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Money available to replace HVAC systems in homes

August 31, 2010|By DAN DEARTH

A Williamsport nonprofit organization has been awarded $1.5 million from the Recovery Act to weatherize homes in Washington and Prince George's counties.

Tim Kenny, executive director of C & O Conservation Inc., said the organization will use the money to replace inefficient heating, ventilating and air-conditioning units in the homes of low-income eligible families.

"We'll make corrections to make things more efficient," Kenny said. "It's great for us because it will allow us to hire more contractors and put people to work."

The grant was part of nearly $90 million in awards that were announced across the country last week to expand the Recovery Act's existing weatherization programs, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Energy. It is estimated that families can save up to $400 per year after new HVAC units have been installed.

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Kenny said families who qualify for C & O Conservation's services can receive up to $6,500 of assistance, but being eligible doesn't guarantee they'll receive the full amount.

"All homes are completely different and handled on a case-by-case basis," he said.

C & O Conservation has serviced nearly 500 homes since it was established six years ago, Kenny said. Although the recent grant will allow the organization to replace inefficient HVAC systems, C & O Conservation usually tackles different weatherization projects, such as installing attic, floor and wall insulation.

Kenny said he doesn't know how many homes in Washington County would qualify to receive assistance from the grant until they're checked by an inspector.

C & O Conservation will design its projects in-house and subcontract the installation work to local HVAC businesses, Kenny said.

He said extra work created by the grant probably would cause C & O Conservation to hire more employees, but he wasn't sure whether those jobs would stay around after the money runs out.

"I can't say whether they will go away or they won't," said Kenny, adding C & O Conservation could retain the positions if it gets more public funding to pay for other projects.

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