State Announces Expansion of Home Weatherization Program - Southern Maryland Headline News

State Announces Expansion of Home Weatherization Program

Announcement includes weatherization projects funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

SILVER SPRING, Md. (June 18, 2009) – Governor Martin O’Malley today joined Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and other officials to formally announce Maryland’s first steps in expanding its home weatherization program, designed to benefit thousands of low-income families throughout the state. The Governor participated in a home energy efficiency audit at the home of Richard and Sonja Lowery in Silver Spring.

“As families throughout Maryland struggle to pay their energy bills, we are able to take significant steps to reduce their energy costs, while ensuring their health and safety, thanks to the President’s economic recovery plan,” said Governor O’Malley. “These audits may seem trivial on an individual basis, but the fact is that families could save between $300 and $400 per year with simple energy efficiency improvements. If every household in the state of Maryland swapped out one incandescent light bulb for a compact florescent bulb, it would save enough energy to power over 6,300 homes for one full year.”

More than $61 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds will be provided to the State of Maryland for its Weatherization Assistance Program. Of this, $44.5 million will be used for home weatherization improvements and approximately $11 million is targeted for training and technical assistance.

The Weatherization program, which is managed by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, benefits low-income families by providing a maximum of $6,500 in weatherization-related services such as air infiltration reduction, insulation, hot water system improvements, lighting retrofits and furnace repairs or improvements.

Over the three years that Maryland is expected to receive ARRA weatherization funding, about 6,800 homes are estimated to be weatherized, compared to about half that amount served in the previous three years. At least 150 “green” jobs are expected to be created through Local Weatherization Agencies.

To qualify for weatherization assistance, families must have household incomes below 200% poverty level, or 60% median income. Families who may qualify are encouraged to contact their Local Energy Office by calling 800-638-7781 or through Maryland’s assistance website

Eighteen Local Weatherization Agencies prioritize the requests for weatherization services based on special population needs, including families with children, families with no heat, the elderly and people with disabilities. These agencies contact individual homeowners to set up appointments to inspect the property, where a professionally trained energy efficiency auditor conducts an on-site inspection to determine the most cost-effective measures that are appropriate for the home. The auditor also develops a work plan for items that need to be addressed.

The State’s enhanced weatherization effort also includes the creation of a Maryland Weatherization Training Center and institutional career paths through community colleges. State agencies are working with a consortium of Maryland community colleges to put together a statewide training program.

Source: Office of Gov. Martin O'Malley

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