DOE Congratulates Maine on Weatherizing More than 1,580 Homes under the Recovery Act
May 28, 2010
The U.S. Department of Energy announced today that Maine has weatherized 1,582 homes under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as of April 30, 2010. Maine is one of the country's weatherization leaders and has now weatherized more than 30% of their total targeted homes. Through the Weatherization Assistance Program, the state is making low-income homes more energy efficient, saving families an average of $437 on their energy bills every year. The Recovery Act-funded program is also creating jobs locally. According to the state, more than 160 workers were employed by state and local weatherization providers during the first three months of the year.
"What we see here today is that states like Maine are moving forward aggressively with the weatherization program, delivering energy and cost savings for the families who need it most," said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "This Recovery Act funding is helping to create jobs in local communities while putting America on the path to a clean energy future."
"Conservation is the most cost-effective way to reduce our dependence on oil. By investing in weatherization, we help families keep more of their hard-earned money, we create good jobs and we reduce the amount of pollution in our environment," Governor John E. Baldacci said. "Investments from the Recovery Act have made a significant difference to our State, and through the low-income weatherization program administered by Maine Housing it is helping thousands of people save money."
"Weatherization has made a huge difference in my life," said Fred Hatch of Readfield, Maine, a substitute teacher whose home was weatherized under the program by the Kennebec Valley Community Action Agency. "The program paid to weatherize my home and replace my 40-year old hot air heating system with a new, energy efficient model. Because of the weatherization program I now can put into savings about $300 a month, money set aside for unexpected emergencies."
Under the Recovery Act, Maine was allocated $41.9 million for the weatherization program. The state previously had access to the first 50% of the funding. By weatherizing more than 30% of their total estimated homes and meeting a series of aggressive accountability and reporting milestones, Maine now has access to the full $41.9 million to continue weatherizing homes across the state. Under the Recovery Act, Maine plans to weatherize a total of more than 4,400 homes. Since February 2009, the state has also weatherized 1,100 additional homes under its annual weatherization program. Together with the Recovery Act funding, the state has now weatherized more than 2,680 homes since the Recovery Act began.
Under the weatherization program, states partner with local community action agencies or non-profit organizations to provide whole-home weatherization services. This includes conducting an energy audit in the home to identify the most cost-effective improvements and implementing solutions that range from installing additional insulation and weatherstripping, sealing windows and doors, caulking cracks in the building, and replacing inefficient heating and cooling systems.
Maine has one of the largest home energy burdens in the country. The state has one of the oldest housing stocks in the nation and 80% of Maine's residents heat their homes with heating oil. As a result of this high energy burden, the state has made energy efficiency a top priority and has a goal of weatherizing all Maine homes and half of all Maine businesses by 2030.
The state's weatherization program is also looking at expanding the program and raising additional funding to enable the state to weatherize even more homes. This includes a plan to generate additional funds by selling carbon emission offsets from the homes weatherized under the Recovery Act.