Weatherization Assistance Program Overview
"To reduce energy costs for low-income families, particularly for the elderly, people with disabilities, and children, by improving the energy efficiency of their homes while ensuring their health and safety."
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) 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, the District of Columbia, Native American tribes, and U.S. Territories. Funds are used to improve the energy efficiency of low-income homes 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 dependence on foreign oil and decrease the cost of energy for families in need while improving the health and safety of their homes.
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, the Senate and House Interior Appropriations committees decide how much funding to allocate to the Program.
Weatherization Program Facts
Since the inception of the WAP, over 7 million homes have been weatherized with DOE funds.
Energy savings average 35% of consumption for the typical low-income home.
Occupants of weatherized homes experience in the range of $400 in annual savings on their energy bills, at current energy prices.
In 2010, weatherized homes nationally will save $2.1 billion for low-income families.
For every $1 invested in the Program, Weatherization returns $2.51 to the household and society. This includes:
$1.80 returned in reduced energy bills
$0.71 is returned to ratepayers, households, and communities through increased local employment, reduced uncollectible utility bills, improved housing quality, and better health and safety though the reduction of heat-related illness and death and risk of death from home fires due to utility disconnection.
- Weatherization measures reduce national energy demand by the equivalent of 24.1 million barrels of oil per year.
Weatherization saves an average of 32% in gas space heating. This comprises a total fuel consumption reduction of 23%. Net savings for each home weatherized average 30.5 MBtu/year.
Reducing energy demand decreases the environmental impacts of energy production. Weatherization mitigates approximately 2.65 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Over the life of the measures, weatherization saves 53 metric tons of CO2 per house. Weatherization also reduces emissions of methane and nitrous oxide.
Weatherization creates non-energy benefits as well, including increased property value, reduced incidence of fire, reduced utility arrearages and bad debt, federal taxes generated from employment, income generated from indirect employment, avoided costs of unemployment benefits, and reduced pollution.
Additional benefits that are more difficult to quantify include improved health and safety conditions, increased comfort for occupants, a reduction in homelessness and mobility, and extended lifetime of affordable housing.
The information above is from "Short and Long-Term Perspectives: The Impact on Low-Income Consumers of Forecasted Energy Price Increases in 2008 and a Cap-and-Trade Carbon Policy in 2030"
ORNL/CON-503, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge,Tennessee, December - 2007;
January MIDWINTER UPDATE, "Estimating the National Effects of the U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program with State-Level Data: A Metaevaluation Using Studies from 1993 to 2005",
ORNL/CON-493, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, September, 2005; and the EIA ORNL/TM-2010/66, EIA February 2010 Short Term Energy Outlook