Friday, April 3, 2009

$23 Million in Stimulus Money For Improving Energy Efficiency in Low-Income Homes

Concord, New Hampshire - A state run program that works to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs in low-income homes will receive more than $23 million in federal funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The investment will create an estimated 184 new green jobs in New Hampshire, according to the Office of Energy and Planning (OEP).

The money will go to the State of New Hampshire’s Weatherization Program, and will be used to provide services to 3,500 or more low-income households in the Granite State. The program is a part of the US Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which has assisted more than 6 million low-income families nationwide since its founding in 1976.

The investment will do more than just create do new green jobs and help struggling families though. The New Hampshire Climate Action Plan produced by Governor John Lynch’s Climate Change Task Force identifies improving energy efficiency in homes as one way to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Buildings accounted for about a third of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2005, according to Task Force. Granted, this figure includes emissions from business and industrial buildings as well.  Still, the plan identifies programs that improve energy efficiency in homes as a shovel ready means for curbing global warming pollution.

“The technology, equipment and expertise exist today to substantially reduce the amount of energy required to heat and cool the average existing home, as well as to make new homes efficient from the offset,” according to the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan. “Studies have shown that existing homes can made anywhere from 15 to 60 percent more efficient by the use of improved air sealing, insulation, and equipment.”

These are precisely the type of improvements that will be made to low-income homes in New Hampshire thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The New Hampshire Climate Action Plan sets a goal of reducing net energy consumption in 30,000 homes by 60 percent. The more than $23 million in federal stimulus money that will go towards improving energy efficiency in low-income homes will help jump-start the state's efforts to meet this important goal.

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