For Immediate Release: Monday, June 14, 2010
Minnesota among first in nation to unlock second portion of federal funds
(ST. PAUL, MN) The number of Minnesota homes weatherized under the federal Weatherization Assistance Program is up more than 15 percent, according to new figures from the Minnesota Department of Commerce's Office of Energy Security (OES).
As of May 31, nearly 7,500 homes had been weatherized in the state - up from 6,454 homes at the end of April, according to OES, which administers the program. Of the homes completed through May, 5,407 were funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. That number represents 32 percent of the 16,856 homes the program is expected to serve via ARRA funding by spring 2012. States must reach 30 percent of their goal before the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will release the second half of their funding.
"We will be among the first states approved to receive the second half of our ARRA funding," said Janet Streff, manager of the State Energy Office within OES. "Reaching this important milestone allows us to continue our momentum to increase energy efficiency in homes, reduce energy bills, and enhance comfort and safety."
Created in 1976 and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Weatherization Assistance Program enables low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.
For fiscal year 2010, ending June 30, the state received almost $16 million in regular federal funding for the program. OES has weatherized 2,033 homes with those funds, which have been fully expended. The state received another $132 million in weatherization assistance funds from ARRA which are to be spent by March 2012.
OES partners with 32 local service providers in the state to implement the Weatherization Assistance Program. Eligible homeowners and renters receive an energy audit. Services typically provided include energy education, exterior wall and attic insulation, and air leak sealing. Safety and efficiency testing is conducted to determine repairs or replacement of home heating systems.