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Weatherization Training Center Awarded Funding

A Pennsylvania College of Technology initiativethat trains weatherization and home energy professionals has received $206,000 in federal funding for the 1998-99 academic year.

The Weatherization Training Center offers a full range of training courses for individuals employed by nonprofit agencies or county and city governments providing home energy conservation assistance to elderly and low-income clientele. A training venture of the College’s Technology Transfer Center, the center is the only one of its kind in a five-state region. Since its inception in 1985, it has trained nearly 4,300 individuals from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, Delaware, and Washington, D.C.

“This highly specialized and unique facility has and continues to provide an important link between energy conservation professionals throughout the region and is an ever-expanding source of information and education for its participants,” commented Bill Van der Meer, Weatherization Training Center coordinator.

The monies awarded to the program come from the U.S. Department of Energy, Weatherization Assistance for Low-Income Persons Program, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and are administered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development.

Supplementing the Weatherization Training Center’s operating costs is $42,590 in program revenue under the Building Energy Conservation Act (Act 222), bringing its total project cost to $248,590. Last year, the center entered into an agreement with the Manufactured Housing Division of the DCED to perform energy inspections on new homes under the act. In the first year, 61 homes were inspected. Act 222 inspections involve the gathering of data to determine if a builder has included the energy saving features into a home as required by law. It is anticipated up to 80 homes will be inspected by Weatherization Training Center staff during the current year. Also during the past year, the center has focused efforts on informational literature. A homeowner’s informational brochure regarding Act 222 was produced. Staff also authored the first edition of the “Weatherization Field Standards” for the DCED. The document has been implemented throughout the state for use by agencies administering weatherization programs. It contains minimum standards, guidelines and technical procedures for assessment of heating systems and building shell air tightness. The center has been charged with generating additional chapters on other technical issues during the current year. As well, staff will be authoring an “Inspection Protocol” document explaining a step-by-step process for performing Act 222 inspections.

Among specific programs offered by the center are building shell diagnostics, mobile home weatherization, and computerized energy audit training. Those who gain training through the initiative include weatherization field technicians and coordinators, home energy auditors, state weatherization field representatives, private contractors, public utility conservation staff, and HVAC inspectors.

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