Recovery Act Announcement: Obama Administration Delivers More than $453 Million for Weatherization Programs in 15 States

June 18, 2009

Photo of a woman in a hard hat who is kneeling in an attic.  She is installing long bands of pink insulation between the wooden beams in the attic.

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that the Department of Energy is providing more than $453 million in Recovery Act funding to expand weatherization assistance programs in 15 additional states. These funds, along with additional funds to be disbursed after the states meet certain Recovery Act milestones, will help these states achieve their goal of weatherizing more than 165,000 homes, lowering energy costs for low-income families that need it, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating green jobs across the country. Secretary Chu made today's announcement while helping to weatherize a local resident's home in Columbus, Ohio with Governor Ted Strickland.

The following states will receive 40% of their total weatherization funding authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act today: California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Maryland, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia. Under the Recovery Act, states may spend up to 20% of funds to hire and train workers.

"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 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 approximately $6,500 to weatherize each home.

The funding allocations for the Weatherization Assistance Program follow a stage-gate process: on March 12, funding allocations by state were announced and the initial 10% of total funding was available to states and territories to support planning and ramp-up activities; comprehensive state applications were due on May 12; following a DOE reviews for each state, 40% allocations are awarded; and the remaining 50% of funds will be released when states meet reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act.

This installment adds to the initial 10% of the states' funding allocations that were awarded previously for training and ramp-up activities. Following a review of their comprehensive state plans, these 15 states have now received 50% of their Recovery Act Weatherization Assistance Program funding. Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi and Oregon previously received this 40% funding allocation.

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 15 states receiving funds today submitted aggressive and innovative plans to expand their weatherization programs:

  • California ($74,324,424 awarded today) will leverage a network of over 50 non-profits, local governments, and community action associations to perform weatherization services at over 50,000 homes. Prior to weatherizing a home, weatherization providers will use national auditing tools to conduct home energy audits that will help inform which weatherization activities should occur in a particular home. In order to ensure quality, the state will also mandate that a third party inspect all weatherized properties, measuring performance based on the quality of work and the speed in which it is implemented. Additionally, since the program will greatly increase the demand for jobs in the energy efficiency sector, the state will follow the recommendations of the California Green Collar Jobs Council by employing members of the California Conservation Corps, Youthbuild, and other youth employment groups. Outreach for the program will be conducted through canvassing neighborhoods, local advertising, and by cooperating with landlords and property managers.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of their plan, the state will receive more than $92 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $185 million.
  • Delaware ($5,493,467 awarded today) will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 1,500 homes over the next three years. The Delaware Weatherization Assistance Program has set an aggressive goal of 20% or greater improvement in energy performance with parallel goals of 20% reductions in energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions for weatherized homes. The Program also has undertaken a number of innovative partnerships to maximize its Recovery Act funding. Its partnership with the Delaware Energy Office will enable both programs to create efficiencies by undertaking joint actions, such as pre-certification of contractors and worker training requirements. Further, the Delaware Weatherization Program is partnering with a local union to immediately provide workforce training, so that trained workers can carry out the program's mission to double the rate of weatherization.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $6 million, for a total of more than $13 million.
  • District of Columbia ($3,235,609 awarded today) will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 750 homes, with priority given to single-family homes—especially those occupied by the elderly, people with disabilities, and families with children. The District Department of the Environment's Energy Division intends to leverage a portion of its funds with the District's Sustainable Energy Trust Fund, thereby increasing the homes that are eligible for weatherization. It will contract for weatherization services with several local non-profit agencies, including Barney Neighborhood House, Greater Washington Urban League, United Planning Organization, and others still to be determined.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the District will receive an additional $4 million, for a total of more than $8 million.
  • Florida ($70,393,790 awarded today) will weatherize more than 19,000 homes over the next three years with its Recovery Act funds. The increase in funding through the Recovery Act provides the state with a unique opportunity to weatherize multi-family homes, which is not typically possible at traditional weatherization funding levels. Priority for multi-family weatherization projects will be given to assisting the elderly, people with disabilities, and families with children under 12. In deciding to weatherize specific multi-family dwellings, the state will also give strong consideration to the greatest potential for energy savings. Weatherization activities will include renewable energy systems such as solar water heating where appropriate.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $87 million, for a total of more than $175 million.
  • Maryland ($24,576,698 awarded today) will use its Recovery Act funding to weatherize more than 6,900 homes over the next three years. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development will be administering the program with more than 18 agencies and counties implementing the weatherization program. Each local subgrantee will receive funding to hire and train new employees or contractors. Five regional training centers in community colleges will also be established to train the workforce. Trainings, which will begin this month, will focus on increasing energy savings and improving program management and accountability. A computerized monitoring system will assist in conducting energy audits and supplying performance energy-savings data. Maryland plans to leverage Recovery Act funding for weatherization with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Columbia Gas of Maryland, The Maryland Energy Assistance Program, Washington Gas and Light, and Maryland state funds.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $30 million, for a total of more than $61 million.
  • Montana ($10,617,511 awarded today) will expand its existing weatherization program that was originally founded in 1994 to reach more than 2,400 news homes as a result of Recovery Act funding. The program will focus on weatherizing a broad range of low-income housing communities including the Kootenai and Salish tribes, the elderly, and the disabled. Experienced community action associations from 12 different districts will work in partnership with the Montana Weatherization Action Program team to administer the weatherization efforts for the eligible community members. The implementers will use Montana's recently upgraded Computerized Energy Audit Program to perform the initial audits before implementing the appropriate weatherization measures. As part of the program's commitment to accountability and meeting its established goals, the state will maintain a computer database containing annual fuel consumption information for the available homes. This system will monitor and measure actual reductions in household energy consumption as a result of weatherization activities. Additionally, training programs spanning over three years will help meet demand for weatherization-related jobs in the state.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $13 million, for a total of more than $26 million.
  • Nebraska ($16,657,783 awarded today) will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize 4,000 homes over the next three years. Nebraska will prioritize weatherization for homes occupied by elderly disabled persons, followed by homes occupied by people over 60 years old; younger disabled persons; Native Americans; adults with children under 6 years of age; and other eligible low-income families. The Recovery Act will enable the community action agencies and other non-profits tasked with weatherization activities to hire and train a number of additional workers to handle the increased workload.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $20.8 million, for a total of more than $41 million.
  • Nevada ($14,912,775 awarded today) will utilize funding from the Recovery Act to perform weatherization services and also implement job training programs for the energy efficiency industry. The Nevada Housing Department will facilitate work at more than 5,500 low-income homes by partnering with community action associations based in Reno, Las Vegas, Henderson, Carson City, and Ely. The Nevada Housing Division will also expand training to approximately 300 individuals to build a skilled workforce for completing the weatherization work. The state intends for the training to provide a tiered or career ladder approach that provides opportunities for optional training that would go toward an associate degree in renewable energy. The state also plans to emphasize homeowner education by providing written explanations about the weatherization measures taken and customer satisfaction surveys.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of their plan, the state will receive more than $18.6 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $37 million.
  • North Carolina ($52,781,814 awarded today) will apply its funding from the Recovery Act to weatherize more than 23,500 single-family and multi-family homes across the state. An expansive network of local government agencies, non-profits, and community action agencies will implement the audits and weatherization services, such as replacing light bulbs with compact fluorescents, improving insulation, installing more efficient appliances, and upgrading homes with smart thermostats. The state will also allocate a percentage of the funding for continuous provider training. All contractors and subcontractors will be required to attend 5 energy efficiency-related courses throughout the first year to ensure high quality weatherization results.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of their plan, the state will receive more than $65 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $131 million.
  • North Dakota ($10,106,532 awarded today) will use its Recovery Act funding to deliver cost-saving efficiency measures to over 3,200 homes, including Native American households living on reservations. The weatherization program will be administered by the Department of Commerce's Division of Community Service, who will partner with more than 7 community action associations from around the state. The state will also devote resources towards performance monitoring, professional training, and consumer education activities.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $12 million, for a total of more than $25 million.
  • Ohio ($106,712,564 awarded today) will use its Recovery Act funding to weatherize more than 32,000 homes over the next three years. The Ohio Office of Community Services (OCS), part of the Ohio Department of Development's Community Development Division, will work with 35 subgrantees to implement its program across all of Ohio's 88 counties. OCS will also work to preserve and enhance the state's long-term capacity to perform weatherization activities. In order to support the program's economic recovery goals, as contractors are hired, disadvantaged businesses will be offered opportunities to bid on and receive weatherization work. The Ohio Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) will ensure that green building technologies, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and renewable energy technologies, are incorporated into weatherization activities where possible. HWAP will also strive to leverage weatherization activities with other housing rehabilitation and neighborhood revitalization efforts, such as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $133 million, for a total of more than $266 million.
  • South Carolina ($23,557,108 awarded today) will use its Recovery Act funding to implement comprehensive weatherization measures for over 6,500 homes in the state, as well as contributing to the creation of six regional energy efficiency job training centers. South Carolina, which expects to have 75% of the homes weatherized in two years, will focus on energy audits and weatherization retrofits for single-family, multi-family, and mobile-home units. The weatherization program will spur demand for energy efficiency industry professionals, who will work with the more than 14 public-private partnerships to weatherize homes for families across the state. The state's six professional training centers will help prepare South Carolina citizens for careers in energy efficiency, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification and the Home Energy Rating System.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $29 million, for a total of more than $58 million.
  • South Dakota ($9,794,918 awarded today) will weatherize more than 2,300 homes over the next three years with Recovery Act funding. The Weatherization Program Assistants will work with four local community action agencies in Madison, Sisseton, Lake Andes, and Rapid City to execute these programs across the state. State-appointed Program Assistants will facilitate training for the agency staff members, while also ensuring consistency in weatherization practices by standardizing program protocols. The effort will also emphasize consumer education by developing outreach materials such as brochures, posters, flyers, and public service announcements. The outreach will showcase homes that have undergone weatherization measures to demonstrate the cost and environmental benefits of energy efficiency installations. In order to monitor the progress of these efficiency efforts, the Community Action Agencies will visit at least one site per weatherized home.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $12 million, for a total of more than $24 million.
  • Utah ($15,158,881 awarded today) will use its Recovery Act funding to weatherize more than 4,400 homes, reducing energy use and costs for thousands of families across the state while improving living conditions in the home. Utah has climate extremes with temperatures commonly ranging from less than -30 degrees Fahrenheit to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Many of these extreme weather conditions occur in areas less than 100 miles apart. Priority will be given to the elderly, disabled, and households with preschool age children who may spend a majority of their time inside the home. The Utah Division of Housing and Community Development is responsible for administering the Recovery Act weatherization funds. The majority of the Recovery Act funds will be subgranted for implementation to the following local weatherization agencies: the Bear River Association of Governments, the Davis County Aging Services, the Five County Association of Governments, the Housing Authority of Utah County, the Salt Lake Community Action Program, the Six County Association of Governments, the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments, and the Uintah Basin Association of Governments.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $18 million, for a total of more than $37 million.
  • West Virginia ($15,033,550 awarded today) will utilize funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to implement weatherization services at over 3,500 homes. The West Virginia Weatherization Assistance Program will work with existing community action associations around the state to target low-income communities that have benefited from weatherization programs before as well as reaching previously underserved communities. The program will conduct initial energy audits by using activity priority lists developed with audits of a representative sample of homes. The state will monitor the program's progress with monthly tracking reports from implementation partners and by developing a tracking database for every region participating in the program. The state will also fund training for Energy Educators who will spend time in the field educating customers about better energy consumption behaviors.

    After demonstrating successful implementation of their plan, the state will receive more than $18 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $37 million for the entire program.

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