Weatherization Plus Health (Wx+H)

The Washington State legislature in 2015 expanded its investment in healthy, safe and energy efficient low-income weatherization to include improvements that help children and adults combat asthma. This new initiative is called Weatherization Plus Health. In its pilot phase from 2016 to 2017, $2.3 million has been dedicated to eight grant projects around the state. Pilot projects will be finishing their initial work in June 2017, with program evaluations expected by the end of summer 2017.

Weatherization Plus Health combines energy and cost-saving weatherization improvements with measures that help to improve the home environments for children and adults with asthma. The model utilizes community health education partnerships to provide client recruitment, assessment, and intensive home education and follow-up. This strategy is proven to reduce health risks and healthcare costs for vulnerable families.

WEATHERIZATION PLUS HEALTH PILOT EXPERIENCE

picture of worker blowing insulation into a home, funded by weatherization assistance program

With 16 months of pilot project experience, we've had a chance to develop community health partnerships and to test our models on the ground in eight locations around the state. Our unique services have been well-received by appreciative low-income households struggling with the burdens of high energy bills and family members suffering from asthma and COPD.

Although every community's needs are a little different, we've focused on providing a common set of measures, including; Green Cleaning Kits, dust mite covers, walk-off mats, carbon monoxide detectors, HEPA vacuum cleaners, carpet removable and floor replacement, moisture and mold reduction, ventilation improvements, gutter and downspout repair and replacement.

Our pilot projects with over 500 households through eight local weatherization agencies around the state will be wrapped up by July 1, 2017. The WSU Energy Program will be documenting the impacts and challenges of our models, and will help us evaluate our options for future Weatherization Plus Health work. We expect to have results of that study completed by the end of summer 2017.

Weatherization Plus Health - Early Success

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Mr. Shaw is a senior citizen with a disability. He spent his life working very hard to support himself and now survives on Social Security and disability income. When we first met, he was gasping for breath just sitting and talking with me. Getting up and moving about the home to show me some of his concerns with his home was taxing on him, evident from the wheezing and his eventual excusing himself to go sit back down. His house was in very bad shape, and so was his respiratory health. Read more...

June is Healthy Homes Month

Governor Inslee has proclaimed June Healthy Homes Month, highlighting the need to keep indoor air free of mold, pests and allergens that cause asthma and other respiratory diseases. Commerce’s Weatherization Plus Health is helping low-income families reduce asthma triggers and home energy bills.  Our partnerships with community health educators help make this important work successful.

Read Governor Inslee's proclamation.

Healthy Homes Month Resources

Weatherization Plus Health Resources

Facts About Asthma in Washington State

Low-income families experience more asthma.

Children have the highest rates of asthma.

164,000 emergency room visits for asthma in 2010.

$73 million per year for asthma hospitalizations; public funds pay for 60 percent.

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