Three years ago, the U.S. Department of Energy set up the Weatherization Assistance Program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The goal of the program was to invest $5 billion in a nationwide program to weatherize the homes of low-income families in order to reduce overall energy costs and create much-needed jobs. The state of Washington’s cut of that funding totaled more than $59.54 million. Apparently, the state put the money to good use.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently called Washington’s governor, Chris Gregoire, to congratulate her state on having surpassed the department’s initial energy efficiency goals by weatherizing more than 16,000 homes in her state. Of the 16,000 homes, a total of 12,300 homes were upgraded through the Recovery Act, according to the Department and the remaining 3,700 homes were weatherized through state and community-based programs. The state’s goal was to weatherize 7,500 homes. Nearly doubling that number was what prompted the congratulatory call.
The energy efficiency upgrades included adding insulation, sealing ducts and installing more efficient windows, heaters and cooling systems. The changes are said to be responsible for lowering the homes energy costs by as much as $400 each month. In addition, Secretary Chu touted the program as having created numerous jobs.