The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) reduces heating and cooling 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.
"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 Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) was created in 1976 to assist low-income families who lacked resources to invest in energy efficiency. WAP is operating 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 6.2 million homes have been weatherized with DOE funds. This year, an estimated 100,000 homes will be weatherized with DOE funds.
- An average of 30.5 MBtu of energy per household 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 $350 in reduced first-year energy costs, at current prices.
- Taken together, for every $1 invested in the Program, Weatherization returns $2.73 in energy and non-energy related benefits.
- Weatherization creates 52 direct jobs and 23 indirect jobs for every $1 million invested.
- Weatherization measures reduce national energy demand by the equivalent of 18 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 1.61 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year in a home heated primarily with natural gas and even more for homes heated with fuel oil. 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 February 2008 Short Term Energy Outlook.