Heating Program Cuts Threaten Tens of Thousands in the Bay State

Action for Community Development (ABCD) in Boston urges eligible renters and homeowners across the state to apply for heating assistance while social service agencies advocate for  additional funding.

Find out more in this short news clip by WCVB-TV (ABC Boston affiliate).

Home Heating Oil In Mass. Could Cost $200 More This Winter

Expected steep increases in home heating oil prices in New England coupled with budget cuts for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program participants could be a “perfect storm” for the 2011-2012 heating season.

Clients and officials from  Tri-City Community Action Program in Malden and Action for Boston Community Development are  concerned.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields (CBS Boston affiliate) has the full story.

Weatherizing Homes Gives Attleboro Families a Warm Feeling

Self-Help, Inc. is helping income-eligible families button up their homes through insulation, window replacements and sealing air leaks. The work is made possible through the Commonwealth’s  Weatherization Assistance Program and federal stimulus money.

The Sun Chronicle recently visited some beneficiaries of the program in Attleboro. Read the story: http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2011/08/18/news/10042276.txt

The Weatherization Assistance Program is ranked 8th

The Weatherization Assistance Program is ranked 8th out of approximately 200 federal programs in the number of direct jobs funded by the Recovery Act for the quarter beginning April 1, 2010 and ending June 30, 2010. You can see this by clicking here.

Weatherizing 82,000 Homes This Summer

Please see the below message and video posted on the White House Blog from Cathy Zoi, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Effeciency abnd Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy.

Posted by Cathy Zoi on July 07, 2010 at 10:53 AM EDT 
Picture a neighborhood block somewhere in your town.  It might have single-story homes for 10 families — complete with front porches, sidewalks and green lawns. Or instead that block might have a single apartment building that houses 50 families over five floors.  What we know is that each of the families — whether they’re living in a detached house or a mid-rise apartment —  pays away some of their hard-earned dollars to pay for energy.  And for many low-income Americans, these energy bills absorb a significant amount of the family income. 
Now imagine that teams of trained experts come down that block and install measures to help those families save energy.  Insulation, caulking, weatherstripping, windows, better furnaces or water heaters.  So families’ energy bills go down and their comfort goes up.  We call this ‘weatherization’ — and it’s happening in more than 82,000 homes as part of the Recovery Summer. 
So picture that — what does 82,000 homes look like?  That’s a lot of houses.  And how do the 82,000 families with lower energy bills and improved comfort feel?  I’ll bet given these challenging economic times they’re resting a bit more easily. This could not be achieved without the determined and committed hard work of more than 900 community action agencies and state weatherization agencies nationwide. Twelve states have now weatherized more than 30 percent of the homes they planned to complete under the Recovery Act, marking a major milestone in this effort to make American households more energy efficient. This video expresses my personal gratitude for the hard work that has made our remarkable progress to weatherize America possible.

View Video 
What’s more is that the folks doing the weatherization work are resting better, too.  Over 10,000 Americans had jobs performing retrofit work for low-income families through the Recovery Act in the first quarter of this year — and that’s expected to grow.   Some of these folks have been doing weatherization work for decades.  But many of these people are new to energy retrofitting — former teachers, mechanics, carpenters or linesmen — joining this fast-growing clean energy sector and getting trained with the help of Recovery Act-sponsored grants rolled out across the nation.
Through the Recovery Act, we are investing more than $11 billion to make homes and businesses more efficient and higher users of clean, renewable energy. This includes $5 billion to weatherize hundreds of thousands of low-income homes across the country. More than 240,000 homes have been weatherized since February 2009.
Find out more about DOE’s efforts to revitalize our economy and revolutionize the ways we use energy here.
 
Cathy Zoi is the Assistant Secretary for Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy

Brooks: Weatherization aid means savings, jobs

www.metrowestdailynews.com  By Tina Brooks

In other states, including our nation’s capital, concerns have been raised about how, and how quickly, the $5 billion in stimulus funds to expand the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program have been put to work. Not so in Massachusetts, where the federal government’s unprecedented commitment to making the homes of low- and moderate-income families more energy efficient has quickly translated into fuel assistance dollars stretched farther, housing authorities (and the state) saving money, and jobs created in a growing industry – just what the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act intended.

For Massachusetts, that $5 billion federal investment in weatherization translated into $122 million over three years. That increase is more than 10 times the $11 million Massachusetts received last year. Unlike other states, however, some of which were overwhelmed by such an infusion of funds, under Governor Deval Patrick’s leadership, Massachusetts had an established weatherization program that could ramp up, even tenfold, in short order. The result is a modest anti-poverty program transformed into an energy-saving, job-creating engine that also makes life more affordable and more comfortable for residents living on fixed incomes.

With stimulus dollars flowing through the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Department of Housing and Community Development and work being done by certified contractors in partnership with a statewide network of community-based non-profits, we are well on our way to weatherizing 17,000 households and creating hundreds of new jobs by the DOE’s March 2012 deadline. To date, we have insulated more than 2,845 units of private housing, and added 42 new contractors and 220 new installers to do the work. Locally, the South Middlesex Opportunity Council serves the Framingham/MetroWest area.

In the state’s 50,000 public housing units, $25 million has been targeted to replace old, inefficient heating systems with new state-of-the-art units, reducing costs for tenants who are responsible for their own fuel bills. DHCD has awarded more than $10 million to 20 local housing authorities to date. Numerous other awards are set for announcement soon. This means jobs and sales for plumbers, electricians, heating Read more of this post

ABCD Weatherization Boot Camp a success

On the corner of Hazelton Street and Blue Hill Ave, new weatherization contractors and auditors from Boston and outside areas are coming together to make sustainable change. ABCD’s Weatherization Boot Camp is housed in the building that was once home to the Mattapan branch of the Boston Public Library. Although the library has been moved to its new location across the street, the building maintains its purpose as a center for learning.

The boot camp, which is run by ABCD in conjunction with The City of Boston, is an information and training program that prepares contractors and others who are interested in delivering energy efficiency services by teaching them proper weatherization techniques. The instructors, all industry experts, provide an all-inclusive overview of the weatherization business. Trainees learn how to properly use equipment, remove all types of siding, drill holes, blow insulation and perform air sealing. They are also taught window replacement, window tightening and door weather stripping.

The four day session is comprised of 10 hours of classroom learning and 18 hours of hands on training. According to John Wells, Vice President of Real Estate and Energy Services at ABCD, ”The camp is designed to incorporate a classroom style learning experience with hands on experience. The contractors not only learn the techniques, but are able to put theory into practice and learn the finer details of the work.” The integrated hands on and classroom experiences provide a successful learning environment for contractors.

The curriculum is comprehensive and the staff impressive. Bruce Ledgerwood, the Mattapan Boot Camp Program Coordinator, has 30 years of energy efficiency experience, as a weatherization contractor, and as a manager of a heating system replacement and repair program.  He was also the Director of the state’s Residential Conservation Service, a free energy auditing program administered by the utilities. Bill Hulstrunk, a nationally recognized expert on cellulose insulation, and Bill Sovie, an instructor at the National Fiber cellulose manufacturer factory in Belchertown, teach building science and cellulose insulation techniques. Frank Rezzuti, an auditor at ABCD, instructs on siding removal, attic accessing, and ventilation installation techniques 1 day a week. Frank adds to the program his knowledge and experience, as well as his hard working attitude.”Frank has proven to be quite popular with the trainees, many staying overtime to hear his detailed descriptions on advanced techniques that he developed over 25 years as an insulation contractor and 10 years as an energy auditor,” says Ledgerwood. Read more of this post