Energy Department Rolls Out Weatherization Program

rolling out insulation attic photo

Rolling out attic insulaton. Image credit:Waterworks Valley

For implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the US Department of Energy has announced that US$5 billion dollars allocated for the Weatherization Assistance Program, will be used to insulate, seal leaks, or modernize heating and air conditioning equipment for low-income families, "at a cost of up to $6,500 per home." The assistance is for families making up to approximately $44,000 per year in the lower 48 states, $55,140 per year in Alaska, and $50,720 per year in Hawaii.

Details also were announced forState Energy Program; but, in this post we'll have a closer look at just the Weatherization Program.No handouts.
No money is handed out to individuals to cover costs incurred in "weatherizing." Local contractors are paid by a state-level administering agency. And, in a pleasing development, quarterly reporting by the local administering agency is done electronically! (trees saved)

DOE expects Weatherization to:

  • result in 32% saved on an average family energy bill ( $350 per year depending on fuel prices).

  • support at least 8,000 technical jobs in low-income communities.

  • result in a local economic multiplier of three (see explanatory post here).

  • increase the value of weatherized housing stock, helping make up the shortage of affordable housing.

If you are interested in applying for Weatherization, qualification requirements and contacts are listed here.

Oak Ridge National Labs, Weatherization and SEP Support Program, provides technical assistance. There are some fascinating engineering studies on this topic, by ORNL, listed here.

Closing thought: Please tell me there will be no air conditioning upgrades paid for in Alaska and no furnace replacements in Hawaii.

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