|4, 2012 Volume 4, Issue 5|
The Weatherization PLUS Newsletter
Economic Opportunity Studies, Inc. | www.weatherizationplus.org
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."
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.
Follow the progress of this legislation at www.ncaf.org. See the chart below to compare historic and current DOE funding to these proposals.
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.
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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