|09, 2009 Volume 1, Issue 4|
The Weatherization PLUS Newsletter
Economic Opportunity Studies, Inc. | www.weatherizationplus.org
WAP ARRA Funds Reaching American Families
Local weatherizers used ARRA weatherization funding for production in August and September. In most states, the pace of work is even faster than in the summer, when agencies were using other funding to tighten up more homes than ever.
Two More Bumps Along Recovery Road
1) Tall Apartment Buildings
Buildings taller than five stories may not be weatherized with ARRA as planned. Davis-Bacon regulations require paying the commercial labor rates, not residential labor rates, for work on these buildings. This means many major measures would not be cost-effective when tested by the required Savings-to-Investment ratio. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done about this statutory requirement.
One solution: Weatherize those units with non-ARRA funds.
2) Historic Preservation Rules
Homes 50 years old or older are covered under the National Historic Preservation Act. This means a waiver is needed from the state or local historic preservation office before work can proceed on each address. This slows down weatherization production. While DOE officials are seeking a national fix, the problem will most likely have to be solved at the state level.
Good news: Some states have figured out solutions to this problem. Arkansas’s and Washington state’s models exempts WAP jobs that will not change their exterior of the unit.
WAP ARRA Reporting Begins at Lightning Speed; Support Your Administrators!
States will report the official figures on the homes and jobs paid for by Recovery Act funds to the federal government on October 10. These figures cover March through September and will be released to the public three weeks later. This unprecedented turnaround means all staff in all agencies must be very, very kind to the office team that collects your reports for the next week. They need your understanding and sympathy, as do the understaffed state offices!
State and Federal Managers, Experts Confab in Twin Cities
At the National Association for State Community Services Programs conference, participants heard from representatives from the Departments of Energy, Health and Human Services, and Labor. Discussions focused on such as:
More Reports from Weatherizers
Gil Sperling, explained that DOE is waiting for permission from the Office of Management and Budget to increase WAP program reporting from quarterly to monthly so as to tell our dynamic story in "real time."
If approved, DOE will put out more guidance in regards to monthly reporting requirements on the DOE site. EOS will be following these developments closely and will post updated information on our own website: www.opportunitystudies.org/arra.
Picking Up the Production Pace in 2010
Sperling also asked states to re-visit their approved plans and set more ambitious monthly production targets from now until March 31, 2011, with the goal of having minimal funds remaining in 2011 and 2012.
Expanding the Department of Energy Staff
OWIP’s Sperling also announced that more than 60 new federal staffers would join the two Project Management Centers and DC headquarters offices.
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.
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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."