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DOE Announces Nearly $120 Million to Advance Innovative Weatherization Projects, Highlights Progress in the Program Nationally

August 19, 2010

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today award selections for approximately 120 organizations across the country that will receive nearly $120 million to drive innovation under the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Weatherization Assistance Program. These investments will enable successful weatherization agencies to expand their programs and will support new pilot projects to demonstrate innovative weatherization delivery and financial models and new technologies. Secretary Chu also announced that the program reached a new milestone in June—weatherizing more than 31,600 homes across the country.

"The weatherization program under the Recovery Act is successfully creating jobs in local communities, saving money for families, and reducing carbon pollution across the country," said Secretary Chu. "The funding announced today builds on the Department's existing investments in energy efficiency to continue to expand and drive innovations in the weatherization program that will provide even greater energy and cost savings to low-income families."

After ramping up last year, the Weatherization Assistance Program is now weatherizing homes at its optimal run rate—approximately 25,000 homes per month. And in June, states reported that more than 31,600 homes were weatherized with Recovery Act funding—the most ever in a month. This summer alone, more than 80,000 homes will be weatherized across the country. See the state breakdown of the homes weatherized through JunePDF.

The program is also creating thousands of jobs locally—putting carpenters, electricians and factory workers back to work installing insulation, upgrading appliances, and improving heating and cooling systems. According to state reports, the Recovery Act Weatherization Program supported more than 13,000 jobs in the second quarter of 2010.

As part of today's announcement, nearly $90 million in Recovery Act funds will be awarded to more than 100 high-performing local weatherization providers in 27 states to complement and expand their existing weatherization programs. Each of the selected organizations has already met their milestone of weatherizing 30% of their total production goal and spending 30% of their Recovery Act funds. These awards will allow these successful grantees for the first time to install renewable energy systems and cutting-edge energy efficiency technologies in homes to help families save even more on their energy bills. This includes installing technologies such as solar heating systems, solar photovoltaic panels and shingles, small-scale wind turbines, new insulation technologies, cool roofs, high-efficiency appliances, tankless hot water systems, high-efficiency combination boilers for hot water and heat, in-home energy monitors, and ductless heat pump systems. See the full list of award selectionsPDF.

An additional $30 million from the weatherization program's annual budget will fund 16 recipients that will demonstrate other innovative approaches to weatherizing low-income single and multifamily homes. Projects will include new types of weatherization partnerships, financial models that allow for greater private sector leveraging, workforce training and volunteer engagement, and the demonstration of new energy efficiency technologies like in-home energy monitors. Projects will also test combining weatherization services with a comprehensive 'green and healthy homes' approach that incorporates indoor air quality improvement and lead abatement services.

Grantees include organizations that have not historically been a part of the Department's Weatherization Assistance Program, including private companies, non-profit organizations, universities, city governments, and national partners like Habitat for Humanity and YouthBuild USA. These projects will help build the local capacity of new weatherization providers and will allow DOE to rigorously test the cost-effectiveness of a range of new weatherization approaches that have the potential to accelerate efforts to build an efficient and sustainable weatherization and retrofit market. See the full list of selected awardeesPDF.