October 28, 2010

CARDIN, SARBANES CELEBRATE NATIONAL WEATHERIZATION DAY

Weatherization Recovery Program Creates Jobs While Reducing Energy Bills

GLEN BURNIE, MD - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes (both D-MD) today joined Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Raymond Skinner to celebrated National Weatherization Day by visiting the Glen Burnie home of Evette West-Brooks, which was recently retrofitted to be more energy efficient.

 

Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided relief to the hard-hit construction industry and put Marylanders back to work weatherizing homes. As of September more than 2,600 homes have been weatherized - creating good paying jobs and helping homeowners save on their energy bills.

 

"The Recovery program has made unprecedented investments that are helping Maryland families weatherize their homes," said Senator Cardin.  "The Weatherization Assistance Program is a win-win for everyone. It creates jobs, helps low-income families reduce their energy use and save a significant amount of money and it reduces our nation's dependence on foreign energy."

 

 "The weatherization recovery program is creating new construction and manufacturing jobs, helping Americans save on their energy bills, and protecting the environment through reduced energy usage," said Congressman Sarbanes. "With 17 percent of construction workers still out of work, weatherizing homes and installing clean energy technologies can be an important part of near term recovery and long term prosperity."

"Through the Department of Housing and Community Development's Weatherization Assistance Program Maryland has weatherized 3,366 homes and, as a result, 281 jobs were created," said Secretary Skinner. "Moreover, Ms. West-Brooks benefits with an energy-efficient home that she was not able to financially afford due to a personal hardship. We are pleased to be able to make good use of ARRA funds to help people obtain employment and live in energy efficient homes."

Weatherization work on Ms. West-Brooks home included attic insulation, lighting retrofits, ductwork sealing, pipe wrap insulation, water heater treatments and a furnace replacement.

 

ARRA provided $5 billion for the weatherization assistance program nationally and $61 million to Maryland. These funds are also used to train workers in this emerging field. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development works with local governments, non-profits and private businesses to effectively run the weatherization program.

 

Eligible households are those whose combined household income is less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty level, as determined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Priority is given to homeowners who are elderly, disabled and families with children and/or those who have the highest energy consumption.

 

Families receiving weatherization services see their annual energy bills reduced by an average of about $413, depending on fuel prices. Because the energy improvements that make up weatherization services are long lived, the savings add up over time to substantial benefits for weatherization clients, their communities and the nation as a whole.