Applications taken for energy efficiency grants Saturday

Published 4:30 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Homeowners residing in Port Arthur’s El Vista and Vista Village areas will have an opportunity to make their houses more energy efficient Saturday by applying for a Lighthouse Project grant during a workshop facilitated by the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission and the Port Arthur Environmental Justice Coalition.

The workshop is scheduled from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday at the Lakeside-Palomar Community Center, 5700 Cambridge Ave.

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“We want to encourage people to take advantage of this,” John Beard, chairman of the Environmental Justice Coalition said.

The Lighthouse Program was established in 2005 as a Supplemental Environmental Project to assist Port Arthur residents, with the emphasis on those in the West Side, Pamela Lewis, program manager, said.

Funding for the Lighthouse Program is derived from fees assessed local industry for air emissions violations. In this case, Flint Hills Resources entered into a consent decree with the EPA in connection with the operation of three steam-assisted flares.

As part of the agreement, Flint Hills opted to set aside $350,000 for the Lighthouse Program.

To qualify for household energy efficiency improvements administered through the program, a homeowner must be at least 60 years old, and/or disabled. The home must be owner occupied. Homeowners must prove homeownership by providing a copy of their deed or mortgage. A tax assessor’s bill will not suffice.

Because there are income limits, everyone in the home must provide verification of their income.

Other factors to be considered when awarding the Lighthouse grant is the home’s age and condition, whether there is existing HVAC and ductwork or window air conditioner units.

Ductwork will not be installed in a home where none exists. Homes with roof problems or those badly out of level are not candidates for the program. Plumbing work, or electrical wiring, unless it is necessary to replace the air conditioner, will not performed.

Any work done cannot exceed $20,000 or 50 percent of the home’s Jefferson County Appraisal District value and must the energy efficiency of the home.

Since the Lighthouse Program was started, 167 houses in Port Arthur have been made more energy efficient.

“I think there are quite a few people in these areas that will qualify,” Beard said. “The homes in El Vista and Vista Village are older, and many of the people are elderly.”


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