WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that the Department of Energy is providing more than $66 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand weatherization assistance programs in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut and Hawaii. The funding, along with additional funds to be disbursed after the states meet certain Recovery Act milestones, will help these states weatherize approximately 26,300 homes, lowering energy costs for low-income families that need it, reducing pollution, and creating green jobs across the country.
"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."
The states will receive 40 percent of their total weatherization funding authorized under the Recovery Act today, adding to the initial 10 percent of each funding allocation that was previously awarded for training and ramp-up activities. The remaining 50 percent of funds will be released after states meet specific reporting, oversight and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act. The states may spend up to 20 percent of their total funds to hire and train workers.
The Department of Energy also announced today the release of a new web video highlighting the Department's weatherization program and recent National Weatherization Conference.
DOE's Weatherization Assistance Program will be available to families making up to 200 percent 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 percent 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 Recovery Act includes a strong commitment to oversight and accountability, while emphasizing the need to quickly deliver funding to states to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies.
The following states received weatherization funding today:
ALASKA - $7,257,032 awarded today
Alaska will use Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 1,500 homes over the next three years. The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC), which manages weatherization in the state, will prioritize homes with elderly or disabled residents or families with children. Under the program, health and safety emergencies will also be prioritized to ensure concerns are addressed as quickly as possible.
The AHFC will manage weatherization services through five local organizations in the state. The largest is the Palmer-based Alaska Community Development Corporation. The AHFC has ramped up its weatherization programs to include a statewide call center for client intake, as well as significant and continuing training programs for weatherization crews and administrative staff.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $9 million, for a total of more than $18 million.
COLORADO - $31,812,485 awarded today
With its Recovery Act funding, Colorado will weatherize nearly 16,750 homes in the next three years. The funds will be administered through the Colorado Energy $aving Partners (E$P) Program, which is housed in the Governor's Energy Office (GEO) and provides weatherization services through eleven local agencies. GEO's E$P Program will perform various cost-effective measures in homes, including heating system safety checks, efficiency improvements and replacements, insulation of attics and roofs, reducing air leakage in doors, windows and ductwork and other energy conservation services.
Under the state's weatherization program, there is a high priority on training to ensure the delivery of high quality, safe, and cost-effective energy conservation services throughout Colorado. Trainings will include written examinations and field tests and will be conducted through classroom workshops, internet-based distance learning, and on-the-job skill development trainings.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive almost $40 million in additional funding, for a total of more than $79 million.
CONNECTICUT - $25,724,201 awarded today
Connecticut will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize approximately 7,400 homes and re-weatherize an additional 100 homes over the three-year grant period. The Department of Social Services administers the Weatherization Program, assisting low-income persons in minimizing energy-related costs and fuel usage in their residences.
Every home is checked for various health and safety measures and receives an energy audit to determine the most cost-effective weatherization activities for that home. Some of the most common weatherization activities include insulation throughout the home, air-sealing, and replacing windows and doors. Under the Weatherization Assistance Program, the state will not be focusing on cooling measures and refrigerators, since these are addressed through utility funded low-income programs.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $32 million, for a total of over $64 million.
HAWAII - $1,616,984 awarded today
Hawaii will use its Recovery Act weatherization funds to weatherize more than 650 homes across the state over the next three years. The Hawaii Office of Community Services (OCS) will administer the program through two local community action organizations. Honolulu Community Action Program, Inc. will carry out the weatherization assistance in the city and county of Honolulu, and Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. will conduct weatherization assistance in the three remaining counties of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui. The Hawaii OCS will help provide training and technical assistance for the local agencies to ensure that the weatherization workforce is able to successfully carry out the goals of the program: reducing energy consumption and utility bills for low-income families, while creating and retaining jobs across the state.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $2 million, for a total of more than $4 million.