Officials learn how best to use energy funds

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 31, 2005

VIDALIA, La. &045; Chances are, your house isn’t as energy efficient as it could be, but a group of men and women from across Louisiana is learning how they can change that.

Representatives from all 64 Louisiana parishes were in Vidalia Monday for the start of the conference, which runs through Thursday.

The conference is designed to help contractors and government workers understand regulations on weatherizing and the best way to utilize funds from the Department of Energy and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Programs, two government programs that provide assistance to homeowners to lower their energy use and thus save money.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;It keeps us abreast of new rules and regulations to make homes energy efficient,&uot; Dorothy Oliver said.

Oliver, executive director of the LaSalle Community Action Association, Inc. headquartered in Harrisonburg, La., is putting on the conference. The Louisiana Housing Finance Agency directs money from the federal programs to community agencies like LaSalle, Oliver said.

Training sessions include learning about the top priorities for energy efficiency, basic building science and a hands-on lesson Wednesday with a mobile home moved on-site for attendees to work on.

&uot;With this, we can address measures to reduce energy consumption,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;It’s a whole house approach so it’s more effective. We’re here to get on top of the latest techniques and tools to weatherize homes.&uot;

The conference is designed to give attendees a broad understanding of weatherization techniques for use in a variety of settings.

&uot;We have such a varied housing stock here in Louisiana, we want to be able to help out everyone,&uot; Johnson said.

This conference will also serve as something of a warm-up for the National Weatherization Conference, which Louisiana is hosting Sept. 25-27 in New Orleans.

Joe Parker, a Concordia Parish police juror and local contractor, was one of those attending the conference.

&uot;We’re learning everything to do with energy today,&uot; Parker said.

Some of the measures are simple. Replacing an old inefficient refrigerator or making sure a house has proper insulation can make a huge difference in energy consumption, Johnson said.