September 18, 2015—A new report by the U.S. Department of Energy extensively analyzes the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) by looking at its accomplishments before and after the federal stimulus funding received in 2009.
In 2008, the WAP weatherized 98,000 units, saved single-family homes an average of $283, created or retained 8,500 jobs, and reduced carbon pollution by 2.2 million metric tons, according to a recently-released report from the DOE's Oak Ridge National Lab. In 2010, WAP weatherized 330,000 units, saved single-family homes an average of $223, created or retained 28,000 jobs, and reduced carbon emissions by 7.4 metric tons.
The report, a peer-reviewed synthesis of 20 individual studies on the DOE's weatherization program, provides an in-depth analysis of the years before and after the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2009. Oak Ridge's Retrospective Evaluation covered the 2008 program year, while its Recovery Act Evaluation covered the 2010 program year.
According to the DOE, these evaluations are the most comprehensive, detailed analysis of the WAP and its operations conducted to date. Each of the 20 studies synthesized in the evaluations provided in-depth information about different facets of the program. All together they provided a comprehensive picture of not only the clients, but also the housing stock and service providers as well.
Overall, the weatherization program provided $340 million in program wide energy-cost savings 2008. In 2010, after the ARRA enactment, that number was closer to $1.1 billion. In addition, the evaluations also noted significant cost savings outside just energy benefits. The health and well-being of the household members in weatherized homes also improved. According to the report, "approximately $14,000 in health and household-related, non-energy benefits [were] realized per single-family household." This greater amount of savings per household can be possibly be attributed to a decrease in hospital visits due to asthma and other respiratory issues and less time missed from work because of illness after a home is properly weatherized. A typical home weatherization often addresses many of the issues that trigger asthma and other respiratory attacks, such as drafty windows and walls, poor insulation, and outdated heating systems.
Sources: U.S. Department of Energy, Media Reports