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.

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.