Massachusetts Reaches Major Recovery Act Weatherization Milestone
More than 6,900 homes weatherized under the Recovery Act
Washington, DC - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today that Massachusetts has reached a significant milestone under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - completing weatherization work for more than 30 percent of the homes the state had planned to weatherize. As of September 30, 2010, Massachusetts has weatherized more than 6,900 homes with Recovery Act funding, plus more than 2,800 additional homes with annual program funding. As a result of the progress in the program to date, the state will now have access to an additional $61 million in Recovery Act weatherization funding to continue providing energy efficiency services to Massachusetts' low-income families.
Massachusetts' efforts are contributing to the success of the program nationwide. In August, Vice President Biden announced that states across the country have already weatherized more than 200,000 low-income homes. After ramping up last year, the Weatherization Assistance Program is now weatherizing homes at its optimal rate - approximately 25,000 homes per month. This summer alone, more than 80,000 homes were weatherized across the country. State-by-state breakdowns of homes weatherized under the Recovery Act through August are available HERE.
"What we see here today is that states like Massachusetts are moving forward aggressively with the weatherization program, delivering energy and cost savings for the families who need it most," said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "This Recovery Act funding is helping to create jobs in local communities while putting America on the path to a clean energy future."
The weatherization program is also creating thousands of jobs locally - putting carpenters, electricians, and factory workers back to work installing insulation, upgrading appliances, and improving heating and cooling systems. According to state reports, the Recovery Act Weatherization Assistance Program supported more than 14,000 jobs in the third quarter of 2010, including more than 300 jobs in Massachusetts.
Under the Recovery Act, Massachusetts was allocated more than $122 million to weatherize nearly 17,000 homes. The state previously had access to the first 50 percent of the funding. By weatherizing more than 30 percent of their total estimated homes and meeting a series of aggressive accountability and reporting milestones, Massachusetts now has access to the full $122 million to continue weatherizing homes across the state. Together with the more than 2,800 additional homes Massachusetts has weatherized with annual program funding, the state has already weatherized more than 9,700 homes since the Recovery Act began.
Massachusetts was recently recognized for its strong progress under the Weatherization Assistance Program, when Secretary Chu announced that the state had been selected to receive $4.4 million in additional funding to continue their success and innovation under the program. Two high-performing local weatherization agencies in Boston and Gloucester were selected to receive $3 million in Recovery Act funding to install micro-combined heat and power units, high efficiency insulation and solar hot water heaters in low-income homes. In addition, YouthBuild, USA, located in Somerville, was selected to receive nearly $1.4 million to pilot a nationally coordinated system for workforce and volunteer development for low-income home weatherization. The programs, located in six urban and rural locations nationally, will use a standardized approach to auditing, installation, and post-upgrade evaluation; create careers for YouthBuild graduates; and demonstrate a model to be able to transition weatherization services into a sustainable business that will be able to employ well-trained graduates. More information about the awards is available HERE.
Under the weatherization program, local agencies provide whole-home energy efficiency upgradess, including conducting an energy audit in the home to identify the most cost-effective improvements, and implementing solutions that range from installing additional insulation and weatherstripping, sealing windows and doors, caulking cracks in the building, and replacing inefficient heating and cooling systems.