Obama Administration Delivers More than $448 Million for Weatherization Programs in 13 States
July 10, 2009
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced on July 10 that the Department of Energy (DOE) is providing more than $448 million in Recovery Act funding to expand weatherization assistance programs in Alabama, Idaho, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. These funds, along with additional funds to be disbursed after the states meet certain Recovery Act milestones, will help to weatherize more than 125,000 homes, cutting energy costs for low-income families that need it, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating green jobs across the country.
Alabama, Idaho, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming will receive 40% of their total weatherization funding authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act today. This installment adds to the initial 10% of the states' funding allocations that were awarded previously for training and ramp-up activities. Under the Recovery Act, the states may spend up to 20% of the funds to hire and train workers. The remaining 50% of funds will be released when states meet reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act.
"These awards demonstrate the Obama Administration's strong commitment to moving quickly as part of the country's economic recovery—creating jobs and doing important work for the American people—while ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly," said Secretary Steven Chu. "Today's investments will save money for hard working families, reduce pollution, strengthen local economies, and help move America toward a clean energy future."
DOE's Weatherization Assistance Program will be available to families making up to 200% of the federal poverty level—or about $44,000 a year for a family of four. Weatherization projects allow low-income families to save money by making their homes more energy efficient, which results in average savings of 32% for heating bills and savings of hundreds of dollars per year on overall energy bills. States will spend an average of $6,500 to weatherize each home.
The Recovery Act includes a strong commitment to oversight and accountability, while emphasizing the necessity of rapidly awarding funds to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies.
The 13 states receiving funds today submitted aggressive and innovative plans to expand their weatherization programs:
ALABAMA – $28,720,240 awarded today
Alabama will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 6,500 homes over the next three years, giving priority to elderly and disabled low-income residents, families with small children, and individuals or families who live in high energy-consuming households such as mobile homes. The Energy Division of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA – Energy) will administer the program, collaborating with 16 local agencies to make services available in all 67 counties in the state.
Residents of weatherized homes will be provided with relevant educational materials, including instruction in how to properly operate new appliances along with energy saving tips such as how to set thermostats to conserve energy.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $35 million, for a total of nearly $72 million.
IDAHO - $12,136,772 awarded today
Idaho will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize or re-weatherize nearly 3,200 low-income homes over the next three years. The Division of Welfare within the Department of Health and Welfare administers the Idaho Weatherization Program. To reach eligible recipients throughout the state, the division works through designated direct service providers, each of which has more than 23 years of experience successfully weatherizing homes. Priority will be given to homes with elderly or disabled occupants, those with young children, or those whose annual energy bills cost are more than 10% of their annual income.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $15.2 million, for a total of over $30 million.
MAINE – $16,774,006 awarded today
Maine will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize or re-weatherize nearly 4,400 homes over the next three years. The Maine State Housing Authority (MaineHousing) oversees the program with the purpose of providing low-income families with cost-effective weatherization procedures and correcting related health and safety hazards. MaineHousing works with local community action agencies and other non-profit organizations with weatherization experience to provide home energy audits and weatherization services throughout the state. MaineHousing also collaborates closely with other state agencies to maximize the return on investment in equipment, curricula, and training.
Maine developed the nation's first weatherization program in 1973, and for more than a decade it has promoted a "whole house" concept that addresses both technological matters and resident education. Residents are always encouraged to contact appropriate agencies after weatherization if they have any questions, concerns, or wish to report feedback.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $21 million, for a total of nearly $42 million.
MISSOURI – $51,259,211 awarded today
Missouri will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 14,600 homes over the next three years with the focus on low-income homes with the elderly, disabled, and families with children. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Energy Center will administer these funds and will work with 16 regional community action agencies, one city government, and one not-for-profit organization. Every home that receives weatherization assistance will also receive a final inspection to ensure that the work was completed properly.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $64 million, for a total of over $128 million.
NEW JERSEY – $47,528,518 awarded today
New Jersey will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 12,700 homes in the next three years, providing energy savings to low-income families and elderly and disabled residents. The Office of Low-Income Energy Conservation (OLIEC) in the Department of Community Affairs will implement the state's plan, working with 22 local agencies to weatherize homes in each of the state's 21 counties. In addition to working with these local organizations, OLIEC will coordinate with the New Jersey Housing Mortgage and Finance Agency to weatherize eligible multi-family buildings throughout the state. And to increase the effectiveness of the weatherization program, local weatherization organizations will also work to educate homeowners about additional ways to save energy in their homes.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $59.4 million, for a total of nearly $119 million.
OKLAHOMA – $24,361,278 awarded today
Oklahoma will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 7,000 homes over the course of the next three years. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce (ODOC) will oversee this program, partnering with 19 local community action agencies to serve all of Oklahoma's counties. Funds will be distributed within the state based on poverty level, the elderly population, and the number of substandard housing units within an area. ODOC is committed to ensuring that every segment of the low-income population—urban and rural, farm and non-farm—receives the weatherization services they need. Weatherization work in the state will include a wide variety of cost-effective repairs and measures.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $30.5 million, for a total of nearly $61 million.
RHODE ISLAND – $8,029,446 awarded today
Rhode Island will use its Recovery Act funding to weatherize nearly 2,800 homes in the next three years. The state's Office of Energy Resources (OER) will implement weatherization activities by working with eight comprehensive community action programs. The Rhode Island weatherization program will provide benefits to residents across the entire state and prioritize resource allocations so that 25% of the program funding will be used for homes for elderly residents and 10% for homes for handicapped residents. Priority will also be given to emergency situations such as boiler repair and to high energy consuming units.
Rhode Island will monitor local weatherization activities with in-house reporting analysis and on-site monitoring visits to ensure that the highest quality weatherization service is provided to eligible low-income Rhode Islanders. In addition, Rhode Island will provide classroom and field training to all new staff. Training and technical assistance activities planned for 2009 are directed at expanding the weatherization assistance program.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $10 million, for a total of more than $20 million.
TEXAS – $130,790,293 awarded today
Texas will use its Recovery Act Weatherization Assistance Program funding to weatherize 38,000 homes in the next three years. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, which manages the affordable housing and community assistance programs in the state, is planning to temporarily double the existing network of 34 agencies who provide weatherization assistance in the state. For the new agencies, the state will contract with 20 cities that have populations of 75,000 and over and allocate funding based on the number of low-income homes.
Texas is currently working with other states and outside sources on developing new protocols and training approaches to improve the assistance provided to local organizations and to meet the increased demand for weatherization staff as a result of the Recovery Act funding. The state is also exploring the development of a Technical Training Academy for agencies. In the meantime, the state will conduct cluster workshops throughout the year to continue training the agencies on various weatherization topics, including heating and cooling systems, Lead Safe Weatherization, manufactured housing, other health and safety issues, and material installation techniques.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $163 million, for a total of nearly $327 million.
VERMONT – $6,737,030 awarded today
Vermont will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 1,800 homes over the next three years, delivering the benefits of conservation to low-income, disabled, and elderly residents. The Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) will work with five local organizations to provide services across the state. Under the weatherization program, OEO monitors the training needs for the local agencies to ensure homes are weatherized effectively. Local weatherization organizations are also required to solicit in-kind contributions or other donations when working on rental properties. This leveraging of funds enables the program to provide weatherization benefits to additional homes.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $8.4 million, for a total of nearly $17 million.
VIRGINIA – $37,653,710 awarded today
Virginia will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize 8,600 homes over the next three years. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) administers the Weatherization Assistance Program in all of Virginia's localities. In selecting local weatherization agencies, the state gives preference to any community action agency or other public or nonprofit organization which has experience successfully administering the program. Local agencies will prioritize service to elderly and handicapped residents, families with children, high energy consuming households, and homes with an energy related crisis. Within those priorities local agencies are responsible for scheduling eligible clients to receive energy audits and weatherization services.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $47.1 million, for a total of more than $94 million.
WASHINGTON STATE– $23,818,030 awarded today
Washington will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize 5,000 homes across the state over the next three years. The Washington Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED) will administer the program and allocate funds to community-based non-profit agencies and local government organizations to provide weatherization services to every county and tribal nation in the state. CTED will also utilize Recovery Act funds to implement training and technical assistance programs for these local non-profit and government agencies. This training will provide local weatherization technicians with the knowledge and skills necessary for carrying out home energy audits and weatherization procedures. This program will help to reduce energy consumption and energy bills for low-income households, while creating jobs in the state of Washington.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive more than $29 million in additional funding, for a total of over $59 million.
WISCONSIN – $56,600,853 awarded today
Wisconsin will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize or re-weatherize more than 18,400 homes over the course of the next three years. The weatherization program is administered by the Division of Energy of the Wisconsin Department of Administration. The Division awards grants to community action agencies and a variety of public and non-profit entities to deliver weatherization services across the state. Typical weatherization work includes instrumented air sealing; insulation of attics, sidewalls and other areas that define the heating envelope; refrigerator replacement; electric water heater replacement; mechanical adjustments such as cleaning and tune-up; furnace replacements when necessary; and lighting replacement with ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescents. Wisconsin will supplement these measures with leveraged funds to provide freezer replacement and expanded health and safety measures that are necessary to maintain the indoor air quality in weatherized homes.
The State of Wisconsin requires local organizations to prioritize weatherization services to elderly and handicapped residents. Of the total units completed by each agency, at least 10% must be households with elderly residents, and 5% must be households with persons with disabilities.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $70.8 million, for a total in excess of $141 million.
WYOMING – $4,095,704 awarded today
Wyoming will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize or re-weatherize 1,500 homes over the three-year grant period. The state will work with a combination of existing local weatherization agencies and new organizations to provide weatherization services to every county in Wyoming. Three existing contractors will provide weatherization services to the majority of the state. In seven counties not covered by the existing organizations—Carbon, Crook, Johnson, Lincoln, Sheridan, Sublette, and Weston—Wyoming will be soliciting bids to increase the weatherization capacity statewide through a fair and competitive bid process.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $5.1 million, for a total of more than $10 million.