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Federal Dollars Insulate Weatherization Projects from Budgetary Chill

January 4, 2010

LYNCHBURG, Va. - Federal funds originally destined for bank bailouts are now heading to weatherization projects like the ones run by the Lynchburg Community Action Group. Tom Daniel, the group's vice president and housing director, says that weatherization goes beyond replacing windows and insulating attics.

"We use very detailed technology that tests out the house in terms of air movement and in terms of how how the heating system works in the house."

The weatherization program reviews the entire home, he adds.

"We do a lot of work on inefficient and old-type heating systems or systems that are unsafe and see how the heating system works in the house."

Daniel says 22 different Virginia community agencies now have weatherization programs, thanks to the influx of federal funds. The dollars come with increased oversight on the efficiency and quality of the work. Nationwide, the federal government is providing $5 billion in weatherization over the next few years. For every $1 spent, $2.72 is saved in energy costs, Daniel says.

According to the Obama Administration, by this time next year half a million homes will have received efficiency upgrades.

Daniel says the increased federal funding lets him add more middle-income families to the program.

"Health and safety measures take place, too. Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors are installed, also various repairs to the electrical systems. Sometimes we're able to do a roof system and that kind of thing."

The Obama Administration says homes and office buildings account for 40 percent of the nation's energy use.

More information is available from the Lynchburg Community Action Group, 434-846-2778 or www.lyncag.org.

Aries Keck, Public News Service - VA