A blower door test is one of the many diagnostic features employed by our program to ensure the highest energy savings possible for those we serve.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oklahoma Recognizes Weatherization Day

Oct. 30, 2007 -- In recognition of the importance of energy conservation, Governor Brad Henry signed a proclamation recognizing today, Oct. 30, as Weatherization Day, an annual event highlighting the awareness of home energy conservation measures. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce Community Development Division is charged with administering the Oklahoma Weatherization Assistance Program. This program, primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, enables low-income families to reduce their average energy bills by more than $350 by improving the energy efficiency of their homes.

"The State of Oklahoma is committed to energy conservation and community assistance, and one of the ways that we make a difference in people's lives is through the Weatherization Assistance Program," says Vaughn Clark, Director of the Community Development Division at Commerce. "The program allows homeowners to reduce their energy costs, and stimulates economic growth in our state by putting more money back in the pockets of homeowners."

Since its creation, the Oklahoma Weatherization Assistance Program has reduced energy costs by an average of 22 percent to more than 1,400 homes each year, helping thousands of Oklahomans. Many of those assisted are the elderly, those with special needs, families with children and households with high energy burdens.

Through the Weatherization Assistance Program, energy efficiency services are performed free of charge for qualifying, low-income households. These services include weatherstripping doors, installing proper insulation, replacing windows, and other measures that help save energy and money. Commerce receives and distributes the weatherization funds, plans, implements, and manages the program and contracts with local Community Action Agencies (CAAs).

CAAs, in turn, qualify individuals, manage the program at the local level and provide weatherization services. Commerce also monitors for state and federal compliance and inspects the projects on-site. In order to assist more families and to provide additional energy conservation improvements, the Energy Conservation Assistance Fund was established by Commerce to expand the Weatherization Program. By contributing to the Energy Conservation Assistance Fund individuals and companies may receive a 50 percent tax credit against their Oklahoma tax liability. Once again this year the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board has made a generous contribution to the Energy Conservation Assistance Fund totaling $500,000.

"Thanks to generous donations, we have been able expand our services to additional families through the Weatherization Assistance Program," says Kathy McLaughlin, Director of Programs at Commerce. "With these donations we are able to help more Oklahomans gain access to energy efficient homes that will reduce their energy costs."

To recognize Weatherization Day in Oklahoma, a Weatherization Demonstration was held in Sperry by Commerce. A team of Weatherization technicians demonstrated the equipment and procedures used to identify energy and safety problems in low-income houses.

For more information about the Weatherization Assistance Program, or the Energy Conservation Assistance Fund, please contact Kathy McLaughlin at (405) 815-5339 or by e-mail at Kathy_Mclaughlin@OKcommerce.gov.

Weatherizing Homes Reduces Utility Bills, Improves Comfort Level

SACRAMENTO – As the winter season and cold weather approach, most families in California will raise their thermostats to combat dropping temperatures. For low-income families, however, turning up the heat is not always an option. These families pay about 14.6 percent of their annual income on energy, compared with only 3.2 percent for other households, and often cut back on other necessities to pay their energy bills.

"As winter approaches, I encourage all Californians to consider weatherizing their homes to lower their energy expenses and increase their energy conservation," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

One of the most efficient and economical means of energy conservation and lowering utility bills is weatherization. Weatherization is the practice of protecting a home or building and its interior from the elements and of modifying or repairing it to reduce energy consumption and optimize energy efficiency.

"The fact is weatherization works. It’s low-cost and improves energy efficiency and the comfort level during extreme weather conditions," said Lloyd Throne, Director of the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD). "Weatherization reduces average annual energy costs per household by about $358 during the first year. For every $1 invested in weatherization, $1.53 is returned in energy-related benefits."

CSD partners with a network of more than 100 local community service providers who directly administer federal grant programs, including the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (DOE WAP) for low-income families. In 2006, CSD’s network distributed over $112 million in LIHEAP/DOE WAP funding to more than 250,000 eligible households for emergency, financial and weatherization assistance, which includes attic insulation, weather-stripping and minor housing repairs.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recognizes the plight of low-income families in meeting their home energy needs and has proclaimed October 30, 2007, as "Weatherization Day" in California to raise awareness of the importance of weatherization.

The Governor’s proclamation can be viewed at www.gov.ca.gov/archive/proclamations. For more information about weatherization, log on to http://www.csd.ca.gov/.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Governor Declares October 30 Weatherization Day in Michigan

Gov. Jennifer Granholm has declared October 30 as Weatherization Day in Michigan, a time for government and local community agencies to help low-income residents find ways to stay warm this winter.

"This day draws attention to the impact of rising energy costs and the savings that can be realized by small investments in weatherization programs,” Granholm said.

The Michigan Department of Human Services administers federal funds that reduce the energy burden on low-income families by installing cost-effective measures that increase a home’s energy efficiency. The program also provides energy education to households, educating individuals about lifestyle changes that can greatly reduce the fuel usage in a home. The energy conservation realized through this program reduces reliance on fossil fuels.

A network of 32 local agencies around Michigan – primarily community action agencies – deliver services to more than 5,000 low-income households each year. Services typically cost about $2,826 per household and are available in every county.

“Rising energy costs continue to have a significant impact on low-income families, some of whom may spend up to 40 percent of their income on utility bills,” DHS Director Ismael Ahmed said. “The average cost savings of $300 annually after a home is weatherized can be better spent on groceries, medical care and other critical needs that help a family continue on the path to self-sufficiency.”

Since the inception of Michigan’s Weatherization Assistance Program in 1976 more than 250,000 homes have been made more energy efficient. Local technicians use computerized energy audits and advanced diagnostics to determine the most cost-effective measures for each home and assess related health and safety conditions.

These households save an average of $275 to $324 on their annual heating bills after the weatherization work is completed. Weatherization services include installing insulation, sealing and balancing ducts, cleaning and repairing heating system, minimizing heat loss through windows and doors, carbon monoxide monitoring, and education on basic energy conservation activities.

Weatherization also creates jobs and reduces pollution. Carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by an average of one ton for each weatherized home, reducing pollution levels in Michigan by an average of 4,995 tons annually for the past three years. A total of 52 jobs are created within the nation’s communities for each $1 million invested in weatherization resulting in 2,340 jobs in Michigan in the past three years.

For more information regarding the weatherization program, go to www.michigan.gov/dhs-weatherization

Weatherization Assistance Program Legislative Update

You may remember that the WAP was slated to receive another significant cut in the 2008 President’s Budget. The Administration asked for $144 million in WAP funds – a $98 million (or 41 percent) reduction from 2006. The House rejected this lower funding request and passed their 2008 Energy and Water bill with $242.5 million in WAP funds. The Senate Appropriations Committee also passed their version of the Energy and Water bill establishing a WAP funding level of $245 million for 2008 - although this bill has not been sent to the Senate floor for a vote.

Since no bill has been passed by the Senate, no Joint Conference work can occur to resolve differences in the two versions. And of course no bill can be sent to the President for signature.
Because Congress was unable to pass 10 of the 11 Appropriations bills by the September 30th deadline, a Continuing Resolution was passed through November 15th. This is a stopgap measure put in place to keep government operating until either the spending bills or an Omnibus bill can be passed by Congress and sent to the President for signature. Here's where we are at this time:

o It does not appear that the Energy and Water Appropriations bill will pass the Senate floor and a Joint Conference Committee be established before the November 15th deadline. In fact, it is unlikely that any bills will pass before that time, meaning that another Continuing Resolution will need to be passed by Congress to carry government - probably until after the Christmas recess. This means that WAP advance funding may not be available as was originally planned for in the bill. It also means that any funds made available would not exceed last year's level of $204 million and could be less since no new funding levels have been established.

o It is unlikely at this time that a stand alone Energy and Water bill will be passed by Congress. It is more likely that the Energy and Water bill will be included in a large Omnibus bill or one of two or three "MiniBus" bills, lumping our bill with several other spending bills. The timing on passage of these bills is again after Christmas recess.

Regardless of the mechanism, it is probable that WAP funding will see an increase to either the House or Senate level or a compromise between the two.

So what does all this mean? If Congress passes a stand alone bill and it is signed by the President, WAP gets the funding agreed to in Joint Conference.

If an Omnibus is passed including the Energy and Water Bill, WAP receives the funds agreed to by those who work on the Omnibus (probably a compromise between the House and Senate level). If a Continuing resolution is passed like normal, WAP will likely receive last year's funding since funding usually is equal to the lower of the House level, the Senate level or last year's funding. If a Continuing Resolution is passed like last year, DOE will set the limit on funding those programs like WAP without a line item.

This is how WAP received a $36 million reduction even though Congress wanted the Program funded at higher levels.

On a related matter, there is still pending legislation reauthorizing the WAP at much higher funding levels and including three projects that would be added to the Program's portfolio -

1. The Senate has passed an Energy Efficiency Block Grant Program as part of their H.R. 6 Energy Bill of 2007 passed in July. The House has introduced a version of the Block Grant as part of their version of the 2007 Energy Bill. In both cases, the grant program will allow the Secretary of DOE to make direct grants to cities and communities across America to perform a variety of energy efficiency initiatives including WAP according to the House version.

2. The House version contains a new project in the reauthorization language establishing a Sustainable Energy Resources for Consumers Grant. This program provides for the Secretary to set aside up to 2 percent of the annual WAP appropriations to fund a renewable energy application project for low-and moderate income families. The grant activity cannot commence until Congress provides WAP with appropriations in excess of $275 million and the grants will still be managed through the states for fiscal oversight and reporting.

3. The House Energy Bill also includes an "Alternate Delivery System Pilot Projects." The amendment allows the Department’s ability to move WAP funds away from the formula grant and provide them to other organizations outside of our network. Again this activity is limited to a percentage of the award over $275 million.

As always, we will keep you informed as we learn more.

Governor Joe Manchin III Proclaims Weatherization Day in West Virginia


Governor Joe Manchin III announced that Tuesday, October 30, 2007 will be known as Weatherization Day in the Mountain State. The dedication of this day as Weatherization Day celebrates the accomplishments of the Weatherization Assistance Program, an excellent federal, state, and local partnership.

Today as a nation, we are faced with a new challenge to demonstrate resolve to increase our energy security and develop a domestic portfolio of diverse energy resources to meet supply and demand. Weatherization not only assists families and households working toward self-sufficiency, but also contributes more broadly to the improvements and economic progress of communities and adds to the nation's energy security.

Governor Manchin also stated that this program has helped nearly 1100 families in our state to conserve energy and reduce their costs for heating, cooling, and electricity. The money saved by reducing their energy bills can now be used by these families to pay for medicine, food, clothing and other essentials in their daily lives.

To view an image of the proclamation, visit:


Governor Rendell Proclaims Oct. 30 as 'Weatherization Day'

HARRISBURG – Citing the importance of being more energy efficient, Governor Edward G. Rendell has declared Oct. 30 as “Weatherization Day” in Pennsylvania.

“With winter on our doorstep and energy costs still rising, it’s important to remember that our state’s weatherization program can help by showing people how to properly insulate their homes, repair or replace their inefficient or unsafe heating systems, and other techniques to help them lower their utility costs,” the Governor said. “Pennsylvanians can also get help paying their heating bills through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.

“Weatherization and LIHEAP have helped thousands of our most vulnerable citizens and they will continue to do so, but we can do more,” the Governor said. “My Energy Independence Strategy keeps more money in Pennsylvanians’ pockets, while reducing our reliance on foreign, costly, and environmentally harmful energy sources.’

The initiative calls for the creation of an $850 million Energy Independence Fund, which would support clean energy by providing rebates to install more energy efficient appliances; give financial assistance to alternative energy companies in Pennsylvania; and support the development of specific energy economic development projects.

“The Energy Independence Strategy will create 13,000 new jobs, attract $3.5 billion in new investment to the commonwealth and cut down on pollution,” Governor Rendell said. “It goes a long way in making Pennsylvania more economically and environmentally sound for generations to come.

“Rising fuel and heating oil costs as well as national concerns over security and the environment mean energy conservation is an issue that can no longer be ignored. We should be thinking of preserving energy year round, not just on Weatherization Day,” the Governor said. “I encourage all Pennsylvanians to take advantage of the resources the commonwealth has available to help pay their utility bills this winter and to learn how to make the state more energy efficient.”

To learn more about LIHEAP and weatherization programs, log onto http://www.staywarmpa.com/. More information on the Energy Independence Strategy is available by visiting http://www.newpa.com/ or by calling 1-866-466-3972.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

LIHEAP Appropriations Update

October 24, 2007

Progress is being made on the release of first quarter LIHEAP funds. HHS told House Appropriations staff that they are hoping to get the first quarter LIHEAP apportionment and funds out to the states by the end of the week. NEADA will continue to monitor the situation until it gets resolved. On another note, the Senate passed the FY 2008 Labor, HHS Appropriations bill last night. The vote was 75-19 and would have been 80-20 had Kennedy, Dodd, Obama, Biden and McCain been present to vote on the bill. While the President has threatened to veto bill, there is now a veto-proof margin in the Senate and the House is short by about 6 votes. The Senate bill maintains LIHEAP the FY 07 funding level of $2.16 billion ($1.98 billion in basic grant and $181.7 million in contingency); the House includes a $500 million increase for a total of $2.66 billion ($1.98 billion in basic grant and $681.7 million in contingency). The next step will be conference where we will have to fight to keep the additional $500 million in contingency funding included in the House passed level for LIHEAP.

For more information contact:
Mark Wolfe, National Energy Assistance Directors' Association

Friday, October 19, 2007

Governor Sebelius Proclaims October 3rd, 2007 ENERGY STAR® Change a Light Day

October 3, 2007

Topeka, KS — In an effort to help the United States save energy, money, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Governor Kathleen Sebelius is encouraging Kansans to celebrate Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007 as ENERGY STAR Change a Light Day, with a pledge to change at least one light at home to an energy-efficient model.

“If all the households in Kansas changed just one incandescent light bulb to an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, Kansas could save up to 85 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year,” said Sebelius. “This is enough energy to light every household in Topeka for nearly 220 days.”

Energy efficient light bulbs also help families save money on monthly utility bills and protect the climate. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates the amount of energy saved would reduce household electrical bills by a combined total of $4.5 million a year, while preventing over 85 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year. This is equivalent to removing the annual emissions of more than 7 thousand cars from Kansas' roadways.

“Lighting accounts for nearly 20 percent of the average home's electric bill. ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs use at least 75% less energy than standard bulbs and last up to ten times longer,” said Al Dorsey of Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, the state’s leading quasi-public entity promoting affordable housing opportunities for all Kansans.

“Switching to energy-efficient lighting is an easy step we can each take to protect energy resources and our environment, all the while saving money on energy bills today,” added Dorsey.

Homeowners are encouraged to switch to light fixtures or bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR label, which designates products that meet strict energy efficiency criteria, set by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) joins the DOE, EPA, Department of Housing and Urban Development, others within the federal government, and leaders of all levels from across the country to celebrate ENERGY STAR Change a Light Day and bring attention to the critical importance of using energy wisely at work and at home.

KHRC administers the Weatherization Assistance Program, funded through the Department of Energy and the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, which provides housing improvements that increase energy efficiency in income-eligible, single or multi-family dwellings, including manufactured homes. The agency also administers the Kansas Energy Efficiency Program offering interest-free loans to qualified Kansas homeowners to make improvements to their homes to increase energy efficiency.

For more information or to take the ENERGY STAR® Change a Light Pledge, visit www.energystar.gov/changealight. Businesses and organizations can also show their commitment to energy efficiency and help to spread the word by posting a link to the Pledge on their own websites.

For more information, contact Catherine Couch at 785-296-0081

Monday, October 15, 2007

Weatherization Assistance Program Poised as Issue of Importance in Bipartisan Agendas

Over the past few years, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has gained increased recognition for its many environmental and economic benefits as issues of energy and climate move to the forefront. This attention has come from both sides of the aisle with true and enthuastic support from Republicans and Democrats alike.

Recently, Ohio State Representative Jimmy Stewart (R-Albany)described his support of the WAP in the Athens News stating, "You can't get more conservative than energy efficiency".

Positive mention of weatherization surfaces once more in the Pennsylvania’s GOP's energy platform as an area of conservation they support.

This is similiar to Democratic support of the program evidenced in a previous blog posted in April which discussed how the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) was poised to become an issue in the 2008 Presidential Campaign thanks to Senator Edwards' inclusion of the WAP in his Environmental Policy Platform.

Earlier this month, fellow Democratic candidate Barack Obama published his own Environmental Platform which listed both Weatherization and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) as worthwhile investments for a "Clean Energy Future". The text from this section of his plan can be found below and a full text version is posted to Gristmill.

Invest Revenue for a Clean Energy Future:
Some of the revenue generated by auctioning allowances will be used to support the development and deployment of clean energy, invest in energy efficiency improvements and address transition costs, including helping American workers affected by this economic transition and helping lower-income Americans afford their energy bills by expanding the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, expanding weatherization grants for low-income individuals to make their homes more energy efficient, and establishing a dedicated fund to assist low-income Americans afford higher electricity and energy bills

We thank the above parties and policymakers for their support of the WAP and for recognizing how this program works to ensure energy is affordable for families most in need while meeting long-term energy conservation goals.

We are truly grateful for this bipartisan support and appreciate the renewed interest and recognition of the Weatherization Assistance Program as "low hanging fruit" on our path to Energy Independence.