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

January 05, 2012

Washington Surpasses Home Energy Efficiency Goal and Helps More than 16,000 Homeowners Save on Utility Bills

State Weatherization Program Helps a Record Number of Washington Families Save Money, Reduce Energy Use

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu hosted a conference call today with Governor Chris Gregoire to announce that Washington state has surpassed its aggressive energy efficiency goal established with the U.S. Department of Energy for funding under the 2009 stimulus law, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Through the weatherization program, the state has helped a total of more than 16,000 Washington families improve the energy efficiency of their homes over the last three years, saving the average household more than $400 a year on its energy utility bills.

These energy efficiency upgrades – which include adding insulation, sealing ducts, and installing more efficient windows, heaters, and cooling systems – are lowering energy bills for low-income families across the state, supporting economic growth, and creating jobs.

"The investment we've made over the last three years is paying huge dividends in Washington and across the country," said Secretary Chu. "Not only has it put Americans to work, it has helped families save money by saving energy. It is a win-win for the whole country."

"In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and local Community Action Agencies, Washington state has met and beat an already ambitious goal and weatherized over 16,000 homes," said Governor Gregoire. "This success is great news, given the critical importance that weatherization assistance offers low-income Washingtonians to have warmer homes in the winter at lower energy costs while at the same time creating good wage jobs."

Of the 16,000 homes weatherized in Washington, more than 12,300 were upgraded through the Recovery Act, far surpassing the state's goal of 7500 homes. Washington's progress was an important part of the Energy Department's program nationally, which has completed upgrades on more than 750,000 homes across the country over the past three years. Nationwide, this is expected to save more than $400 million in just the first year. The program has also helped train thousands of workers across the country and has spurred the demand for energy-efficient technologies and products. See a full list of homes weatherized in each state through November.

While the Weatherization Assistance Program is limited to lower-income families, most families can save on their utility bills by taking some simple, affordable steps like using more efficient light bulbs, sealing drafty cracks around doors and windows, or using a programmable thermostat. Larger upgrades can save families even more and will more than pay for themselves over time. Learn more at

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. Learn more about DOE's effort to enable low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.