For Immediate Release: March 12, 2009
Contact: Bill Walsh (651) 296-7531
Projects will create jobs in the short term and improve energy efficiency in the long term.
(St. Paul, MN…) The Minnesota Department of Commerce's Office of Energy Security announced today that Minnesota will receive $131.9 million from the federal stimulus bill for the purpose of weatherizing homes for low-income families throughout the state. The money represents a ten-fold increase in weatherization funding for Minnesota.
Minnesota will also receive $54.1 million in State Energy Program funding which can be used to retrofit existing public buildings and homes, for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and to develop new training opportunities.
"Now the hard work begins to get this money out to the families and communities that need it most," said Bill Glahn, Director of the Office of Energy Security. "We will work hard to use the money for its intended purposes: creating jobs and improving the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings."
Last year, the weatherization program in Minnesota completed over 3,500 projects with $10 million in federal funds. The average project cost was between $3,000 and $4,000. With this new funding, the program expects to complete between 17,000 and 22,000 projects with the average cost increasing up to $6,500.
"The weatherization funding will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so I encourage families to take advantage of the program and contact their county-based community action agency or go to our website for more information," added Glahn.
Families with less than 50 percent of the state median income ($40,738 for a family of four) may qualify and are encouraged to contact their local community action program to apply. Households with seniors, disabled, and children are especially encouraged to apply. Information on how to apply can be found at www.staywarm.mn.gov .
The first step in the weatherization process is an energy audit of the home resulting in a recommendation for improving the energy efficiency of the property through insulation, sealing and caulking or HVAC system improvements. The Office of Energy Security has already partnered with Dunwoody Institute to create a training program for energy auditors in anticipation of the increased demand for their services.
Director Glahn plans to work with the legislature to approve spending programs for the State Energy Program's allocation of $54.1 million with an emphasis on creating jobs through retrofitting existing public buildings, expanding existing renewable energy programs such as the solar rebate program, and looking for new training opportunities.