The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) reduces energy costs for low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of the homes while ensuring the resident’s health and safety. It is the nation’s single largest residential whole-house energy efficiency program. WAP has created an industry, producing new jobs and technologies, all while helping the most vulnerable families across the country.
The Program’s primary purpose, established by law, is "…to increase the energy efficiency of dwellings owned or occupied by low-income persons, reduce their total residential energy expenditures, and improve their health and safety, especially low-income persons who are particularly vulnerable such as the elderly, the disabled, and children.”
WAP provides core program funding to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Indian Tribes, and the five U.S. territories—American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands—through formula grants.
Once DOE awards the grants, the states and territories contract with roughly 700 local agencies nationwide. Community action agencies, other non-profits and local governments use in-house employees and private contractors to perform weatherization services for the low-income families. In 2017, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), utilities and states supplemented DOE funding by providing an additional $679 million, or $3.04 for every dollar.
Why Weatherization Matters
WAP not only helps households, it also helps revitalize communities by spurring economic growth and reducing environmental impact. Weatherization returns $2.78 in non-energy benefits for every $1.00 invested in the Program (National Evaluation). Non-energy benefits represent tremendous benefits for families whose homes receive weatherization services. Learn more about WAP's whole-house weatherization approach.
View WAP's timeline to learn more history about the program.
Innovative Technology and Practices
Weatherization is critical to introducing and deploying technology and facilitating greater industry adoption. The home performance industry is based on the skills perfected by weatherization. The weatherization network and the private sector established the Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals, including the Standard Work Specifications for Home Energy Upgrades (SWS) and Home Energy Professional certifications along with accreditation of energy-efficiency training programs. Weatherization agencies also create a market for American manufacturing, using products and equipment from local sources, benefitting the business community in the regions they serve.