Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott and the Department for Children and Families (DCF) announced today the approval of the use of $7.9 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to expand the Weatherization Assistance Program. Weatherization helps eligible households reduce their energy usage, lower their utility bills, and improve the comfort and safety of their homes.
“Weatherization continues to be a cornerstone of our efforts to improve the energy efficiency of Vermont homes and cut greenhouse gas emissions,” said Governor Scott. “The Weatherization Assistance Program typically weatherizes between 800 to 1,000 homes each year. This investment will allow more than 550 additional homes to be weatherized, helping create good weatherization jobs, reduce costs for Vermonters and help our planet.”
Governor Scott has long championed weatherization, proposing major funding increases in his budget address in January, and again in April following the passage of ARPA, as part of his historic funding proposals for climate change mitigation efforts.
About $1.6 million of the additional funding will be used to provide “one-stop” comprehensive weatherization and efficiency improvements in multi-family housing.
A household is eligible for no cost weatherization services if their gross household income is below 80% of the median income in their area. A family of four with an annual income of about $67,000 would be eligible in most Vermont communities.
“Weatherization saves the Vermonters we serve about 35%, on average, on their home energy use,” said DCF Office of Economic Opportunity Director Sarah Phillips. “That helps lower their energy bills, keeping money in their pockets for other necessities like food, clothing and medications.”
Priority for funding is given to households receiving Seasonal Fuel Assistance; high-energy use homes; families with young children; older Vermonters; and people with disabilities.
Free weatherization services include energy audits (e.g., blower door testing and infrared scans); energy renovations (e.g., insulation, air sealing, heating system upgrades); efficiency coaching; health and safety improvements (e.g., improving ventilation, addressing carbon monoxide and unsafe heating issues); and referrals to other programs and services.
On average, the program makes about $8,500 worth of improvements per home, adds about 1,500 square feet of insulation and reduces drafts by about 40%.
For more information about the Weatherization Program and how to apply, go to http://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/weatherization.
Source: Governor 10.20.21. Montpelier www.vermont.gov