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.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Senate Appropriations Committee Adds $1 Billion Supplemental to LIHEAP for FY 2008

The Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday added $1 billion to LIHEAP for FY 2008. The funds would be split $500 million for the base formula and $500 million for the contingency funds with the condition that the contingency funds would be released within 30 days and allocated by the Tier 1 formula.

This is very good news and increases the possibility that funding for FY 08 could be significantly increases. The additional funding was included on 20-9 vote.

Note: this is not a done deal. It still has to pass the House and be approved by the President.

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Course Assists Low Income Students, Trains “Green Collar” Workforce

Vermont Technical College, Agency of Human Services' Office of Economic Opportunity Announce Creation of Certified Energy Audior Program

Waterbury, Vt—The Vermont Agency of Human Services’ Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and Vermont Technical College (VTC) today announced a new collaborative effort to educate students about the emerging practice of energy auditing.

The Certified Energy Auditor Program will be offered through VTC’s Center for Sustainable Practices, and will lead to certification in building and heating systems analysis from the nationally recognized Buildings Performance Institute.

Twelve students, including two low income Vermonters enrolled in OEO’s Micro Business program, will participate in the summer course, which begins on May 19th, 2008. VTC will enroll students who are seeking degrees, beyond the certification, in Sustainable Design and Technology, Construction Practice and Management, and Architectural Building Engineering Technology.

After completing a traditional classroom experience, students will be placed in paid internships with local Weatherization Programs administered by Vermont’s five Community Action Agencies, and will receive their certification after the completion of a successful field examination.

“The need for energy auditors and heating efficiency contractors is growing rapidly, both in Vermont and across the nation,” noted Cynthia D. LaWare, Secretary of the Agency of Human Services. “The Agency of Human Services and our OEO are pleased to partner with VTC in developing this new green economy workforce, which will help low income Vermonters take advantage of the opportunities available in this emerging field.”

“We are proud to collaborate with the Agency in this exciting venture, and are pleased that Vermont Tech will be a leader in training the ‘green collar workforce’ for Vermont’s future,” added VTC President, Dr. Ty Handy.

VTC currently enrolls 1,556 students, approximately 90 percent of whom are Vermonters. 87 percent of last year’s graduates found jobs in Vermont, and the school has long boasted a 98 percent job placement rate nationwide.

The OEO is a division of the Agency of Human Services’ Department for Children and Families, with a mission to help Vermonters become more self sufficient and to support low income residents as they move out of poverty. The OEO, working in partnership with the five Community Action Agencies, served more than 44,000 low income Vermonters in 2007.

Monday, April 21, 2008

WAP and the Green Workforce

On the weekend of April 4 – 6, over a thousand energy efficiency and antipoverty advocates joined together in Memphis, Tennessee for Green for All's (http://www.greenforall.org/) "Dream Reborn" conference to discuss ways to “bring jobs, justice, wealth and health” to low income communities and share the many new programs and projects underway designed to move out individuals of poverty through environmentally sustainable, living wage jobs.

Sessions included an overview and formal definition of the national green jobs movement and key policy issues. Attendees also learned about successful green-collar job training programs already taking place across the nation including the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training Program, Greencorps Chicago, and Solar Richmond which offer a range of training and job placement options to disadvantaged individuals.

During this conference, NASCSP staff met with individuals from several key "green workforce" organizations to discuss areas of potential collaboration between the Weatherization Assistance Program and other environmentally beneficial initiatives. Such partnership seems natural. After all, WAP was green before green was cool, generating 45 green jobs for every $1 million invested in the Program.

In addition to working towards national partnerships we have also continued to research green workforce programs currently taking place across the nation. In order to better understand this movement it helps to recognize that it is the product of several simultaneous movements through several major organizations including environmentalists, unions, and antipoverty groups.

Perhaps the clearest guidelines for defining green collar jobs have been offered by Green for All (http://www.greenforall.org/resources/green-collar-jobs-overview).

Based upon the criteria offered by Green for All, NASCSP is currently conducting a formalized survey to learn what jobs taking place through assistance from the Weatherization Assistance Program and Community Services Block Grant Programs.

We encourage you to visit
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=PMKlt_2f2dWW_2f1iK_2fLqfvj_2bA_3d_3d and complete this form. A summary of responses will be available on the NASCSP website in the near future.

For additional information on the movement, visit:

Greener Pathways: Jobs and Workforce Development in the Clean Energy Economy -

Green-Collar Jobs in America's Cities: Building Pathways Out of Poverty and Careers in the Clean Energy Economy -

Legislative Update

NASCSP has submitted it's 2008 testimony to the Senate Energy and Water Appropriation Subcommittee requesting $300 million in WAP and $75 million in SEP. These figures were echoed by several national organizations like the Alliance to Save Energy, ACEEE, NASEO and others. We expect the Subcommittee to mark-up their bill sometime in late May or early June. There has been no word from the House Subcommittee about their mark up of this year's bill, although we still expect their actions to be completed by early May.

There has been a lot of activity lately surrounding a possible supplemental Appropriations package that will include many components of the economic stimulation package that were not included in the first one (remember your $300 to $600 tax rebate). NASCSP has been promoting WAP as a viable green jobs initiative as well as a consumer of large ticket purchases in the economy (like trucks, equipment, appliances, etc.). This has been supported by many other national organizations for including WAP in the bill. We have been unable to determine whether this argument will result in additional funding for WAP. The debates are taking place now and if a bill is actually introduced, it is expected within the month.

There have been several meetings with national organizations about the pending "cap and trade" legislation being considered for the Senate floor.

There are a couple of versions being circulated to help the U.S. begin to seriously address its carbon emissions and global environmental impact.

"Cap and trade" legislation comes with a significant cost to all consumers - but a major impact on low-income families who must absorb the price increases on most commodities within their budgets. The legislation includes remedies for holding the low-income harmless from these increases through bill payment like LIHEAP, energy efficiency like WAP, and price equity like rebates on commodity purchases. NASCSP is working with many organizations to address WAP's role in this legislation. While it is too early to tell how the final bill will look, there is good support for WAP to be included as one of the remedies to help low-income families address their increased energy costs and at huge funding levels in the out years based on carbon credit auctions.

As you can see, there is a lot of ground work taking place during this time that we hope will secure the future of WAP. As always, we will keep you informed as we learn more.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Updated Savings and Energy Data

Following is the basic data update for the Weatherization Assistance Program based on the Annual Energy Outlook for 2008 and the first-year energy savings based on the February 2008 Short Term Energy Outlook.

Please feel free to share these numbers with all interested parties.

Ø The average first-year savings based on the current Short Term Energy Outlook for 2008 in current dollars is now $413.

Ø The estimated average energy benefit in 2006 dollars over the life of the measures is $5,274.

Ø The estimated average cost per unit in 2006 dollars is $3,204.

Ø The benefit/cost ratio is 1.65.

Ø The estimated average value of non-energy benefits in 2006 dollars is $3,446.

Ø The societal benefit/cost ration is 2.72

Friday, April 4, 2008

Legislative Update

A few of you have requested that we provide more frequent updates on the Appropriations process so you can stay abreast of the most recent events.

To that end we will try to give updates every two weeks or more frequently as mark ups and votes take place.

As of now negotiations are still taking place within the Senate and House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittees. Yesterday, Assistant Secretary Karsner testified at the Senate hearing and was asked why WAP was zeroed out this year. His response was the same as the one he gave in the House Subcommittee hearing two weeks ago. He contends the WAP no longer belongs within the EERE portfolio. He also stated that the Program only has a 1.5 return on investment and that this pales in comparison to the return on investment of the research and development projects.

Meetings have occurred between the WAP advocates and many staff offices in both the House and Senate. The message has been consistent in each of these meetings - the WAP is cost effective, it is meeting and exceeding its public purpose, it belongs in DOE, and it deserves to have its funding restored and increased if possible. NASCSP has provided its testimony in support of the WAP to the House Subcommittee and will make its submission to the Senate within the next few days.

Mark up of the House and Senate Energy and Water bills will take soon. We expect the House mark-up to be completed by the end of April. The Senate bill should be marked up by late May or early June. Of course these are mere projections. The mark-up process is still a little confusing because of the huge fund shortages with these bills as compared to the amount being requested (at least $1 billion but as high as $6 to $7 billion if the new energy initiatives in the 2007 Energy Bill are included).

It is still too early to predict where WAP funding will finally settle. We are hoping that last year's level of $227 million can be attained.

Advocates are asking for $300 million in 2009 with the chance of reaching figures close to $500 million through stimulus packages being considered this summer. The 2009 authorization level for WAP is $900 million.

We have all heard the phrase "times are tough this year." Well here it is again. Times are tough this year. And DOE zeroing out the Program has made things more difficult because they continue to defend that position with Congressional members. As always, we will keep you informed as we learn more.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Representative Solis Express Support for Weatherization, LIHEAP

The attached video clip shows Representative Solis's opening statements at the Energy and Commerce Hearing with Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. During the hearning, Solis asks that the department not just give hope but provide funds for important programs like LIHEAP and weatherization efforts that help reduce the cost of energy for working Californians.


We thank Representative Solis for her continued support of our program during this difficult budget season!

Monday, February 25, 2008

More Mentions in the Blogosphere

February 22, 2008

“Should a Global Climate Agreement Hold the US to a Higher Standard?”
– Paul Calhoun, Environmental Help
Supportive of WAP as positive environmental policy. Seems unaware of full amount of cut to WAP in President’s budget, but calls for support of WAP at $300 million for FY09.

February 19, 2008

“Energy Imports, Conservation, & National Security”
– Chimera-Gaia blog
Pro-conservation. Critical of DOE for not being supportive of WAP.

February 14, 2008

“Bush Administration Flip-Flops on Weatherization Assistance Program”
– New England Fuel Assistance
Explains Bush’s zeroing out of WAP and calls for funding closer to authorized levels. Also critical of removal of language supportive of program on DOE website.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This Week in Blogs

February 13, 2008

“The Modern World” – OZ, Earth Family Alpha
Critical of President’s zeroing out of WAP and removal of positive language from website.

February 12, 2008

“A New Blueprint for Lending: Energy Efficiency” -
Smoo, Local Warming
Discusses the increased economic impact of energy efficiency and questions the elimination of WAP funding in the President’s budget.

“Climate Change/Pollution – Info and Small Rant”
– Helwen, Off the Beaten Track
Critical of President’s elimination of WAP funding in his 2009 budget and removal of positive language from website. Seems to believe program was eliminated entirely.

“Government for the Wealthy, Without a Doubt…”
– Timothy V. Gatto, LiberalPro
Critical of President’s elimination of WAP funding in his 2009 budget, among other issues.

“Senate Hearing Exchange that Says it All” –
Wabi-Sabi, Born in the USA- Citizen of the World
Quotes question of Bodman during Energy Hearing that strongly supports WAP.

“Weatherization Assistance” –
About.com’s US Government Info ‘What’s Hot Now’ Section
Definition and description of WAP added to site as new issue of interest.

February 11, 2008

“Bush Proposes Elimination of Low Income Home Weatherization Program” – Gerry Norlander, Pulp Network
Critical of President’s zeroing out of WAP and removal of positive language from website.

“Bush Responds to Congressman Markey’s Questions About WAP Cuts…”
Critical of President’s zeroing out of WAP and removal of positive language from website.

“FY2009 Budget Request Means Big Cuts for Efficiency, Renewables” –
Denis Du Bois, Energy Priorities
Critical of President’s elimination of WAP funding in his 2009 budget and other key programs.

“Keeping Scientists in Line” –
Energy Bulletin
Critical of removal of positive language from DOE Website after cutting WAP. Discusses in Orwellian terms.

“Words About Weatherization” –
David Bradley, NCAF
Critical of President’s elimination of WAP funding in his 2009 budget and removal of positive language from website.

February 10, 2008

“Bodman as Orwell” -
Critical of President’s elimination of WAP funding in his 2009 budget and removal of positive language from website.

February 9, 2008

“Bush Doublespeak: ‘Prosperity and Peace and in the Balance’” –
Steve Crickmore, Wizbang Blue
Uses elimination of positive language on WAP from DOE website as example of Orwellian nature of current Administration.

February 8, 2008

“And by ‘Successful’ We Mean ‘Socialist’” –
Jonathan Kulick, The Reality Based Community
http://www.samefacts.com/archives/energy_and_environment_/2008/02/and_by_successful_we_mean_socialist.php Mentions removal of positive language on WAP from website and subsequent fallout..

“Oops!” – Brian Beutler
Critical of President’s elimination of WAP funding in his 2009 budget and removal of positive language from website.

“The Bush Administration is…” –
Leisure Guy, Later On
Mentions removal of positive language on WAP from website and subsequent fallout.

“Weatherization Assistance Program for Low Income Persons” –
Money Scoop
Explains program and how to apply for benefits.

February 7, 2008

“Bush Budget Would Bring Record Deficits-
Nevada Thunder
Critical of President’s budget. Mentions zeroing out of WAP.

“Bodman as Orwell: DOE Erases ‘Most Successful’ Weatherization Program…” –
Joe, Climate Progress
Critical of President’s elimination of WAP funding in his 2009 budget and removal of positive language from website.

“Essay: Budget Blues – 2/7/08” –
Todd Mundt, Jack Lessenberry Essays and Interviews
Critical of President’s cuts to budget including zeroing out of WAP.

February 6, 2008

“Realism, Not Rhetoric” -
Questions the President’s commitment to energy efficiency after the zeroing out of WAP and severe cuts to other programs with environmental benefits.

“Lame Budget from a Lame Duck Administration” –
Heather Taylor, Switchboard from the National Resources Defense Council
Critical of President’s elimination of WAP funding in his 2009 budget and severe cuts to other programs with social and environmental benefits.

February 5, 2008

“Bush, the Uncompassionate, Anti-Technology President” –
Critical of President’s elimination of WAP funding in his 2009 budget and severe cuts to other programs with social and environmental benefits.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bodman Responds to Congressman Markey's Questions About WAP Cuts and Changes to Website

Below is Secretary Bodman's response to questions regarding the rationale behind zeroing out the Weatherization Assistance Program and the removal of favorable language on the Program from the Department's website.

We thank Congressman Markey for his continued support of weatherization and low income families it serves.

President’s Budget Gives America’s Families the Cold Shoulder

Budget Eliminates Funding for Low Income Weatherization Program, Cuts Energy Assistance

Washington, DC – Advocates for energy conservation and America’s low-income families were disappointed and “left out in the cold” last Monday when the President announced his budget for Fiscal Year 2009. Despite measurable returns and numerous benefits to both the economy and the environment, the Administration and the Department of Energy have asked Congress to eliminate all funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program. The Administration as also requested that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) receive a 22% cut to $1.7 billion in formula funding and $300 million emergency funding.

Funded through the Department of Energy and administered by state governments and a local network of 900 local agencies, the Weatherization Assistance Program is one of the largest energy efficiency programs in the country and provides invaluable assistance to improve the energy efficiency of dwellings occupied by vulnerable low-income households, including the elderly, the disabled and families with children.

These devastating cuts to the WAP have come in the wake of a series of proposals by officials inside the Department to radically restructure the program in lieu of continuing its effective investments in these homes. Vaughn Clark, Director of the Office of Community Development for the State of Oklahoma and Chair of the National Association for State Community Services Programs expressed his concern regarding the President’s decision to reduce funding for these programs. “It is baffling that the Administration would dismiss a program that is currently producing substantial energy savings for our nation and reducing our energy demand by the equivalent of 18 million barrels of oil a year; a program that creates a 25% to 30% reduction in primary heating fuel use for the low income households we serve.”

“And it is highly irresponsible that the Administration and the Department would eliminate WAP and cut LIHEAP programs now when our nation is nearing a recession and thousands of low income families across the nation are facing no heat situations” Clark stated.

The Department of Energy has also failed to enact a National Evaluation of the program that was previously agreed to by the Office of Management and Budget and the states. Representatives from across the network continue to urge the Department to conduct this evaluation to reaffirm the successful metrics for the program.

“A national evaluation would eliminate any perceived justification the Department of Energy might have for cutting altering, or dismantling this critical program. We are confident the results of the evaluation will both confirm our previous data that shows the program as extremely cost effective and will recommend ways in which we can make it even better – for the low-income families we serve and the country,” Clark said.

For more information on the Weatherization Assistance Program, please visit http://www.waptac.org.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Markey Ridicules Change On Energy Dept. Web Site

Fortunately, much of the Department's praise was preserved in the above screen shot and can be enlarged by clicking on the image.

Words of praise for an Energy Department weatherization program were removed from its Web site shortly after the program was proposed for elimination in President Bush's FY09 budget Monday, House Global Warming Chairman Markey said Thursday.

The weatherization assistance program that enables low-income families to reduce energy bills through home-efficiency measures was billed on the Web site Monday as "this country's longest running, and perhaps most successful energy efficiency program," Markey said at a hearing on the department budget.

The line was erased by Wednesday, after the budget proposal called for eliminating the program. "Instead of insulating the poor against high energy costs, the Department of Energy is more concerned with insulating themselves against embarrassment," Markey said.

Energy spokeswoman Julie Ruggiero said the language was removed during a regular update of the Web site. "We proposed to cut [the weatherization program] because its funding competes with key investments," she added.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cantwell: President’s Budget Continues to Shortchange Americans

WASHINGTON, DC – Monday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) expressed her dismay at the president’s Fiscal Year 2009 budget which, as in years past, breaks commitments to Washington state residents and does nothing to curb the rising costs of energy, health care and education. Cantwell looks forward to working with the next administration in crafting a budget that is not only fiscally responsible, but protects successful programs benefitting small businesses and the middle class.

Cantwell identified eight specific ways the administration’s budget request falls short. Below is her language regarding the Weatherization Assistance Program:

Weatherizing Program: The President’s budget cut the government’s most successful energy efficiency effort, the Weatherization Assistance Program. The program enables low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. The Weatherization Assistance Program provides weatherization services free of charge to approximately 100,000 low-income households every year, 9 percent of whom have annual incomes of less than $15,000, and two-thirds earn less than $8,000 per year. On average, weatherization reduces heating bills by 31 percent and overall energy bills by $358 per year. This year, using funds already appropriated, Washington state will receive $4.5 million dollars from the DOE Weatherization program which will help provide services to 1300 households.

“At a time of economic uncertainty when American’s can’t afford to heat their homes, this is not the time for the Administration to make cuts to energy efficient programs,” said Cantwell. “Nearly 1,300 households in Washington state will benefit from this program in 2008.”

Monday, February 4, 2008

President's FY2009 Budget

It was announced earlier today that the Administration and Department of Energy have zeroed-out funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program in the FY2009 budget offered by the President. It is now up to Congress to fulfill its commitment to the program by providing critical funding at or above this year’s level.

This is the first time in over a decade that any administration has attempted to eliminate this program. And it is highly irresponsible that they would do so now when our nation is nearing a recession and thousands of low income families across the nation are facing no heat situations.

In other news, LIHEAP has received a 22% cut in the President’s FY09 budget to $1.7billion in formula funding and $300 million emergency funding. State Energy Program funding has been listed at levels of $25 million in formula funding and $25 million for competitive grants.

The National Partners will be holding a Congressional Briefing tomorrow, February 5 and a press conference later next week at the National Press Club to address these outcomes. In the meantime, we will continue to hold meetings with Congress throughout the budget process.

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

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

January Update

Shortly before Congress recessed for 2007, they passed two important pieces of legislation affecting the WAP. The first was the 2008 Omnibus Spending bill which provided the WAP with $227.4 million for 2008 - $21 million more than last year and $83 million more than the Administration requested. We are fortunate to have such bipartisan support in Congress for our Program and look forward to more of the same in 2009.

The second was the 2007 Energy Bill that reauthorized the WAP at significant higher levels for 2008 and beyond with the level reaching $1.4 billion in 2012. While authorization levels are not appropriations, these marks again signal overwhelming support for WAP in Congress.

There were two other amendments to the WAP authorization that we have told you about before. The first is the Renewable Energy Project that allows the Secretary to set aside up to 2% of the WAP funds when they exceed $275 million in any year the Department elects to fund this initiative (also referred to as the Rush (D-IL) Amendment). The language describing that project is part of Section 411 below.

The second is actually the creation of a new grant altogether - the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. This project allows the Department to fund cities and other units of local government to perform a variety of allowable energy efficiency services. This grant will be designed and administered at the federal level but will have several areas of competition among local recipients. There is a section of the Block Grant to be administered by the states through a formula distribution. $2 billion is authorized for each year from 2008 through 2012. DOE will be required to promulgate rules within the next year to administer the Block Grant. According to the funding requirements, this Block Grant can be used to supplement current WAP and SEP activities but not supplant it.

Please check back for additional information regarding these new issues facing the WAP.