Over the next few days, the U.S. Department of Energy will release about $780 million to fund state and local programs for weatherizing homes.
The money is part of the $8 billion set aside by the stimulus bill to create jobs while helping consumers cut energy spending. Energy Secretary Steve Chu and Vice President Joe Biden held a press event at the White House Thursday morning to announce the funding.
The DOE said states will have to deliver results in order to receive additional funding from the $8 billion pot, which includes $5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program and $3 billion for the State Energy Program. The federal government aims to create jobs for 87,000 people and save hundreds of dollars per year per family.
The weatherization program targets low-income families: those who make $44,000 per year for a family of four (except for $55,140 for Alaska and $50,720 for Hawaii). The DOE said the weatherization efforts, such as using more energy-efficient air conditioning and heating and improving insulation, should save each family hundreds of dollars per year. The DOE said the program would invest up to $6,500 per home per year.
The State Energy Program will provide rebates to consumers to conserving energy use at home and fund renewable energy projects in electricity generation and transportation fuels. The money also is slated for making state and local government buildings more energy efficient and other state programs to cut energy costs for its residents.
The DOE went to the trouble of issuing separate funding announcements for each state that is getting part of the $780 mil lion, so you can click here to look up the states you care about.
The federal government will provide guidelines for spending the money, but it's up to each state to figure out exactly how to do it. The California Energy Commission, for example, has set up a Webpage to provide information about how the state plans to spend the federal dollars for those weatherization and energy programs.