Kentucky's REACH Program Evaluation Summary
The Kentucky River Foothills Development Council (KRFDC), a community action agency that provides a comprehensive range of services for low-income families and individuals, and the Kentucky Department of Social Insurance's Energy Assistance Branch operated the REACH program.
The project provided energy education workshops, budget counseling, weatherization kits and installation demonstrations to reduce energy usage for program participants.
$266,002 (FY 1997 funding)
December 1998 - September 2000
The overall REACH goal was to reduce energy consumption of participants in KRFDC's four-county service area. Additionally, the REACH initiative attempted to bring about change in four factors related to energy self-sufficiency:
- Energy usage knowledge, management and behavior of targeted households;
- Budgeting and financial management behavior of targeted households;
- Energy efficiency of homes of targeted households and;
- Support of energy vendors for energy assistance and education programs.
Client Eligibility Criteria
Low-income households in Clark, Estill, Madison and Powell counties that are eligible for LIHEAP or Weatherization.
Educational workshops provided household members with energy conservation education, energy saving home improvement tips and materials and installation demonstrations. Participants worked on household budgets and energy savings plans during budget counseling sessions. The KRFDC weatherization program made energy saving improvements to households that were previously denied services due to regulatory spending limits or safety issues. Advisory Groups composed of energy vendor representatives, community people and REACH participants organized and met to discuss energy saving matters in each of the four counties.
The evaluator, Thomas A. Boyd, Ph.D., Berea College Department of Sociology, concluded that the REACH project implemented by KRFDC achieved all of its goals.
One hundred seventy-three persons attended 23 educational workshops (115% of target achieved), 45 households participated in budget education and counseling (100% of target achieved), 15 homes received weatherization services (100% of target achieved) and county advisory groups met at least once in each county (100% of target achieved).
Follow-up surveys with the participants found that the vast majority installed energy saving measures in their homes. Participants exhibited knowledge and use of energy conservation practices and reported that the workshops were useful and led to changes in household practices.
A comparison of energy use between REACH participants and a similar low-income control group showed that REACH participants used about 44 % less electricity in the winter than the control group. Usage for REACH households that had electric heating in the winter was reduced by 45% compared to the control group. Summer electricity usage for REACH participants was slightly lower than the comparison group.
However, energy use by REACH participants was not reduced in December 2000, as expected, when compared to December 1999. Both the REACH participant and control groups showed identical increases (about 22%) in electricity use when comparing December 1999 and December 2000 data. The increase may be attributed to an increase in the severity of winter weather in December 2000.