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Stimulus Recap: Ohio Weatherization Agencies Get the Job Done

PHOTO: Weatherization worker. Courtesy of Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy.
PHOTO: Weatherization worker. Courtesy of Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy.
September 18, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It's been a busy three years for Ohio's weatherization network, since federal stimulus dollars were released to expand the Weatherization Assistance Program. Fast action by agencies resulted in the weatherization of more than 40,000 houses in the state, about 15 percent more than initially planned.

Tom Calhoun, housing programs manager with the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development, says the state had a good basis in place to hit the ground running.

"Ohio's had a very strong weatherization program since the 1980s. And we were one of the few states to also have a training center, so we were more prepared for this than others."

Stimulus funds were used to expand the infrastructure to train weatherization workers across the state, and more than 800 jobs were created.

Calhoun says weatherization can make a house, on average, about 25 percent more energy-efficient. He says that can have a tremendous impact on day-to-day life.

"Not only are their homes safer, they're more energy-efficient, their fuel bills are lower and on average we can decrease fuel bills by about $400 a year."

Ohio has spent the majority of its $266 million in recovery act funds; the rest will be used by March. The state has been nationally recognized by the Department of Energy and by Congress for leading the country in home weatherization.

Nationwide, the Home Weatherization Program helped 500,000 low-income families make their homes more comfortable and energy-efficient.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH