According to a 2016 report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, low-income Pittsburghers spend 9.5 percent of their paychecks on energy costs. The national average is 3.5 percent.
The Grassroots Green Homes program, which helps people make their houses more energy efficient, is launching in Homewood this weekend. It is grant-funded and free for participants, eliminating financial barriers to decreasing one's carbon footprint.
This is the second round of the program, according to Alison Steele of Conservation Consultants Inc., which runs the program. In 2016, Grassroots Green Homes began in Oakland and Uptown, working with more than 300 homeowners.
"After one year of participation, we compared their usage during the program year to their usage the year before," Steele said. "We saw a 15 percent reduction on average in their daily usage."
Homewood's program will follow the same pattern as the first iteration. Each month, Grassroots Green Homes will provide a tool and a tip to the 300 enrollees.
"We're starting this Saturday with the first tool of the program, which is a refrigerator coil cleaning brush," Steele said.
A second program within Grassroots Green Homes called Home Boost will financially support 20 households in receiving contract work to their homes. Steele said contractors will perform weatherization work such as sealing drafts and adding insulation, as well as check for radon levels and lead paint. Ultimately, this will decrease energy bills for the participants.
The Homewood program runs through next April.