January Newsletter 1, 2011 Volume 3, Issue 1

1, 2011 Volume 3, Issue 1

The Weatherization PLUS Newsletter

Economic Opportunity Studies, Inc.  |  www.weatherizationplus.org

Top Story

Holidays or Not? DOE Delivered Many Policy Packages

In the Past Three Weeks, Three Weatherization Program Notices and One Memo Announced

  1. PY 2011 Guidance (WPN 11-01) including the most important risk elements that DOE will monitor as identified in recent Inspector General Reports:
    • Subgrantee invoicing (requirements for contractors and record-keeping for state inspection)
    • Subgrantee cost allocation, especially administrative and program support
    • Eligibility documentation
    • Changes for post-completion investments (see item #2 below)
    • The formula distribution, which will be the same as for 2010, i.e. without a performance-based component. Notice that there will be more guidance "in the near future" about how the voluntary National (work) Standards for Weatherization, written for the entire industry, will apply to the W.A.P. itself.
  2. The call-back spending restrictions (WPN 11-03) that will apply to units weatherized with ARRA or regular funds after next Monday, January 10. The establishment of this start date is a significant improvement over earlier communications suggesting retroactive application. Read the notice carefully; there is no flexibility in the definition of what constitutes spending after the unit has been declared a completion. The notice does detail the cumbersome reporting procedures for de-listing a unit once deemed complete, re-treating it, and the re-listing it as a contemporary completion.
  3. Details on qualifying the eligibility of multifamily buildings (WPN 11-04) that are important to understand. Multifamily homes’ priority gets new emphasis. State plans that exclude multifamily may not be approved. Multifamily buildings may meet the high energy users’ priority. This guidance especially applies to "whole building " treatment and points out the requirements would not be met by weatherizing one or two units in a large multifamily building.

Federal home inspection contractor starts up – The memo from DOE announces the contract for Quality Assurance Services, aka inspecting 30,000 Weatherized ARRA homes’ records. The Institute for Building Technology and Safety will provide BPI-certified professional home inspectors who will be trained in W.A.P. procedures and regulations before they sample client files at state offices and schedule site visits. Every subgrantee can expect at least one visit. EOS staff has been told that the risk items in #1 above are the primary focus of the inspections.


New EPA Healthy Homes Protocols Expected January 7

EPA has developed Healthy Indoor Environment Protocols for Home Energy Upgrades for the retrofit industry as a whole to be released tomorrow. The Protocols are the Administration’s companion document to DOE’s Workforce Guidelines for Home Energy Upgrades. Checklists and forms address mold, moisture, radon and ventilation and will be available with the final Protocols. EPA has announced it will make a concerted effort to see that the protocols are implemented by federal agencies and encouraged by state governments and utilities.

Health and safety issues are treated differently in the Protocols from the way W.A.P. addresses them. EPA has stated that the Protocols offer "a more complete set of core competencies" compared to "standard practices today." For instance lead is an EPA priority issue (not be confused with a Weatherization priority list!) in the Protocols and the actions taken under the EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule compliance rule are only a minimum. Also, EPA recommends applying HUD’s lead-safe rehabilitation practices for projects over $5,000. These would require more time and cost than current lead-safe W.A.P.


Healthy Homes Report Says Weatherization Program Changes Needed

Changes in the way W.A.P. services are delivered were recommended in a recent report by The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) of The Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning. The GHHI report is based on survey responses from a dozen local Weatherization service providers about how many eligible homes were deferred for Health and Safety hazards, the types of Health and Safety hazards found, and the skills of W.A.P. personnel. Some results surprised many. For instance, the percentage of walk-aways was high. One urban agency reported as many as 64% of houses assessed are not treatable.

The recommendations for overcoming the major barriers include these three and more:

  • "A unified minimum green and healthy housing standard for all federally supported housing interventions should be adopted." The standard isn’t spelled out in this report. The new protocols will not be "standards."
  • Insufficient W.A.P. funding for needed repairs: 15% of W.A.P. funds should be the minimum threshold rather than the ceiling for Health and Safety investments.
  • Because W.A.P. agencies lack "capacity to track and manage [Health and Safety] data," new analytic and reporting tools should be added to W.A.P. assessment protocols and audits.

EOS’s Project staff is following the national dialogue on Green and Healthy Homes that involves the advocacy community, GHHI, EPA, HUD, and now DOE/WAP. We hope to contribute to "fitting it all together" for Weatherizers. We would like to hear from you: please go to the Weatherization PLUS Facebook page, become our "friend," and tell us what resources you need to make homes healthier, how you would use them, and what you think the return on investment would be.


The Newsletter of Economic Opportunity Studies’ Weatherization PLUS Leveraging Partnership Project brings timely information about developments that expand the Weatherization Assistance Program to help your organization take advantage of emerging opportunities. Visit the Weatherization PLUS portal for more information.

Why You Are Receiving This Email
Your name is on a list of federal and state Weatherization Program contacts from W.A.P. conference attendance records. Of course, you may unsubscribe (see below). However, we hope you will help us add the names and addresses of all who may be interested. Our promise: 1) We do not share our list, and, 2) The newsletter will be sent only when there is useful material for weatherizers.

Specific questions? Opinions? Subjects we should cover in the future? Email us at:
energy_leveraging_news@opportunitystudies.org

In This Issue:

» New Policy Packages from DOE
» New Quality Assurance Inspectors
» EPA Healthy Homes Protocols
» Healthy Homes W.A.P. Recommendations

Weatherization

Weatherizers from Cincinnati-Hamilton Community Action Agency (@CincyCAA on Twitter)

Fast Fact

39% of eligible homes were built before 1962, making it necessary to review the historic status of more than a third of homes.

Are you a new W.A.P. worker or contractor? Tell us YOUR personal W.A.P. story at our survey page, and we will build a national network of successful W.A.P. recruits.

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Our Project Staff:

Meg Power
Project Manager

Fred Stratton
Project Coordinator

Eli Nesson
Information Manager

Disclaimer: "This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof."

 

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