U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Jim Webb announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Energy is providing more than $37 million in Recovery Act funding to expand weatherization assistance programs in Virginia.
The announcement, by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman, was made at Warner’s Virginia Summit on Energy Opportunities being held at Hampton University Friday.
The funds, which represent about 40 percent of Virginia’s expected total allotment of $94 million in weatherization funding, will help to weatherize more than 8,600 homes, cutting energy costs for low-income families that need it, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating green jobs.
This installment adds to the initial ten percent of the state’s funding allocation that was awarded previously for training and ramp-up activities. The remaining 50 percent of funds will be released when Virginia and other states meet reporting, oversight, and accountability milestones required by the Recovery Act.
"Today’s investments will save money for working families, reduce pollution and strengthen local economies,” says Warner. “This also will help move Virginia and the nation toward a cleaner energy future.”
“This $37 million investment in efficient energy programs will alleviate high energy costs for all Virginians and invigorate our local economies through job creation,” says Webb.
“I’m pleased to announce today that Virginia is receiving more than $37 million today for weatherization through the Recovery Act,” says Deputy Secretary Poneman in remarks prepared for delivery at the Summit. “Weatherization is a ‘three-for,’ it creates jobs, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and it saves on energy bills.”
DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program will be available to families making up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $44,000 a year for a family of four. Weatherization projects allow low-income families to save money by making their homes more energy efficient, which results in average savings of 32 percent for heating bills and savings of hundreds of dollars per year on overall energy bills.
States will spend an average of $6,500 to weatherize each home.
Virginia will use its Recovery Act funds to weatherize more than 8,600 homes over the next three years. The Department of Housing and Community Development administers the Weatherization Assistance Program in all of Virginia’s localities.
In selecting local weatherization agencies, the state gives preference to any community action agency or other public or nonprofit organization, which has experience successfully administering the program. Local agencies will prioritize service to elderly and disabled residents, families with children, high energy consuming households, and homes with an energy related crisis.
Within those priorities, local agencies are responsible for scheduling eligible clients to receive energy audits and weatherization services.
After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $47.1 million, for a total of more than $94 million.
The Recovery Act includes a strong commitment to oversight and accountability, while emphasizing the necessity of rapidly awarding funds to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies.