What is Weatherization?
Weatherization is making improvements to a residence to improve energy efficiency using the most advanced technology available in the housing industry such as adding storm doors, adding weatherstripping around doors and windows, and replacing old windows with energy-efficient ones.
What is the Federal Weatherization Program?
The Weatherization Assistance Program was created in 1976 to assist low-income families who lack resources to invest in energy efficiency.
Who is Eligible for the Program?
Each year, 100,000 homes are weatherized through the program. Participants must meet income eligibility guidelines; however, homes of people who are elderly or disabled, families with children and those households with high energy burdens may receive priority. Renters are eligible, but must get approval from the property owner.
What are the Benefits of Weatherization?
Benefits typically equal $1.67 for every $1 invested. The average first-year energy savings is $350 per family. There is an average 32 percent reduction in gas space heating. Low-income households typically spend 17 percent of their total income on energy versus 4 percent for other households.
What are the Environmental Benefits?
There is a reduction of 1.79 tons in annual carbon dioxide emissions per home per year for weatherizing. The energy conservation resulting from the efforts of state and local agencies helps the U.S. reduce its dependence on foreign oil.
How is the Program Funded?
Congress appropriates money for the program. The Senate and House Interior Appropriations committees decide how much money to allocate to the program each year. In the 2009 fiscal year, $450 million was budgeted for the program.
Who Implements Weatherization?
Money is distributed from the U.S. Department of Energy to the energy offices in the 50 states, Washington, D.C., U.S. territories and Native American tribal organizations. It’s then distributed to more than 900 local organizations that perform the work.
Did the Recovery Act Include Funding for Weatherization?
The Recovery Act included about $5 billion to improve energy efficiency for nearly 590,000 residences. The department awarded $4.73 billion in grants to all 50 states, five territories, Washington, D.C., and two Native American tribes.
Why was Weatherization Included in the Recovery Act?
These projects were anticipated to create jobs immediately because they rely on the existing Federal Weatherization Program. Federal funding for the weatherization program typically creates 52 direct jobs for every $1 million of funding.
How Did the Recovery Act Funding Impact the Program?
As of December 2009, grantees had been authorized to spend up to 50 percent of the awarded funds, with additional money to be provided based on performance. Weatherization goals increased significantly, rising from 104,000 in 2009 to 586,015 housing units over the three-year life of the Recovery Act.
Have States Met the Goals of the Recovery Act Funding for Weatherization?
As of February 2010, the one-year anniversary of the Recovery Act, only $386.2 million (less than 8 percent) of the total award had been drawn by grantees for weatherization work. Grant recipients fell significantly short of goals to weatherize homes.