WASHINGTON - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced award selections for approximately 120 organizations across the country that will receive nearly $120 million in funding to support the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Weatherization Assistance Program. DOE said this funding will enable successful weatherization agencies to expand their programs and will support new pilot projects to demonstrate innovative weatherization delivery and financial models and new technologies.

“The weatherization program under the Recovery Act is successfully creating jobs in local communities, saving money for families, and reducing carbon pollution across the country,” said Chu.

After ramping up last year, the Weatherization Assistance Program is now weatherizing homes at its optimal run rate - approximately 25,000 homes per month, said DOE. This summer alone, more than 80,000 homes will have been weatherized across the country.

The program is also said to be creating thousands of jobs locally, putting people to work installing insulation, upgrading appliances, and improving heating and cooling systems. According to state reports, the Recovery Act Weatherization Program supported more than 13,000 jobs in the second quarter of 2010.

As part of this announcement, nearly $90 million in Recovery Act funds will be awarded to more than 100 high-performing local weatherization providers in 27 states to complement and expand their existing weatherization programs. Each of the selected organizations has already met their milestone of weatherizing 30 percent of their total production goal and spending 30 percent of their Recovery Act funds. DOE said these awards will allow these successful grantees for the first time to install renewable energy systems and cutting-edge energy efficiency technologies in homes to help families save even more on their energy bills. This includes installing technologies such as solar heating systems, solar photovoltaic panels and shingles, small-scale wind turbines, new insulation technologies, cool roofs, high-efficiency appliances, tankless hot water systems, high-efficiency combination boilers for hot water and heat, in-home energy monitors, and ductless heat pump systems.

An additional $30 million from the weatherization program’s annual budget will fund 16 recipients that will demonstrate other innovative approaches to weatherizing low-income single and multifamily homes. Projects will include new types of weatherization partnerships, financial models that allow for greater private sector leveraging, workforce training and volunteer engagement, and the demonstration of new energy efficiency technologies like in-home energy monitors. Projects will also test combining weatherization services with a comprehensive “green and healthy homes” approach that incorporates indoor air quality improvement and lead abatement services.

Grantees include organizations that have not historically been a part of the Department’s Weatherization Assistance Program, including private companies, non-profit organizations, universities, city governments, and national partners like Habitat for Humanity and YouthBuild USA. DOE said these projects will help build the local capacity of new weatherization providers and will allow DOE to rigorously test the cost-effectiveness of a range of new weatherization approaches that have the potential to accelerate efforts to build an efficient and sustainable weatherization and retrofit market.

Publication date:09/06/2010