Weatherization/US Weatherization Assistance Program
Weatherization has become increasingly high-profile as the cost of home heating has risen. Fortunately, there are programs available to help low income families reduce energy consumption and costs.
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) was created in 1976 to assist low-income families who lacked resources to invest in energy efficiency. WAP is operated in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and works with Native American tribes. The funds provided by Congress are used to improve the energy efficiency of low-income dwellings using the most advanced technologies and testing protocols available in the housing industry. The energy conservation resulting from the efforts of state and local agencies helps our country reduce its dependency on foreign oil and decrease the cost of energy for families in need, while improving the health and safety of their homes.
The WAP is governed by various federal regulations designed to help manage and account for the resources provided by DOE. WAP funding is derived from annual appropriations from Congress. Each year Senate and House Interior Appropriations committees decide how much will be allocated.
Since the inception of the WAP, over 5.6 million homes have been weatherized with DOE funds. This year, an estimated 93,408 homes will be weatherized with Department of Energy (DOE) funds. An average of 30.5 million MBtu of energy is saved as a result of weatherization. This equates to a 23% reduction in primary heating fuel use. Low-income families will save an average of $358 in reduced first-year energy costs, at current prices. Taken together, for every $1 invested in the Program, Weatherization returns $2.69 in energy and non-energy related benefits.
Many state LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance) programs work side by side with WAP to provide both immediate and long term solutions to energy poverty.