What has the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act done for us lately? Funny you should ask, as US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu recently announced that more than 300,000 low-income homes across the country have now been weatherized under Recovery Act funding.
According to the Department of Energy, this means the that President Obama’s goal to improve the energy efficiency of 600,000 low-income homes is now half-way complete, helping families save money on bills while helping the nation as a whole save energy. The federal Weatherization Assistance Program funded by the Recovery Act works to improve energy efficiency for families with upgrades like insulation, air-sealing, and more efficient heating and cooling systems. The program has also helps workers train for green jobs, employing more than 15,000 nationwide.
Weatherization assistance under this program typically reduces energy consumption for low-income families by 35 percent, which breaks down to an average savings of more than $400 a year on heating and cooling bills. The weatherization of these 300,000 homes is estimated to save the nation as a whole $161 million in energy costs in the first year alone.
The DOE noted as well it has worked closely with state and local governments to ensure the program is “well-managed, responsive, and flexible.” Nearly all of the states and territories involved in the program are said to have met the milestone of weatherizing more than 30 percent of their targeted number of homes and many have completed more than half of their goals to date.