Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

HAC Energy Assessments in High Demand

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 @ 10:36 AM
HAC Energy-1.jpgThe HAC Energy team includes Jim Ames (from left), Suzanne Smith, Jo Ann Cournoyer and Ruth Bechtold.

Typically on Cape Cod this is a slow time of year, but don’t tell that to HAC’s Energy Department which is busier than ever. “We are in high demand,” Suzanne Smith, HAC Energy’s intake/outreach coordinator, said.

Smith and Ruth Bechtold, who manages the Energy Department, attributed that demand to the frigid temperatures which have left its mark on the Cape this winter. Because of the weather, residents are looking for ways to keep their home warmer and reduce their energy costs.

Working with Cape Light Compact, HAC offers free energy assessments throughout the year to low-income residents living in single-family and multi-family homes on Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as Wareham. Those who receive fuel assistance or are eligible to receive fuel assistance or discounted utility rates can qualify for a HAC energy assessment.

HAC’s energy auditors, Jim Ames and Joshua Trott, conduct the assessments, which include replacing all inefficient light bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs and checking refrigerators, freezers, window air conditioning units, dehumidifiers, and washing machines to determine if they are eligible for replacement.

As part of the assessment, they will inspect a home’s heating system to see whether it should be repaired or replaced. In some instances those services can be performed through HAC’s HEARTWAP (Heating Emergency Assistance Retrofit Task Weatherization Assistance Program).

The auditors also look at whether a home can benefit from insulation and air sealing which “seals up all the air pathways,” Smith said.

“If all air leaks are not sealed, it can be like having an open window in your house,” Bechtold explained. “Sealing all those cracks makes sure no warm, humid air escapes into the attic where it can create moisture issues.”

HAC’s weatherization measures can also include the installation of vents which allows an attic to properly breathe and helps to minimize issues with moisture that can lead to mold.

Both Smith and Bechtold agreed that the work HAC’s Energy Department does is not only important, but rewarding.

“We’re helping people save money, save energy and increase the overall comfort of the home, and in doing so we’re also staying true to what the agency’s values are,” Smith said. “We really enjoy and get a lot of satisfaction out of helping those who need our services the most.”

Schedule an Energy Assessment Today

You can schedule an energy assessment by calling Cape Light Compact at 800-797-6699. 

HAC Energy provides no cost energy assessments and weatherization measures to income-eligible homeowners and renters. If you receive fuel assistance or a discounted utility rate, or you are income-eligible for fuel assistance, you will receive these services through HAC. 

Tags: Energy Assessments, Cape Light Compact, HAC Energy, saving energy, Energy Audit, Weatherization, Ruth Bechtold, Suzanne Smith, Jim Ames, Joshua Trott, energy efficiency

HAC Selects Al DiMuzio to Helm Energy and Repair Department

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 @ 12:45 PM
Al DiMuzio Edited.jpgAl DiMuzio, the new director of HAC's Energy and Repair Department. 

Imagine living in a home without any electricity or running water. For HAC’s Al DiMuzio, he didn’t have to imagine it. He actually experienced it, roughly 35 years ago.

“When I first moved to Maine and bought a property, I lived off the grid to understand how those things can be extras,” he said. “I had a well for water, candles and gaslights for lights and used a hand pump for the shower. I called it voluntarily simplicity. I had heard the term used and I liked it a lot. It was really a simpler life, not necessarily an easier one.”

While he eventually returned to the comforts we all enjoy, those early experiences in Maine have colored his work at HAC where he has served as an auditor for single-family and multi-family homes in the agency’s Energy and Repair Department for nearly seven years. “Within the context of this department, we have a lot of grateful clients and there’s a satisfaction in helping them not only reduce their energy costs, but making Cape Cod’s carbon footprint a little smaller since they’re saving a tremendous amount of electricity and saving gas and oil with the insulation we do,” he said.

In December, DiMuzio was given the opportunity to enact even greater change when he was named the interim director of the department. He will replace longtime staffer Nancy Davison who is retiring this year.

DiMuzio arrived at HAC in 2010 with four decades’ worth of experience in the construction industry that began on Nantucket in the early 70s following a stint in the U.S. Army. “From there I went to Maine and did all sorts of construction work including residential, commercial, federal jobs, sewer installations, foundations and framing, the whole nine yards,” he said.

DiMuzio, who grew up in Framingham, returned to Massachusetts in 1998 to be closer to family. He spent the majority of the next 11 years employed as a finish carpenter with E.J. Jaxtimer Builder before the economy collapsed in 2009. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Department of Veterans Affairs, DiMuzio was certified as a building analyst by the Building Professionals Institute, authorizing him to conduct energy audits. “Within six weeks the job was advertised here [at HAC] and I was interviewed and lucky enough to get it,” DiMuzio said.

While his initial focus was on single-family homes, the bulk of his work has been on auditing and weatherizing multi-family homes owned by local public housing authorities and landlords of affordable units.

Davison credited DiMuzio for overseeing HAC’s multi-family weatherization program. “When we went through a restructuring three years ago to separate out our multi-family work from single-family, Al was the first one who said, ‘Yes, I want to do it,’” Davison said. “That is the type of motivation he has. If anything comes up that’s a new function or responsibility, he is always the one who volunteers to do it.”

Beyond his resolute nature, Davison said, “he is extremely talented and passionate about helping people.”

In his new position, DiMuzio will continue being able to do just that. “I’m really excited to be able to step into this position and kind of drive the bus and see where we get,” he said.

To learn more about HAC's free energy audits or to schedule one for your home, call Cape Light Compact at 800-797-6699 or click the button below. 

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Tags: Energy Assessments, HAC Energy, saving energy, Energy Audit, Weatherization, Al DiMuzio

Need Home Repairs? Apply to HAC

Posted by Laura Reckford on Sat, Jan 25, 2014 @ 06:40 AM

The Town of Barnstable has awarded Housing Assistance Corporation funds for the administration of a Home Owner Rehab Program for homeowners whose property is in any of the seven villages in the town of Barnstable.


Possible repairs must fall within the health/safety category.For example, repairs could include septic, roofs, carpentry, mold/mildew, electric, foundation problems, heating systems, water, etc. Home owners who occupy their homes as a principle residence in the Town of Barnstable must be at or below the 80 percent of Area Median Income; and the repairs must be eligible under Health and Safety guidelines.


Contact Brenda Rocklage at 508-771-5400 ext. 285 or brocklage@HAConCapeCod.org for more information.

Eligible Income Guidelines are no more than:


Household of 1: $44,750

Household of 2: $51,150

Household of 3: $57,550

Household of 4: $63,900

Tags: HAC, housing assistance corporation, saving energy

Home Repair Funds Available From HAC

Posted by Laura Reckford on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 @ 06:06 PM

Town of Barnstable Homeowners

Have you been delaying needed home repairs?

Don't know where to turn for funds?

Housing Assistance Corporation is accepting applications for the Home Owner Repair Program.

The program will help you make health and safety repairs such as heating systems, roofs, septic, mold, electric, carpentry, etc. 

Income eligible guidelines apply:

Maximum income for a household of 1: $45,100

Maximum income for a household of 2: $51,550

Maximum income for a household of 3: $58,000

Maximum income for a household of 4 : $64,400

Contact Brenda Rocklage at 508-771-5400 ext. 285 or brocklage@haconcapecod.org for more program details and application information.


Tags: saving money, saving energy, Weatherization

HAC Free Energy Assessments

Posted by Laura Reckford on Thu, May 02, 2013 @ 04:22 PM

Enhanced Residential Program (60% of median income):

  • FREE high efficiency lighting
  • FREE refrigerator replacement (if existing model is inefficient)
  • FREE insulation, air sealing and other weatherization (up to $3,000 in value)
  • Potential heating system upgrade (if existing system is determined to be highly inefficient)

If you currently receive NSTAR’s  Discount Rate and/or household income below 60% of median income, you are eligible for a free home energy assessment, which may include the installation of conservation measures all at no cost. If you would like more information, please call Cape Light Compact at (800) 797-6699.

To determine your income level, please review the 2013 INCOME GUIDELINES.

Your income level and household size may qualify you for a variety of programs including:

  • Fuel assistance
  • Reduced utility rates
  • Free weatherization and energy efficiency services


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To apply for fuel assistance:
South Shore Community Action Council
Call (508) 778-0870, Hyannis office only during the winter months
Call (877) 383-5243, year round office in Plymouth

To inquire about electric discount rates:
Call NSTAR at (800) 566-2080

For help managing past due electric bills:
Call NSTAR at (866) 315-2496 and ask about their new Arrearage Forgiveness Program

To inquire about gas discount rates:
Call National Grid at (800) 532-9600

For more information about energy assistance programs available to Massachusetts residents:
Visit Citizens Energy

Tags: Energy Assessments, Cape Light Compact, housing assistance corporation, Housing on Cape Cod, saving energy, utility bills, Energy Audit

Energy Staff, Contractors Sharpen Their Skills

Posted by Julie Wake on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

Jim Peck of HAC’s Energy and Home Repairs Department and Kevin Shea of Emerson-Swan (a company that makes heating and HVAC equipment) led a training session for HAC energy staffers and contractors last month. About 30 people attended the session, which included basic training on heat-load calculation and a demonstration of hand-held combustion analyzers.
energy training 021313
HAC’s state-certified auditors conduct free energy assessments that help people understand and reduce their energy use. HAC conducts the energy assessments for low-income homeowners and tenants and serves as a Home Performance Contractor to oversee assessments for other homeowners.

HAC performs the assessments and offers incentives on behalf of Cape Light Compact. To sign up, visit HAC’s web site or call Cape Light Compact at 1-800-797-6699.
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In a recent year, HAC’s energy team:
•conducted energy audits on 357 homes to reduce electrical use,
•installed money and energy saving weatherization measures in nearly 325 single family homes,
•weatherized 75 rental units,
•repaired or replaced 649 heating systems, and
•replaced 187 wasteful old refrigerators with Energy Star models

To learn more about HAC’s Energy and Home Repairs Program, call 508-771-5400, ext. 123.

Tags: Energy Assessments, housing assistance corporation, saving energy, Energy Audit

HAC’s Energy Team Completes Federal Contract

Posted by Julie Wake on Sat, Sep 15, 2012 @ 12:20 AM

HAC recently completed three years of federal funding for the energy and repair department’s weatherization program. HAC received $2.6 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds (AARA). “The goal was to weatherize 405 homes and we did 602,” said Nancy Davison, HAC vice president of program operations. “We were very, very productive.”
energy audit 001 resized 600
“Our skill level is among the best in the state,” said Shad Williams, energy and repair director. “To take on such a huge increase and be able to do the job they did is a testament to our staff’s talent.”

At the same time of the ARRA program, utilities tripled their support of weatherization. “It pushed HAC’s visibility to a higher level as our energy programs became more impactful in the region,” said Davison.

The increased funding from utilities via Cape Light Compact will allow HAC to continue its weatherization efforts post-ARRA. “When you think of the impact this has had on people’s lives, it’s significant,” said Davison. “The majority of the folks we helped are older and alone and don’t have a lot of support. Now their comfort level is improved and they’re not dreading the winter because they know their utility bills will be lower.”

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Contact HAC for a free energy assessment today!

Tags: Energy Assessments, saving energy, utility bills, Energy Audit, Weatherization

10 simple ways to save energy on Cape Cod and beyond

Posted by Julie Wake on Thu, May 10, 2012 @ 01:58 PM

10 simple ways to save energy on Cape Cod and beyond

  1. Set thermostat at 68 F/day and 55F/night. Hot water 120F. (Close off unused rooms)
  2. Set A/C at 78 F during the day and keep windows closed and lower the shades to keep the heat outside in the summer. In the evening, open windows and turn on fans to cool off house.
  3. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs and turn lights off if room is empty.
  4. Use low-flow kitchen faucets and shower heads. Air or towel dry your dishes.
  5. Laundry: Wash full loads. Use second spin cycle. Use warm or cold water cycles only. Dry clothes on line outside or on drying rack. Use dryer sparingly e.g. 5 min. to soften fabric.
  6. Turn off computer and monitor if not in use.
  7. Plug home electronics into power strips. Turn off power strips when equipment is not used.
  8. Take short showers (5 minutes) instead of baths.
  9. Make sure freezer compartment is full. You can add water filled milk cartons to use up any empty space. 
  10. Sign up for a Free Energy Assessment through HAC.  Click the green button below.
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Tags: Housing on Cape Cod, saving energy, utility bills