Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced recently that the Department of Energy (DOE) will award the state of Oregon $2,856,430 to improve the energy efficiency of hundreds of low-income households this year. Over the last three years, Oregon has received $6,428,624 in weatherization funds from the DOE.

“This weatherization assistance grant will enable Oregon to provide energy-saving home improvements to hundreds of low-income families this year,” said Secretary Abraham. “Weatherization is a priority of President Bush, as outlined in his National Energy Plan. Weatherization reduces an average home’s energy cost by $218 each year.”

According to the DOE, its Weatherization Assistance Program reduces the burden of energy costs for low-income Americans, especially households with elderly residents, people with disabilities, and children. Oregon’s grant will be handled through the Oregon Housing Community Services Department in Salem.

The President’s National Energy Plan recommends that funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program be increased by $1.4 billion over 10 years. The congressional appropriation of $230 million this year represents a 50% increase over the 2001 funding level. This year, the DOE says that the program will reduce the energy bills of approximately 105,000 low-income families nationwide, provide jobs, and improve the environment.

For every dollar spent, DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program returns $1.80 in energy savings over the life of the weatherized home, based on recent energy prices. The program provides energy audits to identify the most cost-effective measures for each home, which typically include adding insulation, reducing air infiltration, servicing the heating and cooling systems, and providing health and safety diagnostic services.

Since the program’s inception, more than five million homes have been weatherized with federal funds, state, and utility monies.

For more information, go to (website).

Publication date: 04/22/2002