1 in 4 U.S. Households Are Held Back By a High Energy Burden.

  • October 7, 2019
  • Heat Smart

Energy Burden Higher For Those Who Can Least Afford It

When you spend 35% of your income on energy, you don’t have much left for food and medicine. Meanwhile, government budget cuts eviscerate safety net programs and hundreds of thousands lose access to basic necessities. How can America’s poor reduce energy use? Expensive energy-saving strategies such as adding insulation or new windows are a long shot for them, especially when Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) funding gets cut.

State, community and utility assistance programs can play a key role in helping vulnerable Americans heat, cool and weatherize their homes. But we’re willing to bet that as you are planning your budgets for 2020 and beyond, you are frustrated by government cuts that limit your reach compared to the overall need. It’s time to take your budget planning frustration and channel it into action with private sector solutions and partnerships like Heat Smart.

At Heat Smart, we believe everyone deserves access to energy efficiency. And everyone deserves a chance to get ahead instead of being stuck in a cycle of poverty.

We developed our Heat Smart kits to make energy efficiency more accessible with a common-sense approach, low costs, and partnerships with assistance program experts who already know where the need is. The idea is simple: empower low-income families to reduce energy use by giving them the tools they need to turn the heat down and stay warm.   

Already, we’ve partnered with hundreds of agencies, programs and utilities and distributed over 500,000 Heat Smart kits to needy families throughout the country. Heat Smart kits cost just $14.50 each – quite a return on investment when you consider one kit could help a family save nearly $200 on their heating bill every year. That’s based on DOE research that turning the heat down seven to ten degrees Fahrenheit overnight can save up to ten percent each year on heating bills. And, our new Nest bundle includes a Google Nest E-Thermostat at a reduced price to make thermostat setback even easier.

Smart planners know you need a robust mix of public and private solutions to reach more low-income families.  For instance, the DOE’s regulations say some WAP funding can be channeled into training and technical assistance, such as providing information concerning conservation practices like Heat Smart kits do. LIHEAP Crisis Management and Assurance 16 funds may also be used toward Heat Smart kits to assist you in helping more families climb out of energy poverty, maximize your ROI, and reduce energy demand with a proven solution.

Ready to get started? Contact us anytime, or stop by our booth (#430) at the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials National Conference & Expo in San Antonio October 10-12. We’d be happy to chat about how we can work together to end energy poverty.

Let’s make next year a warmer one for more low income families.

Introducing an exciting new partnership: Heat Smart and Google Nest

  • August 19, 2019
  • Heat Smart

At Heat Smart, our core approach has always been to build partnerships and work together to help low-income families. We’re excited to announce our latest partnership with Google Nest and their e-thermostats. We’ve put our two proven solutions together to deliver a knock-out punch to Energy Poverty.

How? Heat Smart kits provide immediate warmth and empower low-income families to realize the energy savings benefits of thermostat setback. With warm wool blend blankets, weather-stripping and conservation tips, one kit could help a family save nearly $200 on their heating bill every year. At the same time, Google Nest self-programming E-Thermostats make thermostat setback even easier. Its energy-saving features have saved people an average of 10% to 12% on heating bills. Together, it’s one powerful step toward ending Energy Poverty.

Here’s how it works: for every two Heat Smart kits you purchase, get a Google Nest thermostat at a reduced price – 30% off retail! The thermostats are sold in multiples of four, so a minimum order is eight Heat Smart kits with four thermostats. But you can always add additional kits, and it’s recommended to have one kit for each occupied bed in the household. In addition to using your own funds, kits and thermostats may be funded by LIHEAP, Weatherization and Assurance 16 monies, depending on the type of program you have.  And of course, you can always buy kits without e-thermostats.

We’ll be debuting our bundle of warmth at the Community Action Partnership in Chicago from August 28-30. Stop by our booth – #200 – for details and ask me any questions you may have.

And after Chicago we will be visiting Little Rock at the NASCP Training Conference from September 23-27, learning more about Block Grants and alleviating energy poverty issues.

If you can’t make it to Chicago or Little Rock, call or email anytime and we’ll be happy to discuss options.

And speaking of debuts, you may have noticed our website’s new look! This summer we worked hard to create a logo and tagline that would celebrate all the great partnerships we’ve formed – and those still to come. We hope you like it, and that it inspires you to form more partnerships so you can reach out to more families. Because we’re always more powerful when we work together!

Energy Poverty. It’s time to do more together.


Today’s Hot Topic: Energy Poverty

  • March 18, 2019
  • Heat Smart

Home energy and housing experts define energy poverty as when energy costs for heat and light add up to more than six to ten percent of household income. But one in four U.S. households struggle with a high energy burden. Data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows that people below 50 percent of the poverty level spend roughly 35 percent of their income on home energy bills; while other studies show that burden can be as high as 75 percent in the poorest of neighborhoods.


Low-income renters face even higher hurdles. They’re more likely to have drafty doors and windows, poor insulation, inefficient heating systems, and a landlord unmotivated to change the situation. Which means they have no control over how much energy they need to maintain a comfortable temperature. And that means not being able to keep their family warm on cold nights. These are the homes of 22 million children, individuals with disabilities, and elderly across the country who are more susceptible to the negative health effects of being cold.


Low-cost Heat Smart kits can help make a difference with wool-blend blankets for warmth, weather-stripping to eliminate drafts, and energy tips to enhance conservation.


Heat Smart kits empower low-income families to change their energy use behavior long-term and use less energy, which reduces their energy bill, month after month. At the same time, we help our program partners reach their energy assistance goals and stretch their resources, including Block Grant monies. We’re always looking for new, like-minded partners to work with such as weatherization and energy assistance programs to help reach more low-income families. Are you that partner?


If you’re interested in exploring these ideas more, we’ll be at several conferences this spring: NCAF, HPC and NAIHC. Stop by and see us or contact us any time.

Beyond Dollars and Cents – to a Sense of Comfort

  • January 17, 2019
  • Heat Smart

Happy New Year! We’re looking forward to kicking off the year with our Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP) friends in San Antonio next week at their 29th Annual Conference. We’re especially looking forward to the “Changing Behavior…is Changing” presentation on Monday. As programs get more sophisticated, the industry is looking into the additional benefits of energy efficiency that may drive behavior change, beyond the initial monetary savings. These “non-energy benefits” can sometimes be more important to participants than the savings.

These include:

  • An added sense of comfort.
  • Added sense of control over their bill.
  • Reduced fear of shutoffs.
  • Less time lost dealing with bill-related calls to utilities.
  • An increased sense of independence due to reduced reliance on low-income fuel assistance programs.
  • Added breathing room for the rest of their budget.
  • Increased knowledge of energy efficiency.

These behavior-changing benefits are built right in to every Heat Smart Kit, which empowers families to save energy and stay comfortable during cold winters. Here’s what Heat Smart Kit users say:

“It was nice to have money left over at the end of the month.”  Burleigh D, Fairmont NC

“It showed me how easy it is to be efficient, and I was able to spend the savings on groceries.”  Erica F, Wilmington NC

“The blankets kept me comfortable even while turning the heat down
and the weatherstripping helped with cold air leaking around doors.”  
David H., Fairmont NC

Heat Smart is looking to partner with more community action agencies, government programs, tribes and utilities to bring these benefits to more low-income families. What’s more, our proven program can help you: stretch your assistance budget, increase efficiency program adoption rates, achieve key energy policy goals, and meet federal assistance mandates.

If you’re interested in exploring these idea more, stop by and see us at Booth 108 at AESP or contact us any time.

Energy burden higher for those who can least afford it. 

1 in 4 households held back by a high energy burden.

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