First Energy Efficient Healthy Homes Conference is Well Received

Daniel J. Meyer, Ag Engineer Field Specialist, Northeast Area

Problem Statement

The cost of home heating fuel is going up 30 to 50 percent this winter.  This can be a severe hardship on many people with limited incomes.  Typical homes lose about 40 percent of their heat through infiltration or air exchanges.  Homeowners can overdo tightening up their homes so there is insufficient air exchange in the home.  This can lead to higher humidity and condensation on windows and walls and mold problems.  A second problem is builders, realtors and others in the building trade do not have time to go back to school for an update on training which may involve weeks or months of classroom time.  They need a crash course in home energy issues update.  Most home shows do not have many in-depth seminars.
Programmatic Response

Extensions response was to put together an afternoon and evening program for a multiple county audience in a populated area with various residential housing topics that pertain to reducing winter fuel bills such as optimal insulation levels, adequate ventilation, safe carbon monoxide levels, energy efficient construction techniques and  mold prevention and remediation.  A total of ten speakers presented information.  Attendees were given the opportunity to get continuing education credit from Iowa State University for an additional fee.  The program was also pre-approved by the Iowa Realtor Commission for realtor education credit.  This conference was supported financially by a mini-trade show of 13 exhibitors with parallel themes to the conference and through a grant from the Iowa Energy Center.  The conference was aimed at realtors, home owners, county healthy officials, builders, apartment managers and educators in the home energy arena.  The conference information was put out on radio programs, in newspapers, through direct mailings to builders and realtor offices in a 20 county area especially in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area where the program was held.

A total of 49 people were registered for the conference.  Ninety-four percent of the nineteen evaluators said they would recommend the event to a colleague.  These evaluators on a scale of 1 to 5 gave the conference an average of 4.32 for addressing the issues advertised, 4.1 for providing useful materials for future reference, 4.32 for having knowledgeable speakers, 4.53 for having speakers using effective presentation skills, and 4.26 for responding to questions and issues effectively.  The clients who filled out evaluations  were 52 percent builders or builder employees.  This involves a multiplication factor which is what I was hoping for in attendance.  Starting up a new program area with in-depth training is new to builders.  The power points and papers presented will be summarized and presented at county home energy meetings this winter in NE Iowa and on radio programs.  My 20 county CEEDs got a copy of the conference materials so they can help answer clients home energy questions this winter.

October 26, 2005
150 -- Environmental Stewardship

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