"Big Growing Pains and Potential for $5B Weatherization Program"

"Next month, a new class of a dozen or more men and women will begin training in Long Island City, N.Y., to become home weatherization technicians. They are early recruits in a small army of workers being deployed in places around the country where there were only skeleton crews before.

A vastly accelerated version of the federal weatherization program -- begun in 1976 to cut heating oil bills for low-income homes -- is just getting under way. It is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus legislation, passed eight months ago. The act allots $5 billion over three years to improve insulation and replace leaky windows and doors for lower-income homeowners and apartment residents.

Based now on the premise that more energy efficiency is the quickest, cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the campaign is a long reach for a federally funded weatherization program. Recently, it has been running at $225 million a year, the General Accounting Office notes. Just eight of 14 states surveyed by GAO had begun weatherizing programs using the Recovery Act as of the end of August."

Peter Behr reports for ClimateWire in the New York Times November 9, 2009.

Source: ClimateWire, 11/10/2009