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West CAP has been weatherizing homes since 1974

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The light of a pilot program which began in 1974 is still on in 2012.

WestCap a private, non-profit charitable organization based out of Glenwood City, contracts itself to the state of Wisconsin, receiving grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and from utilities, to weatherize homes in a seven-county area of western Wisconsin.

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The program was the first of its kinds back when it started back in the early 1970s.

"We weatherize all sort of homes," Ken Peterson, of WestCap said. "Single-family homes, mobile homes, duplexes, small apartment buildings it's any type of housing both rented and owned so long as persons who sign-up for it to meet the eligibility requirements."

Peterson says there is a list of 12,000 persons who have signed-up for the weatherization program in the counties of Pierce, Pepin, Polk, St. Croix, Dunn, Barron and Chippewa if they apply for energy assistance. Eligibility requirements depend on income, family size and need. The purpose of the program is to make such dwellings more energy efficient to reduce the costs of such assistance.

WestCap uses local contractors and work crews throughout the western Wisconsin to work on the homes. This includes installing insulation, furnace tune-ups, weather stripping windows, putting in new lights and refrigerators too if needed. The crews work from attic to basement, both inside and outside. WestCap sends out energy auditors to each dwelling to determine what's needed to make the home more energy efficient.

"It's not always old housing stock which needs to be properly weatherized, Peterson, a former employee of Pierce-Pepin who has been with WestCap for the past 10 years, said. "Some homes we do go back only to the 1980s."

Last year WestCap crews weatherized 22 homes in Pierce County. On average the crews work around 400 such homes in the seven county area.

WestCap usually contacts a thousand persons a year to see if they are interested in participating in the program. There's no cost or liens to the owner or renter.

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