The US Department of Energy recently recognized Ohio as a national leader in utilizing home weatherization funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment ACT (ARRA). The State completed more than one in five of that weatherizations projects reported nationally. The Ohio Department of Development reports that it plans to utilize the $266 million it has received in ARRA funding to weatherize 32,000 homes by 2012.
The Ohio Home Weatherization Assistance Program is designed to help low-income families reduce their energy costs by taking steps to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Since the program’s inception in 1976, it has served 6.2 million homes across the country and 304,000 homes in Ohio.
The process of home weatherization typically begins with a simple inspection. Inspectors use a National Energy Audit Tool (NEAT) which produces a prioritized list of cost effective measure tailored to the home. Weatherization experts take this information to provide a variety of services, which could include attic, wall and basement insulation, blower-door-guided air leakage reduction, heating systems repairs or replacements, and health and safety testing and inspection. This program has created 2,500 full-time equivalent jobs since July of 2009.
After weatherization, homeowners see significant benefits. Households that use natural gas to heat their homes typically see and reduction in energy consumption of almost 25 percent. Low income families are usually able to pay a greater percentage of their utility bills and see a significantly lower rate of disconnection.
Here in Ohio, some local companies have seen the direct benefits of this program. The Krendl Machine Company is an insulation machine manufacturer based in Delphos, Ohio. Since March 2009, Krendel has sold more than 60 machines to community action agencies and contractors who weatherize homes. As the result of an increased demand for their product, Krendel has increased their workforce by 30 percent during the second and third quarter of 2009. Applied Energy Products, Inc. located in North Canton, is one of Krendel’s distributors and has also had to increase their workforce as well. This program is a great example of how the ARRA funds have directly and indirectly created jobs in Ohio.