By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE — Keeping a feud going can seem like a waste of energy. But not this one.
The neighborhoods near Garfield and McKinley streets will face off in coming months to see who can go greenest as part of the Department of Municipal Services’ Save a Watt in Wyandotte Campaign. The campaign is funded by $4.3 million in state and federal grants.
Residents of the neighborhoods can sign up for free energy audits with WMS and Franklin Energy. After identifying areas to improve, the program will offer low-interest for loans for green home improvements and double rebates on energy-saving measures and equipment.
Residents then can earn points for energy upgrades like installing duct sealing or energy-efficient appliances. The neighborhood who racks up the most points in two months will win bragging rights on energy upgrades to a yet-to-be determined community building.
The neighborhood challenge will begin with a presentation for the two neighborhoods at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of Theodore Roosevelt High School.
“Our goal is to get everyone keyed up so they’re ready to go,” Municipal Services General Manager Melanie McCoy said. “I want Wyandotte to have the best results for all the sweeps in the state.”
The program is part of an initiative from a state grant called Better Buildings for Michigan, which came with $300,000 for energy improvements. The neighborhoods were chosen because representatives there wrote letters of support that helped the department secure the grants, McCoy said.
The department also received a $3.8 million federal Energy Efficiency Conservation Block grant, which it will use for the energy updates for houses throughout the city this summer. The state also received the grant, which it used to create “sweeps” in neighborhoods throughout Michigan, including Wyandotte, McCoy said.
The program has three steps. First, residents sign up for the free energy audit conducted by Franklin Energy and can get some energy-saving devices, like light bulbs, aerators and shower heads installed. Second, they get a blower door test, which the program will offer for a reduced price of $50 after a $50 credit to the customer.
The final step is to cash in on the double rebates offered for energy-saving equipment and the 1.99 percent low-interest financing for qualifying home energy upgrades.
“It’s a great program for homeowners,” auditor Laurie Limbers said. “Most homeowners don’t know what they need to do to be more energy efficient.”
To sign up for a free energy audit residents can call (855) 674-9926.