Civic Works created the Retrofit Baltimore program to make it easier for homeowners in Baltimore City to make weatherization and energy efficiency improvements to their houses. Lowering the monthly costs of utilities is critically important to strengthening the financial well-being of low-income families, lessening the need for government utility bill-pay assistance, reducing the likelihood of utility turn-offs, and lowering the environmental costs of energy production and distribution.
In 2014, Civic Works received a competitive funding award from the Maryland Energy Administration for expenses related to the home energy improvements and weatherization work of Retrofit Baltimore. Combining these funds with BGE utility rebates, Civic Works was able to deploy a total funding pool of $372,790 to assist low income households. Through December, 2014, Civic Works completed 151 energy audits and provided 66 households with comprehensive home energy-efficiency services. Through the work, Retrofit Baltimore built a waiting list of 70 households who had completed energy audits and were requesting weatherization improvements.
In order to address current demand and increase the number of households receiving energy audits and energy retrofits, Civic Works received a grant from the Abell Foundation in December 2015 to expand staff capacity.
Retrofit Baltimore staff intends to work with partner energy efficiency contractors to complete 400 energy audits and energy-efficient weatherization improvements for 243 households in 2015. The investments are expected to increase household savings on electricity and gas utility expenses by a cumulative amount of $117,000 in the first year alone. The work will complement the Baltimore City weatherization program by addressing households with annual incomes less than $35,000 a year for a family of four, and will expand demand for energy-efficiency and weatherization contracting to increase the number of workers trained and employed in the field.