Investing in the Energy Efficiency & Weatherization Workforce

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By Daniel R Simmons, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Today is Weatherization Day, an annual opportunity to celebrate the impact of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which reduces energy costs for low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes.

Daniel R Simmons, Wisconsin Weatherization Trip 2019 courtesy of DOE.

For the past four decades, WAP has helped lower home energy costs for more than seven million low-income families through efficiency retrofits, and provided training and resources to states across the country to develop a skilled weatherization workforce.

Last year, I traveled to Wisconsin to witness one of our state weatherization programs in action. Thanks to the efforts of the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Administration and Project Home, Wisconsin’s local weatherization agency, I had the pleasure of visiting two homes where I watched how weatherization crews went about their work to make them more energy efficient and safe.

What struck me during my visit was not only the high level of skill required of the professionals, but also the physically challenging nature of their jobs. From crawling into tight attic spaces to remove and replace insulation, to topping ladders to seal and repair ducts, to blowing insulation with large, heavy hoses, the crews navigated the physical and technical challenges of their jobs with relative ease. Their work not only made these homes healthier and safer for the families living there, but also saved those families a great deal of money.

Daniel R Simmons, Wisconsin Weatherization Trip 2019 courtesy of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Across the state of Wisconsin, there are 18 local weatherization service providers, serving all 72 counties and 11 Native American Tribes. In just one year, the state’s weatherization network implemented energy-efficiency upgrades to more than 6,000 homes. Nationally, DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program provides services to approximately 35,000 homes every year — weatherizing all types of low-income homes, including single-family detached units, mobile homes, and large multifamily buildings.

At the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, we’re doing amazing work to make energy affordable and keep our economy strong. On Weatherization Day, I’m reminded of that trip to Wisconsin, and how special it was to witness firsthand how our work is making a difference in the lives of American workers and families.

For more information on the Weatherization Assistance Program, visit our website.

Courtesy of Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Department of Energy.

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