This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
Montana Surpasses Home Energy Efficiency Goal and Helps More than 6,800 Homeowners Save on Utility Bills
State Weatherization Program Helps a Record Number of Montana Families Save Money, Reduce Energy Use
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu hosted a conference call today with Governor Brian Schweitzer to announce that Montana 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 6,800 Montana families improve the energy efficiency of their homes over the last three years, saving the average household more than $400 a year on its 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 Montana 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 state and the country."
Governor Schweitzer's Warm Hearts Warm Homes program has weatherized more than 9,700 since the program began in 2005. "The additional federal funds have helped us weatherize another 6,800 homes," said Governor Brian Schweitzer. "In total our efforts have weatherized more than 17,000 homes."
"Montanans have a can do spirit in time of need," said Governor Brian Schweitzer. "Winter season in Montana comes with significant increases in the cost of energy and can rapidly approach a crisis for many of our less fortunate neighbors. By making Montanans' homes more energy efficient, there is a lasting impact on these families and a decrease in our overall energy consumption. It is a win-win all the way around."
Of the 6,800 homes weatherized in Montana, more than 3,300 homes were upgraded under the Recovery Act, far surpassing the state's goal of 2,800 homes. Montana's progress has been 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 energysavers.gov.
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.