Your application must be with the agency that provides weatherization service to your county. Each agency has it's own unique application process and paperwork, although the requirements are generally the same. To get started with the application process locate your weatherization provider agency here.
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has been in existence for many years, but has been restricted to a much smaller eligibile group, based on the federal poverty tables. This is the first time it has been funded so heavily, as part of the stimulus American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and while the Weatherization Assistance Program still uses the national poverty level tables, it is used at 200% or below.
The U.S. Department of Energy, did a study in 2002 which showed that the results from participants in this program saved around 32% on their energy costs. The EERE Weatherization Assistance Program website offers a graph of their results.
Begin by locating your WAP provider agency, Agency Locator
Some agencies offer a downloadable application from their web site, others prefer to speak with you first and will set an appointment. You may also stop by in person at your providing agency to pick up an application.
Each agency has their own applications, so it's important to make sure you have contacted the correct agency for your county.
In addition to the income eligibility requirements, an audit of your home must show a potential for improvement through weatherization procedures. Most older homes that have not been weatherized are eligible. Because preference is given to families with the most need, the results of your audit will be important both to the approval as well as the scheduling.
Some states use a modified version of the national guidelines, and some states even vary the income qualifications according to county. Check with your local agency to be sure you fit within the guidelines for your locale. Some states give allowances on top of the guidelines making the requirements less stringent, and both Alaska and Hawaii have higher income limits because the cost of living is generally agreed to be higher in those states. Preference is given to families with the most need, as determined the weatherization provider agency, so qualifying by income alone is not always enough. Contact your county's providing agency for additional qualifications currently in effect, if any.
There is no simple answer to these questions.
When evaluating program eligibility, some agencies use before-tax income for qualification,
while other agencies consider after-tax income. Likewise, your eligibility may depend on your gross income,
your net income, or some other income measurement. Each agency uses the same 2009 federal 200% over poverty
guidelines for eligibility purposes, but may define income in slightly different ways. To find out the specific methods
used to calculate income (before-tax, after-tax, and so on) for weatherization qualification, you'll need to consult the office
or agency that administrates the weatherization program for your county.
The Weatherization Assistance Program provides energy conservation improvements to your home at no cost to you.
These measures may include insulation for the attic, sidewall and floors, weather strip sealing around the doors and windows,
roof repairs, installation of compact flourescent light bulbs, and other measure as determined by the energy auditor. Safety for the home is also evaluated and the installers may provide smoke alarms,
carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers.
An air blower audit is commonly performed to determine the best energy conservation measures
for decreasing energy costs.
Yes. As an example there is currently controversy over the use of compact flourescent bulbs.
They may not last as long as advertised, and the mercury content makes them difficult
to dispose of. Your weatherization auditor will go over all proposed improvements with you,
and you may at that time decline any item you have objection to.
Once you are approved your home will be given any weatherization steps that are determined to provide a significant return on investment. Your weatherization auditor is trained to make these determinations. Generally anything that will reduce your home's energy consumption will be done.
The agency and select contractors they work with perform the work, and no one is trying to sell you anything. If there are recommended steps beyond what the agency is willing to provide, you may persue those improvements on your own, but normally all beneficial upgrades are performed, so that this is not an issue.
Yes, in several ways. Because reduction of energy consumption on a national scale will help our economy, every family that takes steps to conserve energy helps. Also, the 2009 Weatherization Assistance Program has been greatly increased to not only conserve energy, but to provide more jobs in the energy sector. And lastly, lowering your personal bills will give you more discretionary income each month, helping commerce in your local area.
Typical home improvement categories that are unrelated to weatherization will not be evaluated, but in addition to weatherization your auditor will also evaluate home saftey, especially ensuring functional smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, (and because weatherizing can reduce air circulation in a home) carbon monoxide detectors.
Right now efforts are being taken to promote awareness. Lower income families can benefit the most from a lower energy bill, and older homes are also strong candidates for weatherization improvements. Agencies need to try to do the most good with the money they have been allocated, but they also need to move quickly, so any candidate that meets the guidelines is encouraged to apply at the earliest opportunity. If you or someone you know may qualify, follow up with your local agency and begin an application.
Actually yes, there are increased opportunities for employment as auditors, assistants, installers, as well as other positions.
These opportunities will usually be posted in traditional job listings so check those first, but you may also contact the weatherization agency serving your county or visit their web site to search for employment. Many positions require previous experience, but some opportunities include training, so if you have an interest contact your local providing agency.
As of this writing, most agencies have not yet recieved their stimulus money,
so if your county is served by a community action agency or other volunteer supported group,
you may want to consider participating in volunteer opportunities first, and watch for
paid positions as they become announced.
Typically no. While these sorts of decisions are often left to the providing agency, a common requirement along these lines is that for renters, the landlord must agree to not raise rents based on the upgrades, and that they must not raise rents for a certain restricted time frame following the weatherization process. This too, is usually up to the local agency, and any special limits they may have will be covered in the application process. Some States do require that you state that you have no intention of selling or moving within the next year. Wyoming for example has this.
That your home was weatherized under this program will be a matter of public record, but your private confidential information is not given out. The most common reference to the data on weatherized homes is for new applicants to verify their home has not already participated in this program. Additionally, some data is used for studies on the effectiveness of weatherization, and if you are asked to participaate in a study you may be asked to provide utility bill records following the weatherization for a before vs after comparison. Data collected in this way is used to compile statistics, but your specific information is not published. You can inquire with the specific weatherization provider agency to ask what data collected with your application is publicly available and how that information is used.
Anyone living there as their primary residence. All resident's incomes are considered as well, so two working parents or room mates with incomes will need to each submit their income verification documents. Children and non-working dependents are also considered household members and should be counted when referring to the eligibility tables.