Q: Can you recommend a good "green" contractor?

A: We cannot recommend one contractor over another, but Keystone HELP (Home Energy Loan Program) has a list of approved contractors who meet qualifications to do energy efficiency work in Pennsylvania.

Q: Do you do energy audits? Can you refer someone?

A: We only conduct energy audits for Weatherization Assistance Program and Utility Program clients but the Building Performance Institute (BPI) and Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) have lists of certified providers. Please check the Weatherization Assistance Program eligibility guidelines and request an application if you qualify.

Q: Where can I find funding for energy efficiency upgrades at my properties?

A: Search for incentives, grants, loans, rebates, and tax credits at DSIRE™. Also look to local and national foundations that support efforts for sustainable practices.

Q: What are the best practices for achieving sustainable living in existing affordable housing?

A: Best practices vary by building type, location, age, use and more, but many standards have been set by nationally recognized organizations. Learn more.

Q: Where can I receive training to do weatherization work?

A: In Pennsylvania there is a requirement for all Weatherization Assistance Program providers and contractors to utilize state certified employees. Training is available at local Weatherization Training Centers throughout the state. You can find training locations at www.pct.edu.

Q: Why do you want personal information for my Weatherization Assistance Program application?

A: As a federally-funded program, the Weatherization Assistance Program has established strict rules regarding topics such as income-eligibility and prioritization. Agencies and applicants must comply with all regulations in order to provide or receive service.

Q: How does LIHEAP and other funding effect my eligibility?

A: LIHEAP (Cash and Crisis Assistance) recipients are priority clients for the Weatherization Assistance Program and therefore may have approved applications processed before non-LIHEAP recipients, subject to available funding.

ACTION-Housing operates the Weatherization Assistance Program for the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Washington, and Greene counties. The Weatherization Assistance Program is a federally-funded program that provides eligible homeowners and renters with free-of-charge weatherization services, which refers to the process of reducing the amount of air infiltration into and out of the home. This process should improve energy efficiency, reduce heating and electric bills, and make the home a more comfortable place to live. In 2011, we spent over $10 million to weatherize 1,990 households. No liens or encumbrances are ever placed against the property.

To be eligible for the program, you must:

  • Meet certain income eligibility requirements (see table below)
  • Live in a City of Pittsburgh Ward, Allegheny County, or Washington or Greene counties.
  • Have lived in your home for three months and be able to provide us with three months of utility bills.
  • If you do not own your home, you must have the approval of the home owner to seek weatherization services.
  • Complete the entire weatherization application.
  • Be willing to allow us to perform our services on the property as we deem necessary.

2017-2018 Weatherization Income Eligibility Guidelines

Family Size

1 Person

2 Person

3 Person

4 Person

5 Person

Additional

Yearly Income

$24,280

$32,920

$41,560

$50,200

$58,840

Add $8,640

For an application, please contact the appropriate person below:

Mulitfamily Information for Allegheny, Mon Valley, Washington and Greene Counties, please contact:
Ken Provlic
Administrator
(800) 841-6899
kprovlic@actionhousing.org

Allegheny County and City of Pittsburgh residents, please contact:
Mitzi Shannon
(412) 281-2102 x2101
mshannon@wea.actionhousing.org

McKeesport and Mon Valley residents:  please contact:
Lu Ethel Nesbit
(412) 678-8622 x 124
lnesbit@wea.actionhousing.org

Washington and Greene County residents, please contact:
Joy Satcho
Toll Free: (800) 841-6899
(724) 483-2399 x 201
jsatcho@wea.actionhousing.org

 

The Energy Conservation Enterprise helps multifamily affordable housing building owners reduce costs by improving energy efficiency.  The program is designed to preserve affordable housing by keeping utility costs low and improve air quality while reducing multifamily buildings’ environmental footprint by minimizing energy use.

We can help find the best energy-saving investments in your building. The Energy Conservation Enterprise will assist every step of the way:

  • Find cost-effective energy saving investments
  • Obtain low-cost financing
  • Oversee construction
  • Follow up to ensure savings

Energy Assessment

ACTION-Housing Energy Conservation Enterprise staff will conduct a complete energy assessment of your building that includes an examination of utility bills and a comprehensive building analysis.  The analysis includes an interview with the building operator and a visual and diagnostic inspection of the building envelope, public areas, a representative living space and the mechanical systems, including HVAC, hot water and lighting equipment.

Financial Guidance

The Energy Conservation Enterprise can help you assemble low-interest financing to implement our recommendations, including utility rebates.

Construction Oversight

Energy Conservation Enterprise staff will assist you throughout the construction process, from developing a plan to implement our recommendations and reviewing bids from contractors to scheduling and monitoring installation work, plus everything in between.

Annual Performance Monitoring

The Energy Conservation Enterprise will review your energy bills and provide an annual performance report. If your building is not performing as well as anticipated, we will perform building tune-up.

The Energy Conservation Enterprise operates in Western Pennsylvania.

For more information, and to submit an application, contact Christov Churchward at (412) 281-2102 x2057 or via email at cchurchward@actionhousing.org


Energy efficiency, water conservation, and healthier living issues seem so commonsense now, but looking back a few years, few affordable housing developers and managers had the time or inclination to deal with them. Now, with the growing interest in "greening,” the recognition of the financial impact of utility deregulation, and the understanding of the toxicity in many building and cleaning materials, building owners have started to ask how they can improve their properties.

Beginning in 2007, ACTION-Housing introduced environmental thinking into all of our development activities, including existing multifamily affordable housing, new multifamily and single family housing, property management, and tenant education. While initially focused on our own properties, ACTION-Housing readily embraced the idea of extending our efforts to other developers through collaborations, education and shared resources.

One of our main focuses is introducing Passive House standards into our affordable housing projects. The “Passive” design, originally developed in Germany, doesn’t require any solar cells or complicated mechanisms to reduce energy usage — instead the savings come from the building and design specifications that reduces energy usage by 80-90 percent over conventional construction.  Typical Passive House building techniques include: 1-foot thick insulation, triple glazed windows, a very small furnace (large ones are unnecessary due to the thick insulation), energy recover ventilators, and correct building orientation to maximize solar heat gain.

In addition to promoting and building to Passive House standards on many of our new developments, we work to minimize our water impact, use energy efficient appliances, and use healthy, non-toxic building materials. 

Passive House + Affordable Housing

ACTION-Housing is proud to coordinate an effort between affordable housing developers and the Passive House Institute United States (PHIUS) to introduce the Passive House standard into affordable housing projects. The effort between PHIUS and the six other members of the Housing Partners Network will see at least seven Passive House standard houses built in a variety of climates and cities around the United States. For affordable housing developers, keeping utility costs down isn’t just green — it’s economical.

The seven housing partnership network members taking part in this collaboration are:

ACTION-Housing, Inc., Pittsburgh PA
Aeon, Minneapolis, MN
BRIDGE Housing, San Francisco, CA
REACH Community Development, Portland, OR
LINC Housing, Long Beach, CA
Gulf Coast Housing Partnership, New Orleans, LA
Hispanic Housing Development Corp., Chicago, IL

For a rundown of sustainability initiatives at our recent developments, please click here.

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Environmental sustainability is a top priority at ACTION-Housing.  We have focused on energy efficiency and environmental issues since the early 1980’s, but now, Green thinking is an integral part of every project we do.  Some of our green programs are:

Weatherization

Home weatherization is essential for homeowners to achieve energy use reductions. ACTION-Housing works with the US Department of Energy to provide free air sealing and furnace work for qualified low-income applicants in order to lower utility bills and help create a healthy home.

Sustainable Development

Energy efficiency, water conservation, and healthier living issues seem so commonsense now, but looking back a few years, few affordable housing developers and managers had the time or inclination to deal with them. Now, with the growing interest in "greening" the recognition of the financial impact of utility deregulation, and the understanding of the toxicity in many building and cleaning materials, building owners have started to ask how they can improve their properties.

Beginning in 2007, ACTION-Housing introduced environmental thinking into all of our development activities, including existing multifamily affordable housing, new multifamily and single family housing, property management, and tenant education. While initially focused on our own properties, ACTION-Housing readily embraced the idea of extending our efforts to other developers through collaborations, education and shared resources.