Getting ready for winter

Saturday, September 27, 2014
Citizens News
Waterbury, CT

Program weatherizes apartment complex in Naugatuck

The coming winter will be a warmer one for residents of the Lewis Circle Apartments.

Free weatherization upgrades are currently being done at the low-income apartment complex run by the Naugatuck Housing Authority. The upgrades are being made through the Home Energy Solutions program, which is run by Connecticut Light & Power and Yankee Gas. The program brings specialists into homes to determine what upgrades are needed to make it more efficient and helps make the improvements.

Naugatuck Housing Authority Christine Warren reached to the utilities to see what can be done at the complex. She said she wanted to ensure the 80 residents of the apartments are comfortable this winter.

“We wanted to do it because the tenants are paying for their own heat and electricity. So any savings is going to help them,” Warren said.

Energy Efficiency Spokesperson for CL&P and Yankee Gas Enoch Lenge said the weatherization can save residents hundreds of dollars on their utility bills.

“We calculated, between electric savings and natural gas savings, the savings they will see on their bills will be about $550 per year,” Lenge said.

Lenge knows for residents of the apartments the upgrades will represent more than just saving money.

“Part of the living conditions here is you want to make it more comfortable for a resident. So that’s a huge benefit they will see,” Lenge said.

The project isn’t costing the residents or the borough any money, according to Warren. Waterbury-based New Opportunities, a community action agency, is doing the work. The work on the complex’s 32 apartments continued Tuesday.

Richard Lindsay, lead technician with New Opportunities, was in one apartment Tuesday afternoon running a series of tests. He started by checking the windows and the roof. He made sure there was venting for the bathroom, checked for any mold issues and performed a blower door test, which shows where any air leaks are coming from.

Once the workers figured out where the leaks were in the apartment, they immediately set to fixing what they could.

Denise Clark, who lives in one of the apartments that was being worked on with her two young children, said winters have become almost unbearable.

“It’s really cold in here. The floors are ice cold, especially the kitchen floors. The doors are drafty. Underneath the kitchen cabinets you could feel the cold air coming in,” Clark said.

Clark said when she does turn on the heat to a reasonable temperature downstairs the upstairs becomes extremely hot because all the heat flows up there.

“We just deal with it. We wear sweatshirts and slippers downstairs and tank tops and shorts upstairs,” Clark said.

Clark is hopeful this winter will be different with the upgrades.

“I’m excited. I hope it lowers my electricity bill and gas bill. I’ll notice the difference,” Clark said. “I’m just hoping it will make everything more comfortable this year. We were fighting with the radiators all winter long, trying to figure out how to get the heat right.”

Work has already been finished on Patricia Ferraiolo’s apartment.

“I appreciate it. I love it. I think it’s the greatest thing in the world. I like how they seal everything and give us new lights,” Ferraiolo said. “It’s a good opportunity for people who are trying to save. Especially with this economy.”

Lenge said this program is available to all Connecticut residents. The cost is $99 for those who do not qualify for the income-eligible program, he said. All of the work done in the house is included in that cost, he said.

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