Out of the 200 federal programs funded through the Recovery Act,
weatherizing homes is ranked second for job creation.
But that successful program will now whither on the vine because funding has been severely cut in the 2012 federal budget.
The Recovery Act granted $5 billion for low-income home weatherization and reached 600,000 upgrades as of December, 2011, three months ahead of the March 2012 target date.
Weatherization of these homes typically cuts energy demand 35%, saving families over $400 on their heating and cooling bills in the first year alone - about $320 million nationwide.
The U.S. Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which has a strong jobs training component, created or retained over 13,000 green jobs in the fourth quarter of 2011.
But Congress appropriated only $68 million to WAP for 2012, far below the level required to sustain this newly trained weatherization workforce. This will force state and local agencies to lay off skilled workers and increase the ranks of the unemployed.
Weatherization-related jobs employ highly trained, skilled technicians who install a wide variety of energy efficiency measures that encompass the building envelope, heating and cooling systems, electrical system, and electricity consuming appliances in low-income homes.
Weatherization works, both for low-income families served and as a sound government investment towards America's economic and energy security. As President Obama said in his State of the Union address on January 24, "The easiest way to save money is to waste less energy."
WAP provides significant energy savings for its recipients, employs skilled workers, and makes America's homes more energy efficient and less dependent on foreign oil," says Steve Payne, WAP administrator for Washington State.