Obama Administration Delivers More than $288 Million for Weatherization Programs in Seven States
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that the DOE is providing more than $288 million in Recovery Act funding to expand weatherization assistance programs in Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. 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 91,000 homes, lowering energy costs for low-income families that need it, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating green jobs across the country.
Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Hampshire will receive 40% of their total weatherization funding authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act today. This installment adds to the initial 10% of the states' funding allocations that were awarded previously for training and ramp-up activities. Under the Recovery Act, the states may spend up to 20% of the 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 an average of $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.
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 seven states receiving funds today submitted aggressive and innovative plans to expand their weatherization programs:
ARKANSAS – $19. 2 Million Awarded Today
Arkansas will use its Recovery Act funding to weatherize more than 6,000 homes over the next three years. The Arkansas Office of Community Services (OCS) will administer the program with 15 local organizations to provide weatherization assistance to all 75 counties across the state. These organizations, consisting of community action groups, development councils and other nonprofits, will also conduct energy audits and re-weatherization services for 500 additional housing units. This program will help to reduce energy consumption and energy bills for low-income households, while creating jobs within the state.
The Recovery Act funding will also provide training and technical assistance to the community organizations. Through the state's training and technical assistance program, these organizations will be kept abreast of new weatherization techniques and methods.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive over $24 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $48 million.
IOWA – $32.3 Million Awarded Today
Iowa will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 7,200 homes over the next three years. Approximately 18 agencies are involved in carrying out the weatherization work, including the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, Mid-Iowa Community Action, and the Polk County Board of Supervisors. The community action agencies will submit monthly reports to ensure transparency and accountability. In order to increase public awareness of the weatherization program and the savings that go with reduced energy use, Clean Energy Education Savings Guides developed by the Iowa Weatherization Program will be distributed to clients' homes.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $40 million, for a total of more than $80 million.
KENTUCKY – $28.3 Million Awarded Today
Kentucky will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 8,900 homes over the next three years. The state will give priority to households with children under six years of age, and those homes where the housing conditions are substandard and the children are at a risk of being removed from the family. The state will also prioritize homes with elderly and disabled family members and low-income households that spend a disproportionate amount of their income on energy costs, along with those households that use the highest cost fuels for the amount of energy provided. The program will also analyze the primary fuel type used in the household, with homes heated with electricity receiving a higher priority than those that use coal.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $35 million, for a total of more than $70 million.
MASSACHUSETTS – $48.8 Million Awarded Today
Massachusetts will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 16,900 homes over the next three years, while ramping up a Clean Energy Center to train and support a growing energy-efficiency workforce in the state. Under the program, Massachusetts is increasing the number of auditors and other professionals that will be needed to meet the increased demand for weatherization activities. More than 25 additional auditors have already been hired, along with new private-sector employees that will work with local organizations responsible for weatherization work.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $61 million, for a total of more than $122 million.
MICHIGAN –$97.3 Million Awarded Today
Michigan will use funding from the Recovery Act to provide weatherization assistance to more than 33,000 homes over the next three years. The Michigan weatherization program, administered by the Department of Human Services, will provide home energy audits and weatherization activities that will lower energy consumption and utility bills in low-income homes across the state. Each home will receive a unique audit to determine which activities are the most cost effective. Some of the most common weatherization procedures include the repair, insulation, and sealing of ducts and the installation of insulation in walls and attics. Weatherization funds can also be used to install energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and replace energy consuming refrigerators and water heaters.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive over $121 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $243 million.
MINNESOTA – $52.7 Million Awarded Today
Minnesota will use its Recovery Act funding to weatherize more than 16,800 households over the next three years. Weatherization is a strong tool to minimize the effects of the state's climate for residents, who face harsh polar air and extreme temperatures throughout the year. The state's Department of Commerce will administer the program and over 30 community action groups throughout the state will provide weatherization services in local areas with the largest groups located in Minneapolis and in Ramsey and Washington Counties. All organizations that implement the work are provided training and technical assistance workshops and conferences focused on maximizing energy savings and minimizing program costs. The funding will also be used to support the state's energy crisis plan that assists low-income households with weatherization services in the event of a disaster.
NEW HAMPSHIRE - $9.3 Million Awarded Today
New Hampshire will utilize Recovery Act funding to help create new job opportunities and workforce development through the implementation of its weatherization assistance program and increased demand for weatherization professionals. The New Hampshire program will provide weatherization assistance to over 2,600 low-income households over the next three years. The New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning will administer the program, and subcontract to six community action agencies that will deliver weatherization services at the local level.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive over $11.5 million in additional funding, for a total of over $23 million.