10/26/15 : Brad Penney

Weatherization Day is October 30th!

Special events will be underway in a number of states this Friday, October 30th to mark 2015’s Weatherization Day in recognition of the benefits of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). In New Hampshire, Governor Margaret Hassan will gather with community and energy efficiency leaders at the state house to hear first-hand from WAP clients about the impact the program has had on their lives. Participants will also hear about the role WAP plays in advancing new technology and work practices to make home energy upgrades cost effective, safe and comprehensive. Similar events will play out this Friday in all fifty states, highlighting the many benefits of the program, including monthly cost savings for low-income families.

Numerous assessments have confirmed both the energy savings and non-energy benefits of WAP. Not only does WAP help reduce monthly energy consumption by between 10 to 20 percent on average, the program helps provide safer and healthier homes by remediating problems such as mold and moisture, lead, poor indoor air quality—and in some instances carbon monoxide problems—which threaten the health and well-being of the occupants. WAP also raises property values and helps contribute to community revitalization in addition to reducing carbon emissions. Greater emphasis needs to be placed in the future on measuring and projecting the non-energy benefits of the program that help improve health, create new jobs and improve our communities.

WAP is the largest residential energy efficiency program in the country, and serves as a valuable proving ground for tools and ideas that advance the energy efficiency industry. Many new technologies have been developed as a result of WAP, including infrared cameras and blower doors that are used in ascertaining which efficiency improvements are needed in a home. Additionally, new professional standards and training protocols have emerged from WAP and are now in use throughout the residential efficiency industry.

The relatively modest federal investment in the program ($192 million in FY 2015) leverages much larger investments from ratepayer funded utility programs and from LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the largest single source of WAP funding). As the program emphasizes service to low-income families, the elderly and disabled Americans, WAP provides benefits to many of America's most vulnerable populations. 

Over the 39 year history of the program, 7.4 million Americans have benefited from having their homes weatherized. Encouraging testimonials from WAP clients over this period of time provide vivid evidence of the value of the program, though work remains to be done. It is estimated that more then 30 million American households are currently eligible for WAP. To help promote this wide-ranging opportunity for millions of Americans, the energy efficiency community and the U.S. Department of Energy join together in recognizing Weatherization Day this Friday, October 30th, in order to highlight the multi-dimensional successes of the program and to mobilize support behind securing sustainable funding so that WAP continues as a viable program in all fifty states, U.S. territories and Native American tribes.