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posted on September 30, 2010 13:45
Idaho weatherizes homes, creates jobs with stimulus funds

Idaho is being recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy for having one of the top-performing weatherization programs in the country. The program has put $30 million in stimulus funds to work improving the energy efficiency of homes of low-income Idahoans while generating hundreds of jobs in the state.
 
Idaho is one of 12 states being recognized for its aggressive administration of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds aimed at reducing energy consumption and creating jobs in the weatherization industry. By March next year, Idaho expects to have improved 3,100 homes with stimulus funding in addition to the 1,400 homes the weatherization program annually makes more energy efficient.
 
“Conservation and efficiency are the lowest-hanging fruit in our energy orchard. Every home or other building that’s made more energy efficient through weatherization frees up that much energy to be used by businesses looking to create career opportunities for Idahoans. It frees up generation and transmission capacity to help our economy grow,” Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said.
 
“This recognition is a reflection of the strong network we have in Idaho to help low income families live in safer, healthier, more energy efficient homes,” says Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dick Armstrong. “We were able to use that network to help us quickly and efficiently move forward to take advantage of the available funding and create jobs for people in the construction industry.”
 
Idaho’s progress means that thousands additional Idahoans will be able to enjoy more energy efficient homes and lower heating bills this winter and coming spring, in addition to the statewide job creation during the two-year funding period.
 
DHW worked closely with Idaho’s weatherization providers -- five regional Community Action Partnership Agencies and the Canyon County Organization on Aging – to ensure Idaho was ready to begin spending the stimulus funds when they became available in 2009.
 
“We took this opportunity for additional funding very seriously,” says Mary Chant, executive director of the Community Action Partnership Association of Idaho. “We were prepared to do what was needed to make the best possible improvements to people’s homes as quickly as we could. This is one program that truly has a measurable difference.”
 
The weatherization program reduces energy consumption and heating expenses for low-income Idahoans through a variety of methods, including air sealing, improved insulation and replacement of inefficient heating and lighting systems.
 
On average, weatherization reduces heating bills by 32 percent and overall energy bills by about $350 per year. There is a waiting list for assistance from the program. To qualify, households must be at or below 200% of poverty and meet home audit requirements for the installation of weatherization measures.
 
People who think they might meet these requirements can apply for the program by contacting their local community action agency. To find a local office, visit www.idahocommunityaction.org.
 
 
 
(Editors: For more information, contact Health and Welfare’s Emily Simnitt at 334-0693 or Mary Chant with the Community Action Partnership Association of Idaho at 208-867-9053 or mchant@capai.org.)