Special to the New Journal and Guide
Dwight and Ivy Byers live in a 100-year-old home, but recent upgrades have it feeling like new.
Winter temperatures cooled the aging house like a freezer. Summer temperatures warmed their residence like a furnace. Their energy bills fluctuated because of the extreme conditions, and eventually they fell behind on payments.
With seven children, and one on the way, the Byers looked for ways to save on their bill.
That’s when the couple reached out to Dominion Energy for assistance through its EnergyShare program. For 40 years, EnergyShare has helped about 900,000 eligible families with bill pay assistance.
In 2015, the program expanded to provide energy efficiency upgrades through a process called weatherization. More than 21,000 people have benefited from that portion of the program.
A crew of Dominion Energy volunteers and contractors installed attic insulation, new shades, and weatherstripping, which will help the couple conserve energy.
The family also received a new energy efficient refrigerator and HVAC repair. Volunteers spruced up the home with new paint, fencing, and landscaping.
The weatherization renovations can save the family up to 30 percent on their energy bill.
“This is going to make a great difference in our lives,” Ivy Byers said.
This project and another one in Virginia Beach were a part of a collaboration with the Something in the Water music and community festival. Louise Hill, who lives in Windsor Oaks, said she appreciated the help.
At Hill’s home, the EnergyShare team replaced a leaky roof, performed weatherstripping, installed new insulation, and provided a new fridge.
Hill and her husband live with six family members, some of whom have physical limitations. They were grateful to get work done they can manage now but couldn’t have implemented alone.
“If someone had come in and given me a hot water heater – because ours wasn’t that efficient anymore – that would have been enough. But this is way beyond anything we expected,” Hill said smiling. “I didn’t realize how much hope I had lost but I am really beginning to take some pride in the fact I live here.”
Nikki Taylor, program manager for EnergyShare, meets with each family and works with a team to conduct an energy audit to determine the home’s needs.
The upgrades help to make the homes run more smoothly, but they also help families during their most challenging times.
“This is no cost to the homeowner,” Taylor explained. “We just want to make sure that folks in the community that might need a little assistance – whether it be their home being more energy efficient or covering the cost of their utility bill – know that we have a program here called EnergyShare where they can come and get some help.”