Weatherization Assistance Program Boosted by New Funding

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Published On
Aug 22, 2022

More Americans can make their homes more energy efficient and lower their utility costs after this year’s funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program—bolstered by $3.2 billion in new funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

In July 2022, DOE awarded more than $40 million to 21 organizations and five state agencies to help repair, electrify and weatherize homes—particularly those that need a lot of repairs first before any upgrades.

“Weatherization is a great way to save hundreds of dollars on energy bills, but unfortunately aging electrical systems and structural complications keep homes in disrepair locked out of this money-saving benefit,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in a press release.

This year’s awards provide $36.5 million to 21 organizations through the DOE’s Enhancement and Innovation (E&I) Program and $5.1 million to five state weatherization agencies through the Sustainable Energy Resources for Consumers (SERC) Program.

The E&I program awardees will focus on preparing homes in historically disadvantaged communities for weatherization and electrification. Some of the awardees include:

  • $1.65 million to Red Cloud Renewable in Pine Ridge, S.D., for “Native to Native Energy Sovereignty”—a path to net zero greenhouse gas emissions through energy retrofits, electrification and on-site renewables
  • $2 million to Enterprise Community Partners Inc. in Columbia, Md., for electrifying New York affordable housing units
  • $2 million to the Minnesota Department of Commerce in St. Paul. Minn., for its Weatherization Innovation through Roofing and Electrification Access Project

Additionally, some of the E&I selectees will focus on workforce development initiatives and activities, including outreach and recruitment, job readiness programs, new approaches to mentoring, counseling, coaching and stipends and wages for trainees. These initiatives may involve formal partnerships with organized labor, trade schools, technical colleges, local governments and community-based organizations dedicated to reducing barriers to employment for underserved populations.

Some of these awardees include:

  • $1.44 million to the Oregon Training Institute in Klamath Falls for weatherization workforce expansion and diversification
  • $1.9 million to Neighborhood Housing Services of Toledo Inc. in Toledo, Ohio, for the Toledo Healthy Homes Training Center
  • $600,000 to La Casa De Don Pedro, Newark, N.J., for the La Casa De Don Pedro Energy Efficiency and Green Job Training Program.

SERC awardees will incorporate innovative technologies, such as solar photovoltaic panels, geothermal heat pumps, cool roofs or exterior wall panels, into energy retrofits:

  • The New York State Homes and Community Renewal Office of Housing Preservation will install heat pump water heaters, air source heat pumps, solar photovoltaic and geothermal technologies on weatherization units, working particularly in opportunity zones and with Native American tribes.
  • The New Mexico Weatherization Assistance Program is transforming weatherization projects into grid-efficient buildings by installing solar photovoltaic, battery energy storage systems, heat pump water heaters, air source heat pumps and building energy management systems in multifamily projects. Work will be focused in opportunity zones and is expected to improve home energy performance by at least 30% over baseline.
  • The Minnesota Weatherization Assistance Program will prepare weatherization participants for the changing climate by outfitting homes with prefabricated exterior expanded polystyrene walls. Minnesota is focusing its work in historically redlined districts in Hennepin County, particularly engaging census tracts with a high “social vulnerability index.”
  • The Pennsylvania Weatherization Assistance Program is demonstrating that additional energy savings can be achieved in weatherized homes through expanding energy-saving materials and technologies, specifically hybrid water heaters. The project will target five census tracts that are opportunity Zones and USDA-designated underserved rural communities in Luzerne County.
  • The Massachusetts Weatherization Assistance Program will install air source heat pump technology in combination with the traditional components of full-scale weatherization measures at each project dwelling unit. The project will target municipal utility service territories and “gateway cities” facing social and economic challenges that are historically underserved due to lack of utility funds for low-income retrofits.

Since the program began in 1976, the Weatherization Assistance Program has helped more than 7 million families through weatherization services.

About the Author

Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert has more than three decades of experience writing about the construction industry, and her articles have been featured in the Associated General Contractor’s Constructor magazine, the American Fence Association’s Fencepost, the...

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