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ARRA Keeps Working for You

Posted by Jim Gunshinan on March 21, 2014
ARRA Keeps Working for You
A worker pulls pipe out of a weatherization to blow cellulose insulation into a client's home.

Almost two years ago I posted a blog about the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA); ARRA, or the “Stimulus Bill”, has gotten pilloried in the media as a colossal failure and waste of taxpayer dollars. But if you would take the time to do a little research, you would see that most of the coverage has been far from the truth.

Because of ARRA’s support for DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program, well over 1 million homes were weatherized across the country and are now saving an average of $400 a year on energy costs. Fifteen thousand jobs were created in the weatherization field alone and the economy was stimulated—the whole point of the “Stimulus Bill” in the first place. Auditors estimated that the waste for the more than $800-billion Stimulus was only 0.001% of the total.

Tragically, there hasn’t been enough support to keep those 15-thousand workers in jobs. Blame that on the President, on the Congress, Wall Street, or on the economy as a whole and you would be hitting the mark—all of the above.

But I drive to work through the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel, and drive home through the original two, and my commute home is not nearly the headache it used to be, thanks in large part to ARRA. Look around wherever you live and do a little research and you will come up with similar stories.

More good news keeps trickling in. This from Neal De Snoo, Energy Program Officer in the Office of Energy and Sustainable Development of the city of Berkeley:

The City of Berkeley, California completed an evaluation of a Federal Stimulus-funded residential energy upgrade program. The analysis of actual energy consumption from participating homes before and after improvements shows that major energy improvement projects provide benefits to the community and homeowners that exceed the costs. The study is based on a set of 99 of the 142 single-family homes that participated in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) and PG&E ratepayer-funded Berkeley Money for Energy Efficiency (ME2) program between 2010 and 2012.

Here are some highlights:

  • The 99 homes analyzed realized on average an 18% reduction in their energy use.
  • At a combined cost between households (app. $450,000) and the federal government (app. $240,000) of approximately $690,000, the city gained about $350,000 in home improvements, $250,000 in wages, and $467,000 in utility bill reduction.

The report is available here.

 

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