U.S. Department of Energy Awards $2.23 Million for Home Weatherization in Nebraska
In July 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a grant of $2,231,477 in weatherization funds to the Nebraska Energy Office to make energy efficiency improvements in homes of low-income families.
The Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program in Nebraska typically makes home improvements such as adding wall and attic insulation, checking the safety and energy efficiency of furnaces, stoves and water heaters, and, in some cases, replacing furnaces with more efficient ones. To find the most cost-effective improvements, the weatherization program performs energy audits.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for every dollar spent, weatherization returns $1.53 in energy savings over the life of the improvements, which typically last 20 years or longer. Nationally, weatherization can reduce an average home’s energy costs by $358 annually. Other benefits of weatherization include increased housing affordability, increased property values, job creation, lower owner and renter turnover and reduced fire risks.
Income Guidelines Adjusted
To receive free home weatherization services, applicants must meet certain federally-established income guidelines based on family size. Income guidelines are adjusted annually. To receive weatherization services, the threshold for a single person household is $15,315, and rises to $51,855 for a household with eight people. A household is also eligible for weatherization services if it contains a member receiving Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
To find the nearest office to apply for weatherization services, check the map for all locations in the state’s 93 counties.
Nearly 1,300 Homes
Last year, the Energy Office weatherized 1,292 homes, many of which are occupied by elderly Nebraskans. After weatherization improvements in a home, energy costs are reduced by approximately 25 percent according to an Energy Office analysis.
On average, Americans spend 5 percent of their income on paying energy bills, but for lower-income households energy bill costs average 16 percent. These costs can include anything from heating and cooling their homes to running the lights, refrigerators and other appliances that need electricity.
Since the federal weatherization program began in 1979, $98.2 million has been spent to make energy efficiency improvements in 58,468 homes in the state. An estimated 52,000 homes remain eligible for these services.