There is a type of poverty you may have never heard of – fuel poverty. Households that cannot afford to keep the home adequately warm or cool are considered to be experiencing fuel poverty. According to the Department of Energy, heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use.
For seniors living on low, fixed incomes, often in older homes that commonly lack proper insulation or weatherization, keeping up with the cost of electricity or gas can become a serious financial strain. Many low-income families are forced to make budget trade-offs in warmer months to pay off utility debt accumulated during the winter. Having a lower income is associated with a greater risk of temperature-related death, particularly for older adults. Heat and cold can challenge the ability to maintain a stable core body temperature, which heightens a person’s vulnerability to illness.
Since 2019, we have partnered with Window Nation to provide new, energy efficient windows for four local families in dire need of window replacements. Before these families received their new windows (along with several other critical repairs), they all shared concerns with high heating and cooling bills as well as the drastic fluctuations in the temperature of their homes due to the weather conditions. The existing windows were as old as their 1940s homes and were presenting issues with security, maintenance, and the elements. “Being a disabled vet, it’s that much better because my income […] I couldn’t afford to have done it. I already feel like it’s warmer in here,” said Mr. Adams, one of the recipients of the new windows this year. Thanks to the generosity of Window Nation, these families are now living comfortably without the financial burden and associated health risks of drafty old windows.