|Issue of the Day: Government Doubles Weatherization Funding|
Published Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
With the weather turning from frigid winter to sunny spring for many Americans, Vice-President Joe Biden and The Energy Secretary Chu have detailed an investment of nearly $8 billion in state and local weatherization and energy efficiency efforts—$5 billion for weatherization and $3 billion for the State Energy Program—as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Department of Energy hopes to put 87,000 Americans to work and help save families hundreds of dollars a year on their energy bills. The fund will help families add more insulation, thereby sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning systems. The program will allow an average investment of $6,500 per family making up to 200% of the federal poverty level-or about $44,000 a year for a family of four. The weatherization improvements are expected to reduce heating bills by an average of 32%, an overall savings of hundreds of dollars a year.
The funding for weatherization and energy efficient programs has various sources, mainly the Federal and State government, emergency funding, and utilities themselves. Traditionally, Federal, State and Local government funding has provided $1 to $2 billion with—beginning in 2001—utilities and charities providing funds that match or exceed government funding. However, in the 2009 fiscal year budget, the U.S. Government has added doubled its contribution from $1.98 to $4.41 billion. US consumption of energy has recently decreased about 6 tiliion Btu to 99.4 quadrillion Btu in 2006, of that little over 7% comes from renewable energy sources.