New and Notable

Less Money for Low-Income Weatherization

July 01, 2006
July/August 2006
A version of this article appears in the July/August 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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Less Money for Low-Income Weatherization

        DOE is providing $140.3 million in weatherization program grants to 31 states and the Navajo Nation to make energy-efficiency improvements in homes of low-income families. These weatherization measures are expected to reduce the average home’s energy costs by $358 annually.
        “Weatherizing your home is a valuable way to save energy and money,” says DOE Secretary Samuel Bodman. “The Department of Energy’s weatherization program will help nearly 97,000 families make their homes more energy efficient.” The funding for all energy-efficiency programs is $847 million, 2.3% lower than the administration’s 2005 proposed funding. The budget includes funding cuts for energy efficiency programs, including low-income weatherization.
        For every dollar spent,weatherization returns $1.53 in energy savings over the life of the measures. DOE’s weatherization program performs energy audits to identify the most cost-effective measures for each home. These include adding insulation, reducing air infiltration, servicing heating and cooling systems, and providing health and safety diagnostic services. Other benefits of weatherization include increased housing affordability, increased property values, job creation, lower owner and renter turnover, and a reduced risk of fire.
        The DOE weatherization program grants are distributed by state energy offices through more than 900 local agencies. Every state, the District of Columbia, the Navajo Nation, and the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona will receive weatherization grants this year. Awards announced so far are for the Navajo Nation and the 31 states that begin their weatherization year on April 1. The remaining 19 states and the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona will receive funding during the latter half of 2006.
        The administration’s fiscal year 2007 budget proposes even more decreases in funding—cutting $78 million (13%) in funding for federal energy efficiency programs. The proposed budget decreases funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program by $85 million (27%).

Energy Star Dishwashers More Efficient

        DOE has established more stringent energy efficiency criteria for Energy Star-labeled dishwashers. Dishwashers that meet the new Energy Star criteria must be a minimum of 41% more efficient than federal energy efficiency standards and could save American families more than $26 million a year.The new qualifying levels will go into effect on January 1, 2007, and dishwashers that meet the criteria will be eligible for manufacturer tax credits under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Energy Star label appears on more than 40 kinds of consumer product.

Pardee Homes Honored

        Pardee Homes is the first homebuilding company in California to earn the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA). Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger honored 18 individuals, organizations, and businesses for the 2005 GEELA, with honorees announced in Sacramento.“ Californians take very seriously their commitment to preserving the beauty and health of the state we call home,” says Schwarzenegger. “I commend this year’s Environmental and Economic Leadership recipients for their efforts in making California’s air, land, and water cleaner and safer.”
        GEELA recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made notable voluntary contributions in conserving California’s resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, and building public-private partnerships.
        Pardee Homes was recognized for Sustainable Practices, which acknowledges “pioneering efforts to integrate environmental values and conservation of natural resources into long-term decision making and management of businesses and facilities.” GEELA officials said that the company demonstrates a broad commitment to resource conservation, and to outreach efforts that help home buyers learn more about the benefits of sustainable design.             Among Pardee Homes’ achievements are its 100% commitment to Energy Star-compliant homes; its LivingSmart program of additional sustainable systems and features; habitat and vernal pool restoration; and solarpower standards and options for selected homes.

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