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Stimulus $$$ Giving NM a "Three-fer" Through Weatherization Funding Boost

April 6, 2009

Albuquerque, NM - New Mexico homes that are twice as energy-efficient, more jobs for New Mexicans and less dependence on foreign energy sources. That's the "three-for-one" deal playing out across the state with federal economic stimulus funds, which are giving a big boost to home weatherization programs.

Kira Jones with Community Action New Mexico says the stimulus funds will basically double the amount that can be spent on weatherization for a single home. She says that means being able to finish the job in homes that need the most help in becoming efficient.

"The weatherizers will likely not have to walk away from even a furnace replacement, a hot water heater replacement or a refrigerator replacement, etc."

She says the extra weatherization funding is expected to create dozens of new jobs in the state - and that doesn't count the contractors and subcontractors who will perform much of the in-home work.

Opponents criticize the stimulus spending as wasteful in a time of massive deficits, but Jones sees it as an opportunity to demonstrate how a consistently high level of funding for the program can create jobs and stimulate the economy through energy savings over the long run.

Many people think of weatherization as simply applying caulk and putting plastic on windows, but Jones says these days it's a very high-tech process that modernizes homes with the latest in energy-efficiency advances.

"It's a very extensive process. It's pretty impressive to go out with a weatherization crew and see what's actually happening."

More information on weatherization programs is available at local community action agencies or through the state Mortgage Finance Authority.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - NM