The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) applauds Governor Josh Shapiro for highlighting the importance of weatherization, energy efficiency, and the health of our families and communities during his Pennsylvania 2024/2025 budget address. The Whole-Home Repairs Program will provide funding for county-wide agencies to address habitability and safety concerns, provide measures to improve energy or water efficiency, and make units accessible for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, this program provides funding to PA counties for construction-related workforce development, meaning family-sustaining jobs across our state’s communities. Governor Shapiro’s $50 million investment in this program will be instrumental for all Pennsylvanians, especially our children.
Energy burden is a critical issue facing many Pennsylvania homeowners. Pittsburgh is ranked 6th highest in the nation for households struggling with energy burden and 2nd among minority households. In Philadelphia, low-income households spend an average 23% of their household’s income on utilities alone. Due to these high utility costs, as well as high repair costs and deferred maintenance, many Pennsylvania homes reach dangerously low temperatures in the winter and dangerously high temperatures in the summer. It is clear that weatherization and energy efficiency upgrades are essential, not only to defending the health of our children and vulnerable loved ones, but also for delivering financial stability.
$14,148 is the average total health-related savings for each weatherized unit.
- Residents with asthma reported fewer hospitalizations and ER visits
- Residents experienced fewer “bad” physical and mental health days
- Children in the household missed fewer days of school
- Household members reported fewer allergy and cold symptoms
“There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and rain.” (Isaiah 4:6)
Heating and cooling are important, but clean air and clean water are also a biblical mandate. Shelter can only defend us from air and water pollution if we have the right tools, like those delivered in the Whole-Home Repairs program. Even so, no one person can control the air outside their home. We need policies that advance clean air for all Pennsylvanians–such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)–and address the root of the problem. The fees collected from policies like RGGI could be reinvested in new family-sustaining clean energy jobs, efforts to reduce household energy bills through energy efficiency and direct bill assistance, and programs to help workers and communities affected by past coal plant closings.
As highlighted by Governor Shapiro, climate-smart solutions are economic boosts to Pennsylvania, advancing new innovations and creating family-sustaining careers. As we move forward on investing in these programs and policies, we at EEN support the Governor and his initiative to ensure a safe climate, clean air, and thriving environment to defend the health of all Pennsylvanians.