National Weatherization Day and Energy Awareness Month

Check back to hear what Community Action Agencies around Massachusetts are doing to celebrate National Weatherization Day, set for October 30th, 2011. This day is an opportunity to focus local, state, and national attention on the Weatherization Assistance Program and the work being done throughout the country to help disadvantaged families stay safe and conserve energy. The day is a perfect end to Energy Awareness Month. Stay tuned!

Local House Project Hailed as “Win-Win” Via Stimulus

Click the link below to read about it in the Gloucester Daily Times!


Patrick-Murray Administration Celebrates 10,000 Homes Weatherized Through Recovery Act

ACTION INC. and Massachusetts celebrate 10,000 homes weatherized at an August event in Gloucester, MA
Left to right: ACTION Executive Director Tim Riley, ACTION client Stephanie East, MA State Senator Bruce Tarr, MA MA Department of Housing and Community Development Chief of Staff Steve Carvalho,Congressman John Tierney, Secretary Jay Gonzales, Gloucester City Councilor Greg Verga, Mayor Carolyn Kirk, Commissioner Mark Sylvia, Department of Housing and Community Development Energy Conservation Unit Director Ken Rauseo, ACTION Vice President for Energy Services Elliott Jacobson.

Weatherization Assistance Program on track to weatherize 20,000 homes across Massachusetts 

GLOUCESTER – Tuesday, August 16, 2011 – The Patrick-Murray Administration today announced a major milestone has been reached, with 10,000 homes now weatherized through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which is creating jobs, growing businesses and saving money and energy for thousands of Massachusetts residents. 

“This important milestone means that 10,000 families across the Commonwealth are now saving money on bills, using less energy, and creating a greener future for the next generation,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “This is another example of how President Obama’s Recovery Act has stimulated local economies and created jobs across Massachusetts.” 

“Reaching this milestone reflects how the Recovery Act has supported the state’s long-term economic growth,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.  “As we work to provide more affordable and sustainable housing solutions for individuals and families in regions across the Commonwealth, this is an innovative and cost-saving program, and we look forward to celebrating the completion of many more weatherized homes.”

Secretary of Administration & Finance Jay Gonzalez today joined Congressman John Tierney and local officials at the home of Stephanie East, a single mother of two, whose home will be weatherized by local contractor John Call through Action, Inc., a non-profit community action agency serving the North Shore. 

“I’m just so grateful that the Patrick-Murray Administration and Action, Inc. came together to offer this assistance when times became challenging,” said East. “I had been dreading another winter in this house with our high heating costs, but now I know we’ll be okay.” 

“Investments like these improve communities, save money and create jobs,” said Secretary Gonzalez. “The Weatherization Assistance Program is one of countless Recovery Act programs that lay the foundation for the Commonwealth’s long-term economic recovery.” 

The state’s Recovery Act Weatherization Assistance Program includes $125 million in funding over three years that will result in approximately 20,000 weatherized units upon completion. The average energy savings per Recovery Act-weatherized home is 35 percent, or $700 per home annually for fuel oil, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. 

“The Recovery Act’s Weatherization Assistance Program is getting the Commonwealth back to work and lowering energy costs for Massachusetts families at a time when retaining and supporting jobs has been critical,” said Congressman Tierney. “These federal funds are strengthening our communities and reducing the financial burden on our families.”

As of July 31, 2011, 129 private sector weatherization contractors and 21 special purpose electrical and heating contractors are currently working in the state’s Recovery Act Weatherization Assistance Program. Nearly 3,000 individuals have received a Recovery Act-funded paycheck in the weatherization program so far.

“Nearly 3,000 individuals in 395 weatherization companies, housing authorities, community action agencies and others have received an Recovery Act-funded paycheck in the weatherization program,” said Massachusetts Recovery & Reinvestment Office Director Jeffrey Simon. “The program ensures that contractors like John Call can grow their businesses here in Massachusetts.” 

“Growing the Massachusetts economy, creating quality jobs, and making the Commonwealth better for the long term have been top priorities for the Patrick-Murray Administration,” said Secretary of Housing & Economic Development Greg Bialecki. “The ARRA Weatherization Program has been consistent with these goals by creating jobs and putting people back to work immediately, while helping Massachusetts residents and businesses save money on their energy bills for the long-term.”

The Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD), within HED, is the Grantee for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Recovery Act Weatherization Assistance Program. 

“I am thrilled that the city of Gloucester is part of this event to celebrate the 10,000th home weatherized under this program,” said Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk. “The winters can get very cold here in the North Shore but thanks to the Recovery Act and Action Inc., more of our residents will stay warm and save money this winter.” 

“This program has not only provided badly needed work for private sector but also substantial savings in energy costs for more than 1,000 low and moderate-income families which will have a dramatic effect on their ability to make ends meet during the winter months,” said Action Inc. Executive Director Tim Riley. “The energy savings for each housing unit will continue for years, long after the Recovery Act WAP program is over.” 

ACTION, Inc. was awarded $8.5 million in Recovery Act WAP funding. Since the beginning of the Recovery Act funding period, ACTION has overseen weatherization improvements to 1,008 homes, working with 25 local contractors. ACTION, Inc. is responsible for conservation projects completed by its own Energy Services division as well as those completed by Lynn Economic Opportunity and North Shore Community Action Program. ACTION, Inc. has also been able to hire four in-house employees in order to complete this additional work. 

“The Recovery Act’s Weatherization Assistance Program is ensuring that residents of Massachusetts will experience energy efficiency savings and see reductions in their energy costs,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Mark Sylvia. “The average savings per Recovery Act weatherized home is 35 percent and that is a significant amount in terms of conserving energy and saving money.” 

The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act was signed into law in February, 2009 by President Obama. Massachusetts state agencies have received $7.4 billion in Recovery Act awards since the start of the program. Of that amount, $7.1 billion has been committed by these state agencies and $6.6 billion of the committed awards have already been spent to support programs and projects across the Commonwealth, including 193 projects worth $1.5 billion that are fully completed. The $6.6 billion spent is comprised of $4.3 billion toward direct benefits, such as Unemployment Insurance and Medicaid, and $2.3 billion to programs and infrastructure projects throughout the state.

Next Step Living is looking for a Weatherization & Insulation Contractor

Check it out at our Job Postings page!

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  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