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.