This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 30, 2011

Better Homes, Better Buildings, Better Communities

Martha Stewart created an empire by inviting Americans into her home to show how one small improvement could dramatically transform a room or how tweaking an old recipe could surprise your palette. Martha Stewart, however, is not an engineer—so why would she take a personal interest in BetterBuildings, a DOE program to reduce energy waste in homes and businesses?

Stewart's attendance at the BetterBuildings program launch in Bedford, New York, earlier this year actually makes perfect sense. BetterBuildings programs are based on the same basic notion as Martha Stewart's work—that a small change can make a huge difference in your home. Stewart and BetterBuildings share a common goal: improving quality of life. By saving energy, families can save money and live in more comfortable homes.

The 41 grant recipients of the BetterBuildings program were awarded a total of $508 million in federal funding to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, and they're already passionately bringing about change in their communities. These projects are creating jobs, boosting local economies, and helping consumers save money on their energy bills. By the end of March, almost all program recipients will be offering energy upgrades for homes and businesses throughout the country. For example, this week Clean Energy Works of Oregon is expanding their Portland pilot program to 17 communities throughout the state. Other programs scheduled to launch soon include Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Camden, New Jersey. The program is ramping up fast and soon all BetterBuildings communities will realize its benefits. See the Energy Blog post.