DOE weatherizes 600,000 homes ahead of schedule

| by Teena Hammond
DOE weatherizes 600,000 homes ahead of schedule

More than 600,000 homes have been weatherized three months ahead of schedule, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Yesterday, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that states and territories across the nation have reached the goal of weatherizing more than 600,000 low-income homes — including more than 125,000 multi-family homes like apartment buildings — more than three months ahead of schedule. The DOE reached this major milestone as part of its efforts to save energy and reduce home utility bills for families, while creating jobs in communities throughout the country.

Through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, states and territories supported by the Department's Weatherization Assistance Program set the aggressive goal to reduce energy waste in approximately 600,000 low-income homes with energy efficient upgrades such as insulation, air-sealing, and more efficient heating and cooling systems. The program is helping families save money on their energy bills and creating thousands of jobs locally — putting carpenters, electricians, and others back to work. The original target date for completing 600,000 weatherization upgrades was next March.

"Today the Department of Energy marks a major milestone: we have weatherized more than 600,000 low-income homes and put thousands of people to work through the Recovery Act," said Secretary Chu. "Across America, DOE's successful Weatherization Assistance Program has increased the demand for energy-saving products and services, created thousands of skilled jobs, and helped families to reduce energy waste and save money."

On average, the program reduces energy consumption for low-income families by up to 35 percent, saving them more than $400 on their heating and cooling bills in the first year alone. Nationwide, the weatherization of 600,000 homes is estimated to save more than $320 million in energy costs in just the first year.

Today, buildings account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. energy consumption and carbon emissions. Making improvements in building efficiency will reduce energy use, lower utility bills, decrease carbon pollution and support American jobs that can't be outsourced. The DOE's Weatherization Assistance Program is part of the broader effort to address energy waste in buildings, help grow the domestic building retrofit industry, and give families and businesses more information and access to energy efficiency upgrades.

For more information, see Going Green at Home research center.

Topics: Going Green

Teena Hammond
Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.

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