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Federal weatherization funds providing major boost to states

October 30th, 2009

A field monitor checks a gas meter for leaks. (Photo: Department of Energy)

A field monitor checks a gas meter for leaks. (Photo: Department of Energy)

From Green Right Now Reports

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced today that the first installment of $123 million in federal Recovery funds for weatherization will begin to be released Nov. 2, part of $253 million that the state will use for this purpose.

The Governor said the funding represents an unprecedented level of investment that will help to create new, “green” jobs, save money for struggling families, and stimulate local economic activity as weatherization agencies buy required material, vehicles and equipment.

“The weatherization program stimulates the economy in several ways,” Gov. Rendell said in a statement. “It saves money on energy bills for people who need it the most, and keeps those dollars circulating in local communities because families will be able to spend more on food, clothing and other necessities. It also will create new jobs in the growing ‘green’ economic development sector.”

Pennsylvania’s allocation of $253 million for weatherization from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is the fourth largest in the nation; only New York, Texas and Ohio received more. The money will be paid over three years.

Ohio technicians prepare to seal a roof prior to re-insulating an attic containing vermiculite. (Photo: Department of Energy)

Ohio technicians prepare to seal a roof prior to re-insulating an attic containing vermiculite. (Photo: Department of Energy)

In Ohio, the $266.8 million Recovery grant from the Weatherization Program is allowing the state to boost the energy efficiency of more than 32,000 homes. Adding insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment will reduce energy costs for Ohio homeowners by an average of 24 percent. In general, the Weatherization Program allows for an investment of up to $6,500 per home in energy efficiency upgrades and is available to homeowners making approximately $44,000 a year for a family of four. The Department of has recognized Ohio as a leader in the weatherization program with 951 homes completed in July 2009.

Ohio allocated funds from the grant to local community agencies and other public and not-for-profit organizations. In addition, 54 independent contractors were hired to supplement existing contractors. It is estimated that by completion of the project at the end of March, 2012, 590 new positions will be created and 487 jobs retained.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has awarded $288 million in federal stimulus funding to 66 cities, counties, and eligible nonprofit organizations across the state to weatherize the homes of an estimated 40,000 low income Texans. Overall, the state received $326.9 in weatherization funds, the balance of which TDHCA will award in 2010.

The Recovery Act provided approximately $314 million more in funds than what Texas typically administers each year for weatherization activities. By comparison, the state annually weatherizes approximately 3,700 homes using current funding levels of approximately $13 million.

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