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News Room

This is the latest news from SCCAP. For more information, please contact Doug Wilson, Director of Communications and Development at doug@insccap.org.

EnergyBus to promote energy conservation and weatherization

The EnergyBus, a former Head Start bus owned by the South Central Community Action Program, is a collaborative project of SCCAP and the Monroe County Energy Challenge (MCEC), a broad coalition of community organizations collaborating to reduce energy use.

Some people have no idea how much money they could save through weatherization and other home energy conservation measures.   

And many people don’t know where to get started. What can they do themselves to save energy? What relatively small investments can they make that will return the most in savings of energy and money?

A new EnergyBus, funded through an Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority Innovative Grant, will soon be rolling in Monroe County to help local residents discover answers to these questions as they receive hands-on education in weatherization and home energy conservation.

The EnergyBus, a former Head Start bus owned by the South Central Community Action Program, is a collaborative project of SCCAP and the Monroe County Energy Challenge (MCEC), a broad coalition of community organizations collaborating to reduce energy use.

The Energy Challenge was created in response to the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a nationwide, two-year energy savings competition. MCEC is one of 50 communities competing to see who can reduce their electricity and natural gas use the most during the 2015-2016 competition period, by using innovative, broad-reaching methods. The winning community will receive $5 million in prize money to further promote energy efficiency projects in the community.

The EnergyBus project builds upon an earlier idea to create a Monroe County EnergyMobile, a Toyota Prius, that’s used by MCEC staff and volunteers for transporting and delivering energy efficiency materials, travel to perform free home energy audits and basic weatherization services, and participation in community events. The EnergyMobile, wrapped in the same colorful design as the EnergyBus, was funded through a 2015 Vectren Foundation grant to SCCAP.

Monroe County Energy Challenge volunteers -  who had seen a similar vehicle or two at national energy conservation events - but not in Indiana.  came up with the idea for the EnergyBus as part of the planning for a 2015 IHCDA Innovative Grant application. The idea was met with enthusiasm by Energy Challenge partners and volunteers

A $50,000 IHCDA Innovative Grant helped SCCAP pay for renovation of the bus and for launching a Weatherization Training Program that provided skills to low-income participants so they could develop job skills and become involved in the Energy Challenge’s community outreach and weatherization activities.

SCCAP hired long-time high school industrial arts teacher Terry Quigley to provide 12 weekly training sessions. Topics included alternative energy, assessment and blower door use, attic insulation, energy efficiency pyramids, mold remediation, sealing windows, solar energy, thermal camera use, water conservation and weatherization overview.  Since the weatherization training ended, Quigley is facilitating the program’s graduates in helping the Energy Challenge to promote energy conservation at community events and to provide basic weatherization in homes.

Quigley is also working with MCEC staff and volunteers in planning and building the interactive weatherization and energy conservation stations to be offered inside the EnergyBus. Stations will engage participants to learn about and in some cases practice such measures as caulking windows and door frames, weatherstripping doors, insulating an attic or water pipes, using an infrared camera and installing a programmable thermostat.

The EnergyBus will be available to the public at community events, neighborhood weatherization blitzes, schools and businesses such as hardware stores. After the EnergyChallenge is over at the end of 2016, SCCAP will continue to use the bus as part of its energy education initiatives in Brown, Monroe, Morgan and Owen counties.