INTRO: The political election season was exhausting. Politicians knocked on doors to get votes and power. Dozens of suburban Detroit mayors have been knocking on doors to GIVE POWER BACK to the people. Electric power that is. Heating and cooling efficiency. And savings on monthly bills. The statewide program called Better Buildings for Michigan will get you an energy audit for $100. Michigan Now’s Chris McCarus wandered into one downriver community racing to help as many residents as possible. He produced this report without narration.
“It’s a great sunny day. Wonderful day to be walking the neighborhoods. Our residents here are very stable. The housing stock is stable. And we would just like to give them the opportunity to see how energy efficient their homes are and improve. As a city we’ve been doing everything we can municipal wise. But now with this grant program we’re able to pass that on to our residents.”
(Knock on Door)
“Hi. How are you today. Joseph Kuspa. The mayor of the city of Southgate? We’re just in the neighborhood here. We want to make sure you’re aware of the Better Buildings program going on, the energy audit that’s available to Southgate residents. Have you heard about it?” Mayor Kuspa asked.
“Yeah my daughter had it but I wasn’t in the loop,” said Pam Petrarca. “I wasn’t allowed.”
“Yes initially we had just a certain amount of homes but it’s been expanded to the entire city. Is it something you might want to take advantage of?” said Kuspa.
“Why wouldn’t I?” said Ms. Petrarca. “I think it’s a great idea. I really do. Tell me what I need to do to make my house better. That would be great. We’ve replaced the siding and the windows and doors. But you never know.”
(Sound of neighbor next door in his ‘60’s mowing the lawn)
“Good afternoon Joseph Kuspa.”
“Art Sobiechowski nice to meet you.”
“Hi Art. Nice to meet you. We’re here in the neighborhood. We’re touting the Michigan Better Buildings Program.”
“This is my wife Joanne.”
“Hi Joanne. Joseph Kuspa. We qualified for a grant that’s available to all Southgate residents. So they’re going to make our homes more energy efficient. So for a fee of getting an energy audit done you’ll be able to see where your home is regarding energy savings.”
“Why don’t you come on in instead of standing out here,” Sobiechowski said.
(grandfather clock sounds)
“Come right in the kitchen. Or the living room,” Ms. Sobiechowski said.
“I worked for Edison for 40 years,” said husband Art. “I thought I got my house all the way as it should be. Insulation in the attic. I put new windows in. I’ve done a lot of things. My garage is insulated. But I would still like to know if my house is up to par. Everyone would like to know that because no matter what you think it’s best to have someone that’s professional to put the infrared on it and see if we have some leaks.”
(they walk down into the basement)
“This is my workshop. I do stained glass. She never comes down here except for washing. I don’t mind it down here. Kids played the drums and grand kids played the drums. We have a good time down here. You see through the years I put insulation on the foundation for drafts. There’s not much else I can do. I put foam in everywhere. I put glass windows in.
“On the budget it’s $185. That’s electric and gas. At night we turn the thermostat down to 60 and we open our window at night in the bedrooms. I like a cold bedroom. And during the day it’s probably 68.
“Everyone worries about global warming. It’s climate change. I just think we all have to do more to help the earth here. If we can save a few bucks here and there that’s what we gotta do,” Sobiechowski said.
“We’re at 183 and we’re second right now to Sterling Heights,” said Mayor Kuspa. “So we want to be the first to 200 homes to participate in this program. That’s why I’m out here touting the program and seeing whatever residents might be interested.”
Joanne Sobiechowski tells the mayor, “I’m convinced. Absolutely. We’ll do it. One, two, three. Next week. Today!”
ANCHOR TAG: This state of Michigan run program ends December 31. You pay $100 for about $350 worth of goods and services. To get a licensed contractor to come to your house anywhere in Southeast Michigan, click on http://mihomeenergy.org/