Reduce heating bills from the Maryland weatherization program.
The federal government is increasing the size of weatherization assistance available nationwide by over $5 billion. The additional funds are flowing to the Department of Energy's weatherization program as a result of the federal government stimulus law that President Obama signed in early 2009.
The benefits to Maryland will be enormous. The funding will provide an additional $65 million in assistance to Maryland over the next two years, which is over 10 times on average what the state normally receives. Thousands of additional homes will be able to benefit, and families can save hundreds of dollars per year on their heating bills.
The increased funding from the program is expected to underwrite energy efficiency improvements and repairs for thousands of more homes across the state, and will benefit more low-income people. In addition, it will provide jobs. The training and hiring of at least 200 people to do the work will be needed.
Since the program’s beginning, the Department of Energy estimates that 5.6 million low-income families have had homes weatherized over the last 30 years across the nation. The programs have helped people save an average of 32 percent on their heating bills which equates to more than $350 annually per home.
Last year, Maryland's program completed about 1,000 homes last year but received about 5,000 applications for the program. With the increased federal government stimulus funding, the $2.6 million it normally receives from DOE will increase to over $31 million, which will have the effect of allowing the state to shrink waiting lists and update more homes.
Many agencies across the state perform the work. McKinley Tull, who is the housing director for the Salisbury-based SHORE UP!, said that the nonprofit charity organization is already advertising openings to weatherize homes in Wicomico, Somerset, and Worcester counties, and anticipates hiring 12 people to perform the work. They normally improve 65-70 homes per year, but it will increase to almost 300 homes per year with the additional funding.
Another example. For Tracy Dyson, who is the housing revitalization manager for Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee, the large increase in funding for the program means a lot of work, which is good for us and good for people in the program. She expects their organization, which weatherized 75-80 homes last year in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties, will hire more people to work on the homes. They will perform energy audits, construction work, improve the homes, and also have more work for subcontractors.
The Maryland weatherization program is a great way for people to update their homes, for free, and save on their heating bills.