Weatherization involves protecting a building from the elements and modifying it to reduce energy consumption and optimize energy efficiency. Although newly constructed dwellings using “tight” construction techniques already incorporate weatherization features, older and poorly constructed buildings, particularly low- and middle-income housing, have the highest need for weatherization. This informational blog aims to educate a multi-family audience – general contractors, owners, architects, engineers, designers, and property managers of apartments, dorms, senior living, military barracks, hotels, and other group housing – about weatherization. We will address which dwellings need weatherization, its benefits, government support, companies providing weatherization services, and the need for dehumidification as part of weatherization.
The Importance of Weatherization in Older and Poorly Constructed Buildings
Older and poorly constructed buildings, especially low- and middle-income multi-family homes, often lack the energy efficiency features found in modern “tight” construction, making them prime candidates for weatherization (1). According to the Brookings Institution, “Weatherization is intended to improve the energy efficiency of homes, which is distinct from comprehensive home repair and rehab” (2). By focusing on these buildings, weatherization efforts can significantly reduce energy consumption, lower energy costs, and improve living conditions for occupants.
The benefits of weatherizing older buildings go beyond energy savings. Weatherization can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve indoor air quality, and increase the durability of a building’s structure by preventing moisture-related damage. Additionally, weatherization in multi-family homes can have positive impacts on the health and well-being of residents, as a more comfortable and stable indoor environment can alleviate issues such as respiratory problems and temperature-related stress.
Certified Weatherization Specialists
Weatherization contractors should be certified specialists, as many states require this certification for eligibility in government-funded programs (3). These professionals possess the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively weatherize older and poorly constructed buildings, ensuring that the weatherization process is both safe and efficient.
Certified weatherization specialists undergo rigorous training and education to stay current with the latest building science principles, technologies, and best practices. They are equipped to assess a building’s unique needs and develop customized weatherization strategies tailored to the specific structure. These specialists not only focus on energy efficiency improvements but also consider occupant health and safety, indoor air quality, and building durability.
By engaging certified weatherization specialists, property owners and managers can ensure their buildings receive comprehensive, high-quality weatherization services. This investment not only helps reduce energy consumption and lower costs, but also contributes to creating a healthier, more comfortable living environment for occupants.
Government Support for Weatherization
Government support is crucial for weatherization, particularly in low- and middle-income housing. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded millions of dollars in funding for weatherization and efficiency programs, highlighting the importance of federal assistance in bridging critical gaps in energy efficiency (4). Programs such as the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) help low-income households reduce energy consumption and lower energy costs, further emphasizing the need for government support in weatherization efforts (5).
Dehumidification as an Integral Part of Weatherization
As weatherization improves a building’s energy efficiency by sealing airflow, it is essential to recognize that this sealed environment can lead to increased humidity levels. Historically, airflow allowed humidity to escape; however, with modern sealed buildings, humidity no longer has an escape route (6). Activities such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, and even breathing can cause humidity to rise to problematic levels.
Excessive indoor humidity can result in several issues, including the growth of mold and mildew, structural damage, and health problems for the building’s occupants. Therefore, incorporating dehumidification into the weatherization process is vital to maintaining a comfortable and healthy living environment.
As experts in humidity control, Innovative Dehumidifier Systems understands the importance of addressing humidity issues in conjunction with weatherization efforts. Their IW25-4 in-wall and on-wall dehumidifier is specifically designed to tackle humidity challenges in sealed buildings. The IW25-4 is a compact, energy-efficient, and low-maintenance solution perfect for multi-family residences undergoing weatherization improvements.
By installing the IW25-4 dehumidifier as part of the weatherization process, property owners and managers can ensure that their buildings remain energy-efficient while providing a comfortable and healthy living environment for occupants. Innovative Dehumidifier Systems’ expertise in dehumidification and their advanced IW25-4 solution demonstrate the critical role dehumidification plays in comprehensive weatherization efforts.
Weatherization is crucial for enhancing energy efficiency in older and poorly constructed multi-family residences, particularly low- and middle-income housing. Certified weatherization specialists play a key role in ensuring the process is effective and safe. Government support is essential for funding weatherization efforts, and incorporating dehumidification as part of the process ensures a healthy indoor environment for occupants.
Brookings Institution. (2021). Weatherizing homes could be one of the most vital legacies of Biden’s infrastructure plan. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2021/04/22/weatherizing-homes-could-be-one-of-the-most-vital-legacies-of-bidens-infrastructure-plan/
Brookings Institution. (2022). The U.S. needs better, more accessible home weatherization programs. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2022/10/10/the-u-s-needs-better-more-accessible-home-weatherization-programs/
Alliance to Save Energy. (n.d.). Congress is shaking up a program that makes low-income housing more livable. https://www.ase.org/blog/congress-shaking-program-makes-low-income-housing-more-livable
Utility Dive. (2022). DOE awards weatherization, efficiency funding; federal assistance ‘critical’ to bridging gaps. https://www.utilitydive.com/news/doe-awards-weatherization-efficiency-funding-federal-assistance-critical-gap/627136/
U.S. Department of Energy. (2021). Weatherization Assistance Program Fact Sheet. https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2021/01/f82/WAP-fact-sheet_2021_0.pdf
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Energy, Weatherization and Indoor Air Quality. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/energy-weatherization-and-indoor-air-quality