More State Funds to Weatherize Homes of Low-Income Vermonters
Vermont’s Weatherization Program helps low-income homeowners and renters to reduce their energy usage, lower their utility bills, and improve the overall comfort and safety of their homes. Priority is given to people getting Fuel Assistance, high energy use homes, families with young children, older Vermonters and people with disabilities.
“This programs weatherizes between 800 to 1,000 homes each year and saves clients about 20% (on average) on their home heating bills,” said Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity Chief Administrator Sarah Phillips. “The energy they save keeps money in their pockets for other necessities like food, clothing and medications.”
The program is supported by a blend of federal and state funds. The funds available for the program increased by about 16% on July 1, 2016 when the State’s funding mechanism for the program — a tax on heating oil, propane, and kerosene —was changed. It went from a tax based on price (0.5% of sales) to one that’s based on consumption (2-cents per gallon).
This change will allow the program to weatherize an additional 132 homes this year. It will also provide a more stable level of funding in the future. Whether fuel prices go up or down, the funds available for weatherization services should remain about the same as long as consumption is consistent.
Free weatherization services include:
- Energy audits (e.g., blower door testing and infrared scans)
- Energy renovations (e.g., insulation, air sealing, heating system upgrades)
- Efficiency coaching
- Health & safety improvements (e.g., improving ventilation, addressing carbon monoxide and unsafe heating issues)
- Referrals to other programs and services
The program is administered by the Department for Children and Families’ Office of Economic Opportunity. Services are delivered through five community partners:
- Capstone Community Action (central Vermont)
- Champlain Valley Weatherization
- Community Action in Southwestern Vermont
- Northeast Employment and Training Organization
- Southeastern Vermont Community Action
August 14, 2016 will mark the 40th anniversary of the National Weatherization Program. The program’s original mission still guides the program today.
For more information about the Weatherization Program and how to apply, go to http://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/weatherization or call (802) 241-0943.