Energy Audits by Leading NC Environmental Firm Helps Low-income Tenants

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The economic stimulus package of 2009 is having a dramatic impact for many families living in low-income housing. Energy audits provided by Environmental Solutions Group are helping focus upgrade efforts on high-impact utility saving measures for over 500 units in three states.

Occupants of low-income housing face greater challenges than most Americans, especially when it comes to energy costs

The economic stimulus package of 2009 is having a dramatic impact for many families living in low-income housing. Energy audits provided by Environmental Solutions Group are helping focus upgrade efforts on high-impact utility saving measures.

"Occupants of low-income housing face greater challenges than most Americans, especially when it comes to energy costs", said Steve Armstrong, one of the energy analysts with Environmental Solutions Group. "Most low-income housing contains extremely inefficient heating & cooling systems, windows and insulation. It is common for tenants to receive energy bills that surpass their monthly rent", Armstrong explained.

In addition, government studies show that older and poorly maintained units often have leaking faucets and pipes that waste water. Along with higher water bills, moisture leaks often cause building materials to become damp, which in turn attracts pests and leads to health issues such as asthma and allergies.

Environmental Solutions Group has recently completed energy analysis audits in North Carolina, Georgia and Texas that will lead to utility improvements in 590 low-income housing units. Partnering with Property Solutions, Inc., ESG has been conducting audits that provide property managers with clear directives on how to improve their buildings by obtaining assistance through state and federal weatherization grants.

"The improvements will provide occupants with healthier and more energy efficient residences. Once the upgrades are made, occupants will save money on their energy bills while reducing carbon emissions. The added benefit of a healthier home will also reduce medical bills", said Craig Whittaker, Manager at Environmental Solutions Group. "The upgrades will also provide jobs for insulators, HVAC contractors and plumbers" added Armstrong.

The energy audits conducted by Environmental Solutions Group examine the effectiveness of insulation, windows, HVAC, plumbing, water heating and sprinkler systems. "The audit process looks at current utility bills and makes a prioritized list of recommendations for energy and water efficiency", said Armstrong, who also conducts energy audits for the EPA's ENERGY STAR Homes program. "We provide each property with a payback analysis so they know how quickly the improvements will pay for themselves", Armstrong continued.

Environmental Solutions Group has also found that the personal contact with occupants allows their analysts to also make recommendations about lifestyle changes. "We have found that most people living in low-income housing want to know what they can do to save money and live healthier lives", said Whittaker.

Since 2000, Environmental Solutions Group has been providing environmental and energy analysis services to residential and commercial clients. For more information, visit http://www.esgtesting.com.

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Craig Whittaker
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