The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which has received funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), has created or retained 13,000 jobs since the program launched. Of the approximately 200 programs that have received ARRA funding, the WAP is in the number eight spot for most jobs created. These good green jobs are not only providing solid employment and work experience for Americans in the middle of an unemployment crisis but they are also helping homeowners save money.
In June 2010, WAP providers were responsible for providing weatherization upgrades on just over 31,000 homes. This is 31,000 homes that are now more energy efficient and 31,000 homeowners that can save money on their annual energy use. The weatherization process has a multitude of benefits to both the homeowner and the environment: less energy use, lower energy costs, new jobs, and a smaller carbon footprint.
The program got off to a rocky start in 2009 with approximately 30,000 homes being completed last year despite a commitment of $5 billion in funding over three years. Some of the challenges that the program faced included hiring and training workers, the requirement that homes older than 50 years be reviewed by the State Historic Preservation Office prior to starting a weatherization upgrade, and other regional issues that varied from state to state.
However, the ball is now rolling as is evidenced by the 31,000 projects completed in June 2010. Prior to that, the program was completing about 25,000 homes per month. If you are interested in receiving a weatherization upgrade to your home, you can apply for weatherization assistance online. Homeowners that receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) are automatically qualified to receive weatherization assistance. However, States do extend assistance to families in other situations.
Once a household is deemed eligible for weatherization assistance, a professional energy consultation will commence. This consultation includes a professional review of your energy bills, onsite testing and inspection of your house, and then a plan for weatherization. At that point, local contractors come in and complete the weatherization upgrade, usually in a day or two. In June 2010 this process was repeated more than 31,000 times and we’re likely to see this number continue to grow in the coming months.