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Massachusetts residents can get weatherization assistance

Massachusetts is receiving about $50 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand weatherization assistance programs. The funds are being provided from the U.S. Department of Energy.

These funds from the federal government, when combined with additional funds to be disbursed at a later date after the state meets other Recovery Act milestones, will help Massachusetts achieve its goal of weatherizing and helping more than 16,900 homes with home improvements, which will lower energy costs for low and middle income families that need help with paying their energy bills in today’s challenging economy. Other benefits of the weatherization program include reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating green jobs across the state that will be improving the homes.

Massachusetts already has plans for the funds, will be using its federal government Recovery Act funds to update and weatherize more than 16,900 homes over the next three years. In addition, the state plans on ramping up a Clean Energy Center which will train and provide additional support to a growing energy-efficiency workforce in the state to continue to keep Mass on the cutting edge of green technology.

As a result of the weatherization assistance program, Massachusetts will be increasing both the number of auditors and other professionals that will be needed to meet the increased demand for weatherization activities across the state. As a matter of fact, this has already begun as already more than 25 additional auditors have already been hired across the state, along with some select hiring of new private-sector employees that will work with local charities and organizations that are directly responsible for weatherization work.

Some background on DOE's Weatherization Assistance Program is that it will be available to families making up to 200 percent of the federal income poverty level — which is about $44,000 a year for a family of four. In general, Weatherization projects allow low and mid income families and individuals to save money on their utility and heating bills by making their homes more energy efficient. the end result of the improvements is an average savings of 35 percent for heating bills and total savings of hundreds of dollars per year on overall energy bills for the home.





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