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.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

President Obama: Insulation is Sexy!

At an appearance today in Northern Virginia, President Obama spoke about the value and importance of home retrofits, saying "Insulation is sexy stuff. Here's what's sexy about it: saving money." The Weatherization Assistance Program is one of the tools in the arsenal of energy efficiency programs which can put Americans back to work while saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vice President Biden on The Daily Show Defending Recovery Act Reporting

Yesterday, Vice President Biden went on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to defend the reporting and performance of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. With the Weatherization Assistance Program so much in the spotlight and jobs such a focus, this exchange was interesting and it was encouraging to see the administration stand up for its investments. Please take a moment to view below.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Joe Biden Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weatherization in the News and NASCSP Response

You may have seen the Washington Post article from November 7th, "Painting a street green hasn't stimulated one new job"

While the article brings up valid points about the Weatherization Assistance Program, NASCSP has written a response, which can be seen below.

November 9, 2009

Dear Mr. MacGillis:

I read with great interest your article from November 7, 2009 titled “Painting a street green hasn’t stimulated one new job.” I am the Director of Weatherization Services for the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP). NASCSP is an organization that provides many functions for State Weatherization Assistance Program managers, including maintaining a comprehensive program website (www.waptac.org) , communicating with and representing members on programmatic issues, and facilitating the exchange of programmatic and residential energy efficiency best practices.

Both state and local Weatherization Program managers are frustrated that the ramp up of the Recovery Act-funded Weatherization Program has not gone exactly as planned, but we are confident that we have overcome most obstacles have and now see a rapid increase in new jobs and units weatherized with the ARRA funds.

The major obstacle that faced Weatherization Program operators was the ARRA requirement that prevailing Davis Bacon-mandated wages had to be paid to all laborers performing work. Until passage of the Recovery Act, the Weatherization Program was exempt from Davis Bacon requirements.

The new Davis Bacon requirement stalled the hiring of new workers in the following ways:

• The Department of Labor did not determine that that Davis Bacon prevailing wages would in fact apply to the Weatherization Assistance Program, and that past waivers would not be valid until June 1, 2009;
• In early July, the Department of Labor determined that a new worker classification and new wage determination would be made for residential weatherization worker since none of the existing classifications were deemed appropriate for the scope of work performed by the program workers;
• The Department of Labor conducted surveys of all Weatherization Program providers and made new wage determinations for the new classification of Weatherization Worker for all counties in the United States, which was completed by the end of August;
• The Department of Energy had to develop specific contract language relating to Davis Bacon requirements for all Weatherization Program contracts;
• Payroll systems had to be revised to be weekly payrolls (most were every two weeks or bimonthly) to conform to Davis Bacon requirements.

Weatherization Program managers are well aware of the increased scrutiny inherent with Recovery Act funds, and are working diligently to insure both proper accountability and transparency. While there is a great need and pressure to move quickly, there is also a sense of caution to make sure that funds are spent wisely and there are no future audit questions. Now that the major obstacles, such as the Davis Bacon requirements, have been worked out, we expect the Weatherization Program to be back on target towards meeting Recovery Act objectives in the very near future.

I would be happy to provide you with any additional information and serve as a future resource to you for information concerning the Weatherization Assistance Program.


Bob Scott
Director of Weatherization Services
National Association for State Community Services Programs

Monday, November 2, 2009

Steven Chu: Weatherization: Saving Money by Saving Energy

Energy Secretary Steven Chu posted a positive story on Weatherization and Weatherization Day on the Huffington Post. Read it here

Dr. Steven Chu, distinguished scientist and co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics (1997), was appointed by President Obama as the 12th Secretary of Energy and sworn into office on January 21, 2009.

Dr. Chu has devoted his recent scientific career to the search for new solutions to our energy challenges and stopping global climate change – a mission he continues with even greater urgency as Secretary of Energy. He is charged with helping implement President Obama’s ambitious agenda to invest in alternative and renewable energy, end our addiction to foreign oil, address the global climate crisis and create millions of new jobs.

In announcing Dr. Chu’s selection on December 15, 2008, President Obama said, “the future of our economy and national security is inextricably linked to one challenge: energy… Steven has blazed new trails as a scientist, teacher, and administrator, and has recently led the Berkeley National Laboratory in pursuit of new alternative and renewable energies. He is uniquely suited to be our next Secretary of Energy as we make this pursuit a guiding purpose of the Department of Energy, as well as a national mission.”

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-chu

Weatherization Day 2009 Gets a Boost from Federal Stimulus Money


October 30, 2009

Contact: Rebecca Stewart

rstewart@nascsp.org ▪ 202.624.7887

Weatherization Day 2009 Gets a Boost from Federal Stimulus Money

Since 1976, The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has been making homes of low-income families more energy efficient. To highlight the efforts across the country, Weatherization Day is celebrated every October 30. This year the program received a substantial boost from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.

One state leading the way in weatherization is Ohio, which plans to use the $266.8 million ARRA WAP grant to increase the energy efficiency of more than 32,000 homes. In July alone Ohio weatherized 951 homes, providing such services as adding insulation, sealing leaks, and modernizing heating and cooling equipment. With ARRA funding through March 2012, Ohio estimates it will create 590 new jobs and retain 487.

In New Mexico, it is estimated that at least 2,300 homes will be weatherized every year for the next 3 years using the state’s $26 million ARRA WAP funds. Weatherization saves an average of 32% in gas space heating.

In recognition of National Weatherization Day, Matt Rogers, Senior Advisor to Energy Secretary Steven Chu for Recovery Act Implementation, recorded the following video: http://vimeo.com/7314879. In addition to encouraging all Americans to install energy efficiency measures in their own homes, he emphasizes the energy and cost benefits of improved energy efficiency and he expresses appreciation to the nation's weatherization network for its past accomplishments and its continued commitment to serving low-income citizens. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Weatherization Assistance Program will continue to grow and deliver results for American families across the country.

WAP was awarded $5 billion through the 2009 ARRA. To participate, homeowners must have a maximum income of 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, and can use up to $6,500 for energy efficiency upgrades to their home.

The Weatherization Assistance Program is operated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Native American tribes, and U.S. Territories. Funds are used to improve the energy efficiency of low-income homes using the most advanced technologies and testing. Since the inception of the WAP, over 6.2 million homes have been weatherized with DOE funds.

For more information about the Weatherization Assistance Program, visit www.waptac.org or www.eere.doe.gov.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Weatherization Day!

Today is 2009 National Weatherization Day! What is your state or local agency doing to celebrate?

In recognition of National Weatherization Day on October 30th, Matt Rogers, Senior Advisor to Energy Secretary Steven Chu for Recovery Act Implementation, recorded the following video. In the video, he emphasizes the energy and cost benefits of improved energy efficiency - encouraging all Americans to install enery efficiency measures in their own homes - and he expresses appreciation to the nation's weatherization network for its past accomplishments and its continued commitment to serving low-income citizens. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Weatherization Assistance Program will continue to grow and deliver results for American families across the country. For more information about how to save energy in your home, visit energysavers.gov.

National Weatherization Day Message from Senior Advisor Matt Rogers from U.S. Department of Energy on Vimeo.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Video: Weatherization in North Carolina

Sen. Brown touts weatherization programs to boost Ohio economy


April 16, 2009

Sen. Brown touts weatherization programs to boost Ohio economy

For The Advocate

ZANESVILLE -- U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown touted projected job creation from the federal stimulus for weatherization assistance programs Wednesday.

Brown hosted a roundtable discussion Wednesday at the Muskingum Economic Opportunity Action Group in Zanesville.

Ohio is slated to receive $267 million to help needy families make insulation and other energy efficiency improvements in the face of rising utility costs.

"The weatherization program employs Ohio workers, using Ohio products, to lower energy costs of our state's homeowners," Brown said. "This program is not just about reducing energy use -- it's about job creation and economic development in the region."

Brown said as many as 600 new jobs could be created as community action agencies hire more weatherization technicians, and the number of low-income and elderly residents aided by the program could be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled in coming years.

Blown-in and rolled insulation will be bought from Ohio companies in places like Newark, and homeowners could receive help with more energy-efficient windows, hot-water heaters and furnaces.

Owens Corning's Newark plant specializes in home insulation.

Brown added that the savings in utility costs could lead to a decline in demand for million of barrels of foreign oil every year.

Job creation was touted in the form of one of the Muskingum action group's newest hires, Rick Smith, of Zanesville, who has been on the job as a weatherization tech for the past two months.

Smith said he was grateful for the opportunity to secure employment after he lost his job when Hartstone Pottery in Zanesville closed.

Brown also highlighted training opportunities available to Ohioans seeking to become certified in weatherization techniques. Five weatherization training centers are located across Ohio -- in Dayton, Athens, Akron, Fremont and Newark.

Tom Calhoun, housing programs manager of the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development in Athens, said his agency recently hired more than 100 new workers and expects the weatherization funds passed by the economic recovery legislation to increase his total work force by another 100 employees.

"We will be investing $41 million in Southeastern Ohio, provide weatherization to 4,000 homes, train workers, purchase trucks and use local products," Calhoun said. "I'm excited about this stimulus. It is going to be a good thing, a blessing for people."

President Barack Obama has a goal of providing weatherization assistance to 1 million homeowners a year, after the program reached 6.2 million homes during the past 35 years.

WAP Mentions in Blogs

Below are some recent mentions of WAP in the blogosphere:

Win-Win-Win Weatherization

True Blue Natural Gas Blog from the American Gas Association

Weatherization Assistance Program
The Quotidian Bleat

Need Help Weatherizing your House?

Boots on the Roof: Training for the Wind and Solar Energy Industry

Triple Play: Greenhouse Gas Reductions, Energy Conservation, and Green Jobs Bill Passes the Legislature (WA)
Senate Democrats Blog, Washington State

Take Advantage of the Government's Weatherization Assistance Program

Planet Green

Preserving Old Homes with Stimulus Money?
Old House Web, Ideas & Advice for Old House Enthusiasts

This Old Wasteful House
New York Times Op-Ed

Apartment Industry Ready to See Green Stimulus Money Put to Use

Multi-Family Executive Online

Construction Workers on "Stimulus" Projects will Receive Prevailing Wages
Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc. Blog

Weatherization Program Could Help Safeguard Houses Against Disasters

Disaster Safety Blog

Home Insulation Program Takes Heat

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Senator Rockefeller Visits Martinsburg Weatherization Site

~Under the Economic Recovery Package, more than 3,000 additional homes will be weatherized and up to 125 new jobs will be created~

Washington, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV visited the home of Martinsburg resident, David Babcock, on Friday, March 20, 2009. (Picture above is Senator Rockefeller talking to Eastern West Virginia CAA Weatherization Coordinator Bob Wagner.)

In September 2008, the Eastern West Virginia Community Action Agency weatherized Babcock’s house - replacing his furnace, sealing his ductwork, and insulating his attic. Under the Economic Recovery Package, more than 3,000 additional homes will be weatherized and as many as 125 new jobs will be created.

“I was so thankful to be invited into David’s house to see the great work of the Eastern West Virginia Community Action Agency,” said Senator Rockefeller. “The weatherization program is making an impact in West Virginia, creating new jobs across the state while improving the energy efficiency of homes and reducing utility bills.”

West Virginia is estimated to receive $70 million, with $37.5 million for weatherization and $32.7 million for the State Energy Program. The program offers rebates to consumers for home energy audits and other energy savings improvements.

“It was an honor to show Mr. Babcock’s home to Senator Rockefeller, so he could see firsthand the good work we are doing to weatherize homes in West Virginia,” said Bob Wagner, the weatherization coordinator for Eastern West Virginia Community Action. “This money secured in the stimulus package will go toward helping people lower their energy costs, and create local jobs right here at home.”

“It was a real thrill to have Senator Rockefeller into my home to witness what the weatherization team can accomplish. This weatherization program has made a significant difference in my monthly bills—I save over 50% of the estimated utility costs. I hope people will reach out and take advantage of the program—it’s a good thing and it’s green,” said David Babcock, a Martinsburg resident who opened his home to Senator Rockefeller on Friday.


Community Action Agencies across West Virginia are accepting weatherization applications. The weatherization process includes: checking and repairing or replacing heating systems, insulating attics and sidewalls, sealing air leaks, weatherstripping and/or replacing door and windows, and insulating hot water heaters and pipes.

This program is free if you meet annual low income guidelines, and have not been weatherized since September 30, 1994.

Supplemental Social Security (SSI) income automatically qualifies. Income guidelines examples (annual gross income from all household income sources):

Persons in House Income NOT Exceeding

1 $21,660

2 $29,140

3 $36,620

4 $44,100

5 $51,580

6 $59,060

For a list of contacts for all of West Virginia’s Community Action Agencies, visit: http://wvcommunityactionpartnership.org/wvcapagencies.html.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stimulus Jobs Already Starting Before Money Arrives

March 23, 2009, By GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

BURIEN, Wash. – Federal stimulus checks haven’t arrived in Washington state yet, but some agencies aren’t waiting around. They’re already ramping up, and it’s having an economic effect.

A month ago, his Ben Uskoski’s contracting business was tanking and he had to make a decision.

"I was an electrician before I went out on my own so I said, ‘I can do electrical work,’” said Uskoski.

That proved to be the right decision because Michael Kim of Advance Energy Management just happened to need electricians -- a lot of them.

"Put an ad out on Craigslist and literally got bombarded with phone calls in the first couple of hours,” said Kim.

One of the first was Uskoski and the stimulus trigger was pulled.

Kim needed 23 electricians to weatherize a low income housing apartment complex in South King County. Usoski called everyone he knew and 23 electricians suddenly went from laid off to gainfully employed, installing new energy efficient light fixtures and bathroom fans in the sprawling complex.

That's when he gave Platt Electric down in Tacoma a call.

"He asked me if I was sitting down, then when this first came up and just the magnitude of the order was phenomenal,” said Doug Lind of Platt Electric.

Platt suddenly had enough demand during an economic downturn keep his workers busy and prevent any more layoffs.

It all started with a King County Housing Authority weatherization project that is funded by federal stimulus dollars that aren't expected until next month, but are already putting food some local tables.

But this is a very small example. It will be some time before we see how it plays out on a much grander national scale.

View video of this report here: http://www.king5.com/video/index.html?nvid=344809&shu=1

Friday, March 20, 2009

Changes to WAP due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Some significant changes to the weatherization program have been made due to recently enacted legislation:

Income Guidelines:
These have been increased from 150% 200% of the federal poverty level, as below:

Contiguous U.S. Grantees, by size of family unit:
1 - $21,660
2 - $29,140
3 - $36,620
4 - $44,100
5 - $51,580
6 - $59,060
7 - $66,540
8 - $74,020
Each additional member add: $7,480

For Alaska:
1 - $27,060
2 - $36,420
3 - $45,780
4 - $55,140
5 - $64,500
6 - $73,860
7 - $83,220
8 - $92,580
Each additional member add: $9,360

For Hawaii:
1 - $24,920
2 - $33,520
3 - $42,120
4 - $50,720
5 - $59,320
6 - $67,920
7 - $76,520
8 - $85,120
Each additional member add: $8,600

Cost Per Unit Average: The allowable DOE funds average to be used per home has been increased to $6,500 to accommodate the decreased ability to leverage funds due to the large increase in DOE funds.

Training and Technical Assistance: The percentage of funds available for training and technical assistance activities has been increased from 10% to 20%.

Re-Weatherization Date: The date for re-weatherization has been changed to September 30, 1994, in order to change the underlying law.

Prevailing Wage: Funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are subject to the requirements and reporting of prevailing wage regulations. It is unclear what this will entail at this time.

All of these changes, with the exception of Prevailing Wage, are applicable to all funds from Program Year 2009 and beyond.

We will continue to update you with any further clarifications or changes.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We're back!

Hello all,

Sorry for the interruption in posting for the last few months. This was due to some personnel changes, and posting will resume.

There have been many updates to the program since the hiatus.

1) Continuing Resolution: Congress passed a Continuing Resolution on September 24, 2008 in order to avoid confrontations with President Bush over the FY 2009 Budget. The Resolution ran until March 6, 2009 and was extended to March 11, 2009. It provided $250 million in funding for the WAP.

2) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA): This $787.2 billion economic stimulus package was signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009. The Act contains $5 billion in funding for the WAP, to be spent over a 3-year time frame.

3) FY 2009 Omnibus: The nine-bill $410 billion Omnibus Bill was signed into law on March 11, 2009. The Bill contains an additional $300 million for WAP.

More information and updates, as well as news regarding the implementation of the ARRA to follow.