April Newsletter 4, 2012 Volume 4, Issue 5

4, 2012 Volume 4, Issue 5

The Weatherization PLUS Newsletter

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

Top Story

The ACI White Paper: A Blunt Assessment of the Home Performance Industry’s Future

Home performance practitioners’ approach is focused on "making homes healthier, safer, more affordable, durable, comfortable and energy efficient." However, "we need a stronger vision and mission, not just for ACI but for the entire industry." These observations are in the courageous and intelligent white paper, The Home Performance Industry: Road Map to a Sustainable Future, by the leaders of Affordable Comfort Institute (ACI). It certainly does not sugar-coat the present state of the private home performance industry.

The paper points out that many government and utility programs developed to motivate homeowners to purchase energy services, yet "many of these programs are short-term and administratively difficult for contractors and homeowners." Further, where energy efficiency incentives or requirements are absent, home performance market demand is also missing.

It identifies unfinished paths as in "recent efforts by the U.S. Department of Labor to support green job training programs (in which) subsidized workforce education has prepared many Home Performance workers for non-existent jobs."

"Thus, expedience and indecision – but not malice – have conspired to keep the industry and ACI from undertaking the changes necessary to integrate its assets, achieve better alignment of incentives, and dramatically improve the Home Performance industry." -ACI

Taking the position that there isn’t much more time to either "make it or break it," ACI prescribes a new strategic development approach and lays out tough choices among options. All of us connected to the industry and the policies that sustain it should take the time to read and consider the "Blue Sky" five-year strategic plan.

What do you hope for from in the Home Performance arena? How should the nation and the industry move forward now?

Please visit our Facebook page to comment on the paper and to discuss our upcoming posts of some of the major challenges it articulates for workers, entrepreneurs and program leaders.


Weatherization Assistance in 2013

US House and Senate Bills were reported by the respective Appropriations Committees this week. Both fund next year’s DOE program at far less than its pre-ARRA size. Weatherization advocates say that final Congressional decisions will probably come after the elections but before the start of the Weatherization Program Year.

2013
House Appropriations Committee: $54.6 million
Senate Appropriations Committee: $139 million
[Administration Budget Request]: $139 million

Follow the progress of this legislation at www.ncaf.org. See the chart below to compare historic and current DOE funding to these proposals.


(Download the chart HERE.)


New WAP Guidelines for Disaster Relief and FPG

DOE posted two policy notices last month. They provide additional guidance on two issues: disaster resources with WAP resources and the FPG update. WPN 12-7 (Disaster Planning and Relief) reduces the scope of activities for which agencies are allowed to claim expenses during disaster relief as compared to WPN 08-5.

DOE uses debris removal as an example. Under WPN 08-5 the cost of debris removal for an entire low income area impacted by disaster could be an allowable expense under a grantee’s health and safety or incidental repair cost budget. The new guidance states that this expense should be restricted to only dwelling units that are eligible for weatherization or re-weatherization. DOE now directs local and state agencies to re-examine the disaster relief components in their WAP and in their community disaster response plans and revise them accordingly. States and agencies should also discuss these provisions with their emergency planners to enable them to re-write the WAP provisions in their respective plans.

WPN 12-8 (2012 Poverty Income Guidelines and Definition of Income) replaces the previous year’s Guidance WPN 11-5. The maximum eligible income remains at 200 percent of the poverty guideline (see 10 CFR 440.3). States may still use information generated through LIHEAP applications and HUD rent rolls, for example, to meet income eligibility criteria. The new FPG represents approximately a 1% increase in income.


Opportunities

Create Content and Game Formats for Your Training

Use the DOE-funded Tools; Test Them Now!

Use the National Training and Resource Center (NTER) tool which can be learned by anyone with moderate computer skills and build an online training module for any purpose. Some possibilities: online testing for weatherization workers, a suite of typical paperwork tasks that administrative staff must use in your programs, Or embed a wide range of uploaded files in each existing module such as documents, spreadsheets, power point, audio and video.

Watch the one hour presentation for the WAP Trainers’ Consortium, and then play with the tool; the estimated time to learn the tool is 4 hours.

Help DOE Get Multifamily Work Specifications RIGHT While There’s Still Time

The comment period for Multifamily Standard Work Specifications (SWS) is open through a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) portal until 5/4/2012. The Department of Energy is eager for Weatherization professionals with experience in multifamily applications to review the proposed specs and to offer their insights and comments. Download the proposed standards.


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:

» ACI on the Home Performance Industry
» 2013 W.A.P. Appropriations
» Disaster Relief and FPG Guidance 

Getting Started on "Leveraging"

Leveraging is using the resources of the program and its organizations, such as people, time, skills, good reputation and funding, to attract more complementary resources.

Are you just starting your leveraging efforts? WeatherizationPlus.org has many resources to get you started:

NEW: Why We Leverage – A podcast with Steve Payne

Leveraging Basics

Utility Leveraged Programs

Housing Finance-Related Tools

Fee-for-Service Weatherization Enterprise

‘Green’ Technology Resources

What leveraging tools should our (free) webinars offer to help you? Write us here.

Green Jobs Connection

BPI, in partnership with  NCAF and NASCSP, has created a Green Jobs Connection site where employers can seek BPI-certified workers to join their teams.

American Job Center

The American Job Center is not fully up and running yet, but the administration has begun aggregating some resources for individuals and employers. This resource may become increasingly helpful as Weatherization workers become displaced.

Quick Resources

NCAF and Efficiency First Webinar: Marketing Home Performance Services to Earn Agency Income: "Weatherization to Home Performance: Tools and Tips for Delivering For-Profit Business" is the title of this recorded webinar featuring community action and private home performance experts. Follow this 94-min. conversation among experts on the similarities and differences between delivering WAP and succeeding in the private residential retrofit market. Especially useful for those considering a fee-for-service enterprise. The webinar is 1:34 hour long and can be accessed free.

2012 DOE WAP Orientation presentations: available on WAPTAC

2012 NASCSP Mid-Winter Conference Presentations: available on WAPTAC

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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."

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