Stimulus $$$ for weatherization, green jobs

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced it’s providing more than $74 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act economic stimulus plan to expand home weatherization aid programs in California.

This is only 40 percent of California’s eventual share: The state received 10 percent in March for training and ramp-up activities, and it’ll get the other half after demonstrating successful implementation of its plan to weatherize more than 50,000 homes, thus lowering energy costs for low-income families, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating green jobs. In the end, California’s funding is expected to exceed $185 million, of which up to 20 percent can be spent to hire and train workers.

The Weatherization Assistance Program will be available to families making up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, about $44,000 a year for a family of four; these families will see an estimated average of 32 percent for heating bills and savings of hundreds of dollars per year on overall energy bills, according to the Energy Department. States will spend about $6,500 to weatherize each home.

In California, more than 50 non-profits, local governments and community groups will do the work, using national auditing tools to examine homes and determine what’s needed; the state will also require that a third party inspect all weatherized properties, measuring performance based on the work’s quality and speed. And the state will follow the recommendations of the California Green Collar Jobs Council by employing members of the California Conservation Corps, YouthBuild, and other youth employment groups; outreach for the program will be done by canvassing neighborhoods, local advertising, and cooperating with landlords and property managers.

California was among 15 states with funding announced today; more than $453 million is being delivered across the nation.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • While this program is a great advance, one that would make even more sense for the bay area is weatherization for apartment buildings. landlords are loath to spend a penny on their buildings unless forced to. Many hundred apartments buildings in the bay area were built before the 60’s or 70’s and have single pane glazing and no insulation. the beneficiaries would be the tenants and the environment. several units could be weatherized in one shot. co-administration could be done with local building departments which are slow these days.

  • John

    journalists should be looking into how the state is withholding the money for weatherization to help there cash flow problem, so much for stimulating the economy. the feds reported on june 18th 40% was given to get started, where is it?

  • Lisa Hood

    I am a watherization contractor and thought I would be plenty busy. I have absolutly no work. They have trained so many people to become weatherizers now that it put me out of work. The community action programs only take so many bidders. So where does that leave the rest of the contractors?