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1.11.12 “Clean Energy Community” Funding Awarded to Howard County Housing Commission

January 11, 2012

Media Contacts:
Kevin Enright, Director, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
Tom Carbo, Acting Director, Howard County Housing, 410-313-6318

“Clean Energy Community” Funding Awarded to Howard County Housing Commission

MEA grant supports installation of energy efficient appliances in Orchard Crossing units

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced today that the Howard County Housing Commission was recently awarded $45,000 through the Maryland Energy Administration’s (MEA) EmPOWERing Clean Energy Communities. The Low-to-Moderate Income Grant Program will replace outdated refrigerators and water heaters with energy efficient models in Orchard Crossing Townhomes, a 36-unit community owned by the Housing Commission and located in Columbia.

This is the second year Howard County has been successful in securing EmPOWER grant funding. In 2011, Morningside Park, an affordable senior housing community in Jessup, received a grant that subsidized the upgrade of individual HVAC units that had low operating efficiency. The installation of the new units has resulted in a 24% reduction in electricity consumption to date.

“While energy costs are constant across all income levels, the savings yielded from more energy efficient appliances can make a significant difference to low-income households,” said County Executive Ulman. “I am proud of the synergistic team approach the Office of Environmental Sustainability and the Howard County Housing Commission has taken to support our broader effort to reduce energy usage for residents.”

Although the Howard County Housing Commission owns Orchard Crossing Townhomes, residents are responsible for their own utility bills. Refrigerators and water heaters, appliances which operate year-long, are among the top five energy-consuming household appliances, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Replacing outdated appliances with energy efficient alternatives takes a big bite out of monthly utility bills,” said Tom Carbo, Acting Director of the Howard County Housing Commission.

“The EmPOWER grant reduces the cost of implementing these important energy efficient upgrades and, in turn, helps us preserve affordable housing in Howard County,” added Carbo.

The EmPOWER Maryland initiative is funded through the Strategic Energy Investment Fund (SEIF). SEIF funds come from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and the statute requires that 50 percent of all energy efficiency funds be used for low-to-moderate income Marylanders.