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A Special Thanks to Weatherization Field Workers



Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Winter scene with snow on house.While waking up to another day of single degree temperatures in the DC area, Rich Courtney, a long-time colleague and friend, sent a note reflecting on the Weatherization crews venturing out on these freezing cold days to help those who are in such dire need of WAP services. All too often, I am neck deep in emails, reports, advocacy, policy issues, and the like. Rich’s reminder about the field workers on a day like this was a good reality check to again acknowledge that the real heart and soul of the WAP are those dedicated field workers.

Rich went on to comment about the “anonymous army of professionals of Weatherization crew chiefs, technicians, auditors, and inspectors who apply their trade year round, and do their jobs most every work day regardless of conditions, seldom yielding to extremes in weather.  When they’re finished, most crew members will pack up their tools and equipment and leave without much thanks or fanfare and focus on the next job. I’ve watched crews return at the end of a work day definitely dirtier and certainly more tired than when they started the day. All they want is to return home, spend some quality time with family and rest before they start all over again the next day.”

The terms “anonymous” and “without much thanks or fanfare” hit hard. Regardless of policy, organizational structures, field standards, good management, etc., the ultimate success of the Weatherization Program is really because of the work done by the field workers. Without their commitment and quality work, all the rest is pretty meaningless. Policy and field standards make a difference when they’re implemented on the jobsite; otherwise, they’re just words on paper.

Perhaps many of you readers are like me – on the surface you know and understand the tough conditions and the hard work of the WAP network field staff, but may need that reminder to again put it all in proper perspective. Thanks Rich, for that reminder, and an even greater thanks to the thousands of Weatherization field workers – the auditors, crew chiefs, installer/technicians, and inspectors – who are the real backbone of the WAP!

Posted by: Bob Scott at 9:58 AM
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Weatherization Day was a Success!



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Another successful Weatherization Day has come and gone. This year, 18 different Grantees held events or public information sessions, including ten Mayoral and Governor's Proclamations from places as diverse as North Carolina, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and New Hampshire.

A list of Weatherization Day events, news clips, invitations, and proclamations can be found on waptac.org hereIf you do not see your event listed, or have more information you'd like to share including pictures or invitations, please send it to NASCSP at rstewart@nascsp.org. NASCSP will be handing out awards to states that participated in Weatherization Day 2013 at the upcoming NASCSP Mid-Winter Conference in March 2014 in Arlington, VA so be sure you and your sub-grantees are recognized for your hard work!

Holding site demonstrations, writing letters to Governors or Representatives, and doing public information campaigns are not activities reserved solely for Weatherization Day. For tips or ideas, visit http://waptac.org/Public-Information.aspx.


Posted by: Rebecca Stewart at 11:07 AM
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The Government Shutdown and WAP



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The government reopened on October 17, after a 16-day shutdown. Early on October 17, the President signed legislation reopening the federal government and funding it through January 15th as well as extending the debt ceiling until February 7, 2014. The funding is set at the House Republican-backed level of $986 billion, with a continuation of sequestration. This means that, for the next 90 days, federal programs will be funded at last year’s level. 

For the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), the interim Continuing Resolution (CR) funds WAP at $68M. Since the Program Year 2014 WAP funding cycle does not start until April 1, 2014, the current CR may not be a final funding figure for WAP. We will keep you informed as things progress



Posted by: Rebecca Stewart at 11:08 AM
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Weatherization Day is NOT Shut Down



Monday, October 07, 2013

Weatherization day is October 30 - about three weeks away! As we enter the second week of a federal government shutdown, getting the word out about the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is more important than ever. While it is easy to brush off current events as not relevant and go about your business, the federal government shutdown has real, relevant effects – effects that most people do not see or recognize. This is your chance to show policymakers, stakeholders, partner groups, and, most importantly, the public the impact that stopping the flow of federal funds to the WAP has on jobs, low-income people, and communities.


The Weatherization Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center (WAPTAC) has a host of materials and resources to help you get the word out this October 30. Why not:


All of these steps may seem small and to pale in comparison to the crises in Washington, DC these days, but small steps compounded across the country make a giant leap – a leap we need to keep WAP running nationwide.


As always, contact NASCSP with any questions or if we can be of any assistance in your Weatherization Day efforts. 


Posted by: Rebecca Stewart at 5:56 PM
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Nine Weeks Until Weatherization Day!



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nine weeks and counting to Weatherization Day! Weatherization Day is a great time to host events that showcase your program to local stakeholders, partners, and Representatives. Last year, over twelve states hosted Weatherization Day events. Examples include:

What are you planning?


Posted by: Rebecca Stewart at 9:04 AM
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Weatherization Funding: 2013 and 2014



Thursday, June 27, 2013
Funding for the Program Year 2013 for the Weatherization Assistance Program was released on Friday, June 21. The Department of Energy (DOE) released the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the WAP at the level of $137.9 million. You can view the FOA here and the WPN 13-2 that sets State Allocations here. This funding level is nearly $70 million more than the Continuing Resolution passed level of only $68 million by Congress for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 due to reprogramming of funds within DOE.  

Congress has already begun the process of setting the FY 14 funding levels for WAP this week. The House passed Appropriations Committee level for WAP is $77.1 million, up from the FY 13 level of $54 million. The Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee passed at the President's requested level of $184 million, up from $145 million last year. During the full Appropriations Committee meeting, another $6 million in funding was added to the program, bringing the Senate appropriations level for the program up to $190 million.   
 
While there are nearly final numbers in the House and Senate, it is unlikely the two chambers will be able to conference the two bills to come to a final agreement. In the event they do not, Congress will likely pass another series of continuing resolutions (CRs) as they have in past years. WAP funding would be based on the last passed funding level in FY'12 of $68 million.
 
Though it is likely another CR will determine the FY 14 for WAP, it is encouraging that the funding level for the Program is up in both chambers at a time when many Programs are being cut back dramatically.

Posted by: Alice Gaston at 4:39 PM
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WAP Program Year 2012 Funding Survey Now Available



Tuesday, June 11, 2013
The WAP 2012 Program Year (PY 2012) Funding Survey is now available on waptac.org here.

The National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) WAP Funding Survey is the only comprehensive measure of all funds, including non-DOE funds, used in the Program. Each year, the survey catalogues the funding and production levels for each Grantee of the Program as well as the source of that funding. This includes the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), utility funds, and state funds among others.

Some highlights from this year include:
  • An estimated $892,258,149 will be available to Grantees of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) for PY 2012 (April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 for some Grantees and July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 for others) in regular DOE, LIHEAP, and Other funds, such as utility funds.
  • A national network of Grantees, local agencies, and private contractors will use these annual grant funds to weatherize an estimated 129,015 low-income homes.
  • In PY 2012, WAP will leverage approximately $685,708,147 in federal, Grantee, and private funds, or approximately $3.42 in federal and non-federal resources for every dollar invested by DOE. These figures include LIHEAP funding.
  • Grantees were expected to weatherize 634,956 total units using Recovery Act funds. In the third year of Recovery Act funding, Grantees weatherized 366,454 homes towards their goal. The WAP network has exceeded the production goals set by DOE for the Recovery Act by nearly 160,000 units.

The composition of funds changes over time, the below graph shows how the distribution of DOE, LIHEAP, and Other funds has changed since 2002.

Composition of Funds over time 2002-2012

Past year’s funding surveys are also available on waptac.org here.

Posted by: Alice Gaston at 11:37 AM
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A Tribute to Cal Steiner



Thursday, June 06, 2013
We salute Cal Steiner, long-time WAP professional extraordinaire. After a 30+ year career, Cal has officially resigned his position as North Dakota WAP Director. Cal has been a very familiar name and face for many years, both as a highly sought after trainer and as a network leader and spokesperson.

I think what made Cal so respected by his peers isn’t just the fact that he’s so passionate about the Weatherization Program, but that his undeniable expertise is so readily apparent. Cal’s perspective regarding program issues and his training are based on his extensive experience in grassroots WAP operations. There is nothing theoretical about it – his positions are based on personal involvement and thoughtful analysis of what he has experienced and learned.

Rather than take credit himself, Cal goes out of his way to give credit and recognition to WAP field staff, realizing (dare I say, preaching?) that the ultimate success of the Weatherization Program is due to their work. He always advocated for proper equipment, training, recognition, and compensation.

Cal – you will be missed and the WAP network won’t be quite the same, but you have certainly earned some R&R. Enjoy some time to do those things you had to put aside while working so diligently for WAP. I suspect and hope we might see you again assisting the Program and people you served so well for so many years.

Take care, my friend.

Posted by: Bob Scott at 4:03 PM
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Pennsylvania Performs Survey of Household Satisfaction, Finds Weatherization is a Positive Experience for Clients



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Due to a large influx of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) funds, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) decided to perform a survey measuring the Weatherization Assistance Program’s (WAP) impact of services on participants and their satisfaction with the result. This survey provides a basis for future evaluation and sheds light on areas of potential improvement as well as data critical to the successful expansion of the Pennsylvania Recovery Act WAP program.

DCED received 7,044 completed survey forms from households weatherized between July 1, 2010 and December 31, 2011. Significant findings include:

  • Over 75% of participants were pleased with improvements to their homes, contact with local agencies, and the quality of work completed.
  • Over the survey period, participant satisfaction either remained steady or increased.
  • Employees got the highest marks, with the highest satisfaction levels in the areas of “friendly employees” and “installers of the energy efficient products.”

More than three-quarters of respondents strongly agreed that they had a good experience, that the local agency understood their needs, that the contact with the local agency was excellent, and that the improvements will make their homes more comfortable and more energy efficient.

Consumer education is a critical component of any weatherization program. Nearly all survey respondents (98%) indicated that they changed their behavior due to weatherization services. The actions taken most often include turning off lights and fans when not in the room, setting the thermostat lower at certain times of day, and doing fuller loads of laundry.

Handwritten comments show the impact and success of the program, with submissions like, “I was very pleased with the work that was done. They also took the time to fix things I did not know about. I couldn't ask for a better group of guys to do the work. They were friendly and very professional. Thank you so much.”

Performing surveys such as the one by DCED provides invaluable feedback to states and local agencies to ensure services are adequately and fully provided, and that participants are happy with the work done. We applaud the Pennsylvania DCED for their proactive approach to evaluating WAP performance and their excellent program.

You can read the full report here.


Posted by: Rebecca Stewart at 1:30 PM
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Legislative Update - WAP FY'13 and FY'14 funding



Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has been in the spotlight on Capitol Hill over the last month with prodigious legislative activity around funding for FY 2013 and FY 2014, including:

(1) March 22nd – The Reed-Collins Amendment on the Budget Resolution in the Senate adding $50M to the WAP budget for FY 2014 passed in the Senate;

(2) March 28th – Thirty four Senators signed onto a Reed-Collins letter urging the Secretary of Energy to use his discretion to increase WAP funding for the balance of FY 2013 from the Continuing Resolution Level of $68 million;

(3) April 24th – Representatives Richard Hanna (R-NY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) crafted a similar letter in the House to the Secretary of Energy asking for an increase in the WAP FY 2013 allocation;

(4) April 24th – Representatives Hanna and Tonko additionally circulated a letter to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Appropriations asking for an increase in FY 2014 funding for WAP. The letter was signed by over 60 House Members; and

(5) April 26th – Senators Reed and Collins wrote a letter to the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee seeking $230M for WAP in FY 2014 — that letter is now finalized and signed by 40 Senators following our all-out effort the past few days.

To date there has been no decision on FY’13 funding from the Department of Energy though a decision is expected any day now.


Posted by: Alice Gaston at 12:00 PM
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