This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
DOE Congratulates Mississippi on Weatherizing More than 2,580 Homes under the Recovery Act
The U.S. Department of Energy announced today that Mississippi has weatherized 2,584 homes under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as of April 30, 2010. Mississippi 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 the year after their homes were weatherized, according to a recent study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Recovery Act-funded program is also creating jobs locally. According to the state, 150 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 Mississippi 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."
"These are good jobs and the training is invaluable. Through the weatherization team's heightened awareness of energy conservation and newly acquired skills, they have even critiqued their own homes to see where energy savings can be maximized," said Jesse Griffin, Executive Director of South Central Community Action Agency (SCCA) of D'Lo, Mississippi, one of the state's local weatherization providers. "The training and weatherization process helps everybody understand what they can do to save energy and make Mississippi more energy efficient."
SCCA operates in Simpson, Hinds, Rankin and Madison counties, and under the Recovery Act, has been able to hire 17 new employees, many of whom were previously unemployed.
Training has been a critical part of the state's success in meeting its increased weatherization targets under the Recovery Act. The Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Community Services, facilitated a partnership with some of the state's community colleges to design a weatherization curriculum which helps students gain training and the needed skills to launch or further a career in weatherization and energy retrofits.
Under the Recovery Act, Mississippi was allocated $49.4 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, Mississippi now has access to the full $49.4 million to continue weatherizing homes across the state. Mississippi plans to weatherize a total of more than 5,400 homes with their Recovery Act funding. Since February 2009, the state has also weatherized about 800 additional homes under its annual weatherization program. Together with the Recovery Act funding, the state has now weatherized 3385 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 equipment.