The state has received another big chunk of federal economic recovery funds to help expand the program that improves the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income Iowans. Jim Newton oversees the weatherization program, and says the federal money will dramatically increase the number of homes involved.
Newton says they normally do about 2,000 homes a year, and with these funds they’ll do over 7,200 homes in a two-and-a-half year period. The state serves as the distributor of the funds. Newton says they provide grants to local agencies, 17 community action agencies and one county government, across the state. Those 18 either do the work themselves, or have private contractors. The latest installment from U.S. Department of Energy for the program is state just over $32-million.
He says they will get a total of 80-million-800,000 dollars of the recovery money. They received an initial 10-percent for planning and Newton says that has gone out to the agencies to hire staff and buy the equipment they would need. The latest payment is 40% of the money.
Newton says the weatherization includes insulating walls and attics, new high efficiency furnaces, new refrigerators and compact fluorescent light bulbs.Newton says they estimate the weatherization will save the recipients an average about 25% of their energy bill.
The state will receive another $40-million for the program once the state shows it has met federal guidelines. The program is available to families making up to 200% of the federal poverty level, or about $44,000 a year for a family of four.