Spring 2019
The Rhode Island Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) helps income-eligible households reduce heating bills by providing whole house energy efficiency services to households that qualify for our Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Services include installing insulation and providing health and safety measures such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, draft reduction and proper ventilation.
WHAT'S NEW

We are excited to welcome new employee Ramon Lantigua to the DHS Weatherization team!

Prior to joining DHS, Ramon performed single and multi-family energy audits as a Home Energy Professional for 9 years. A part of Ramon's responsibilities as a senior resource specialist at DHS includes performing assessments of weatherization work in the field. He makes sure that the work being done is timely, efficient, and following state and federal guidelines. Included here are some photos of Ramon performing his work on-site in Providence. By using diagrams of the house via his iPad, he is able to observe all aspects of the site weatherization project and alleviate any issues that the contractors may face.

A final step, Ramon mentioned, is to perform what is known as "Blow Door Testing". During this step, the house is sealed at every door and window and a large fan uses optimal pressure to create a wind flow through the house, allowing Ramon to discover any possible leaks in the insulation. Of greatest importance to Ramon is that the work is done accurately and in compliance with the state and federal regulations.

Thank you Ramon for sharing the importance of weatherization field work!

Also, our 2018-2019 State Plan has been submitted to the federal Department of Energy (DOE) for its approval.
GET TO KNOW THE WEATHERIZATION TEAM

FRED SNEESBY - Administrator
Fred is the Administrator for Family & Children Services at DHS. He oversees the contracting management process and the following grant programs: Community Services Block Grant, Social Services Block Grant, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Weatherization Assistance Program, Family Violence Prevention and Services Grant, the Emergency Food Assistance Program, and the Refugee Resettlement Grants. Fred also acts as the State Refugee Coordinator. He has been with DHS for 8 years.

JULIE CAPOBIANCO - Chief Program Development of Low Income Programs
Julie is responsible for the day to day operations of WAP. She has been at DHS for 5 years and prior to that she worked at the state Department of Administration. Overall, Julie has worked in weatherization for 10 years! Some facts on weatherization she would like to point out include the following:
  1. RI weatherizes approximately 1,200 homes per year
  2. Energy savings due to weatherization average 35% of consumption for the typical low-income home
  3. For every $1 invested in the program, weatherization returns $2.51 to the household and society. $1.80 is returned in reduced energy bills and $.71 is returned to ratepayers, households and communities.
  4. Weatherization saves $437 in heating and cooling costs year after year at current prices.

JOHN COSTELLO - Senior Resource Specialist
John is a senior resource specialist on our weatherization team who has been with DHS for 5 years. He reviews all aspects of weatherization projects, including the computerized energy audit. He conducts inspections of the work in progress by contractors and ensures the quality of work is completed according to program guidelines. John is a primary resource for sub-grantees.

DENNIS LOPES - Senior Resources Specialist
As a senior resources specialist, Dennis' duties include monitoring current work for the sub-grantees, giving technical advice to the CAP auditors and troubleshooting heating systems. He also mediates issues between the contractors and CAP auditors when necessary, ensures the WAP vehicles are maintained and evaluates inventory. Dennis started with the State in 2000 has been a weatherization monitor for approximately 10 years.

RAMON LANTIGUA - Senior Resource Specialist
As a senior resource specialist for the program, Ramon is the liaison between DHS and the sub grantees working in the field with contractors. He provides a plethora of technical guidance and assessment. Before joining us at DHS, Ramon worked at the Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP) as a Home Energy Professional for nine years. There, he was performing single and multifamily energy audits as well as Appliance Management Program to the utility company.

WEATHERIZATION HOTLINE
401-462-3030/ dhs.wap@dhs.ri.gov

In line with current standardization initiatives within the DHS weatherization program, communication cannot be overlooked. Over time, each member of WAP has formed lines of communication that run parallel to one another. Information coming in and out of the program is often in a silo, and prevents the distribution of best practice information to all. 
We have a solution for that: a Weatherization Hotline, and it will be piloted on July 1 . While the process is still being mapped, it will include the phone number and email address above that will be monitored during regular work hours only. 

The program coordinator and secondary program staff will monitor the hotline, and all incoming business requests will be disseminated to the appropriate technical staff. 
TECHNICAL CORNER

To aid in the effort of streamlining the auditing and monitoring processes, our funding partners have agreed with the use of a mobile iPad application for the Hancock Energy Efficiency Tool (H.E.A.T.).

Adding this technology to the overall process will eliminate some duplicity and allow for the uploading of photos and measurement data directly into The HEAT tool. Ramon Lantigua is leading the charge to implement the new enhancement throughout the program over the summer.
SPOTLIGHT: STEVE CALISE

Congratulations are in order to Steve Calise, who was recently approved to perform federal Department of Energy (DOE) audits without DOE direct approval. Steve works at Blackstone Valley CAP, and has worked diligently to prove his professional skill and acumen of the standards of the energy efficiency industry.   
PROGRAM IMPROVEMENTS

The DHS weatherization team oversees the six Community Action Program (CAP) Agencies that helps provide energy efficient improvements to households of qualified residents throughout Rhode Island. With continuous improvements, we will have a consistent delivery of quality service that aligns with the state and federal standards.

Historically, each CAP agency is responsible to the WAP for delivering these life-changing services to customers - and the outcomes have varied. The final product is based upon assessed need that is verified using a complex auditing process. CAP agency auditors often utilize our senior resource specialists as interpreters of the many statutes and regulations related to the process, and it has resulted in mixed results due to individual opinion and personal experience. It has now become a priority to create and document new, standardized procedures for the different types of efficiency audits. 

Fred Sneesby, with the support of Paul Salera, (President of the CAP Executive Director Association, CEO of West bay CAP), have organized a Weatherization Standardization Committee to spearhead the effort of streamlining the auditing process . Yvette Mendez, DHS Deputy Director - External Affairs, will oversee the committee. Members of this committee represent each CAP agency and WAP management to ensure diverse, but relevant voices. Sponsors and Members of this committee include:

STANDARDIZATION COMMITTEE MEMBERS:

Fred Sneesby - RIDHS Administrator, Family and Children Services
Paul Salera – CEO Westbay CAP
Julie Capobianco – RIDHS Chief Program Development Officer, WAP
Jonathan Rascoe – RIDHS, Continuous Improvement Project Manager
Stephanie DiTusa – Program Director, Tri-County CAP 
Kyle Hartman – Weatherization Coordinator Providence CAP
David MaClellan – Lead Consultant, CleaResult Inc.
Joanne Gregory – Vice President, Cranston CAP
Cory Guglietti – Weatherization Representative, East Bay CAP
Edward Fisk – Weatherization Coordinator, Blackstone Valley CAP
Erin Dellefemine - RIDHS Financial Management
Yvette Mendez (ad hoc member) - RIDHS Leadership

The Standardization Committee is scheduled to meet at least six times over the next three months. Once the targeted process is complete, the committee will be evaluated to dissolve or expand based upon accomplishment, efficiency and/or further need. 
UPCOMING TRAININGS

New York State Weatherization Directors Association Training Center
Where: Syracuse, NY Training Site/Campus
When: 06/24/19 to 06/28/19
Point of Contact: Julie Capobianco
 
2019 National Association for State Community Services Conference - State Monitor Training
Where: Little Rock, Arkansas
When: 9/23/2019 to 09/242019
Point of Contact: Julie Capobianco
Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions
Change happens with ideas, and DHS is open to yours for future editions of this newsletter. Do you want more information on a specific topic within weatherization? Is there an event we should know about, and should participate in? Should we spotlight your agency?

Let us know by contacting Alisha Pina, Chief Public Affairs Officer, at mailto:alisha.pina@dhs.ri.gov