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New Jobs and Warm Homes: Ohio Leads in Weatherization

January 25, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeye State leads the nation with more than 23,000 homes weatherized through stimulus funding, according to the Department of Energy.

Tom Baer, field activities director of Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, says the program is doing more than just warming homes.

"It benefits job creation, skills development for folks to get jobs. It helps low-income people, it benefits the environment, it decreases our dependence on foreign oil. It's really a win-win situation."

Nationally, more than 300,000 homes have been weatherized and 15,000 jobs created through the program - including 1,000 new jobs in Ohio. States are now more than halfway toward meeting President Obama's goal of weatherizing approximately 600,000 homes under the Recovery Act. Ohio is two-thirds of the way to its goal.

Ohio's weatherization program has been around for more than three decades, and Baer says his organization was ready to hit the ground running when stimulus funding became available. He says Ohioans can be proud of the success of the program.

"It saves an average customer in Ohio $400 a year on their energy bills, so it's very beneficial to those folks that really are having the hardest time dealing with the cold weather."

A Republican group in Congress, chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio's 4th District, recently unveiled a bill that would eliminate weatherization grants and cut other environmental programs. Opponents of that action say weatherization is helping the economy and is one of the most cost-effective government-run programs.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH