babcock Neighborhood. “Energy costs are rising and this is not a stop-gap measure. We’re hoping everyone sees value in it and that it works to bring about a heightened level to improve energy-efficiency within older homes,” said a representative from United Steelworkers District 4 – one of the organizations taking part in the project. In past years the program has received money from Albany, but the state’s current budget crisis caused HECK to lose the majority of its funding. But a diverse group of doners came together this year to fill the financing gap. National Fuel contributed 150 home weatherization kits to the cause as well.
Weatherization efforts across the country have been an important part of America’s economic recovery. As of June, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) had helped 31,000 homes undergo energy retrofits while creating or retaining 13,000 jobs. WAP has benefited from Recovery Act funding, and holds the number 8 spot in terms of jobs created by Recovery Act investments. Apollo strongly supports weatherization efforts as an important route to economic recovery, job creation, and energy conservation.