|February, 2013 Volume 5, Issue 1|
Unresolved: Is Weatherization Shrinking or Vanshing?
As most state and community programs puzzle over the consequences of the across-the-board cut that becomes effective this week, weatherizers remain in the dark over whether the April Fools’ Day PY 2013 start date means just $62 million wil be available for state allocations. That figure is about 30% of pre-ARRA 2008 level. The uncertainty may not be resolved until the end of March, as Congress is not moving spending Bills during today’s “cliff” standoff and is not required to act until the 6-month Continuing Resolution containing the low WAP figure expires at the end of March.
There is some hope appropriators will rearrange this part of the next funding bill because of the Energy Department’s active, now-public appeal to Congress asserting that the rationale about ‘leftover’ prior year funds is a fiction. Assistant Secretary Danielson gave this interview to an energy newsletter 10 days ago making the basic case for the President’s requested Budget.
Nevertheless, the President’s Request for PY 2013 was $139 Million, just over 60% of 2008 funds.
Both national organizations with WAP on their agenda, NASCSP and NCAF, will be bringing members to the Capitol in the next 10 days to make the case for a robust Weatherization program. You can follow developments here, and find local leadership advocacy material online over the coming days.
WAP Multifamily Housing Challenges? EOS Online Peer Discussions May Find You Answers
EOS has initiated two online Multifamily Weatherization Peer Discussions. These small groups (15 attendees max) offer local Weatherizers an opportunity to exchange ideas about working in the multifamily sector. Our peer discussion format is more brainstorming than lecturing. The challenges that emerged include:
What basic program challenges did you overcome in your multifamily WAP? How?
How do you get every client to sign all the paper so that the entire building can be weatherized?
How do you get landlords to participate?
What is the most attractive benefit for the owners? What are the best incentives? Is there a market that will self-finance a joint project?
What are some of the key partnerships and resources that made projects work?
Speakers were: Peter Wingate, Community Action of the Franklin, Hampshire, and North Quabbin Regions, Greenfield, MA on 1/10/13, and Chere Coleman, Michigan CAA Association on 1/14/13.
Weatherization 2013 Guidance: New and Evolving Elements
In the newest Program Guidance, the DOE Office of Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs delivers a monumental clean-up job intended to consolidate all guidance that is still in effect. It contains a chart ‘cross-walking’ users to prior detailed program notices that elaborate on specific topics. It’s a keeper.
These are the changes to simplify the program:
Multifamily Unit Requirements
More Public Input to State Plans
Changes NOT Made [keeping the program simpler]:
More change ahead?
What to do right now? Urge your State colleagues to set up the two-stage input process for the 2013 plan. Re-think how you want to do multifamily units now that no specialized audit tool is required.
Review this and email us your views about these updates, the questions you would like DOE to answer – we’ll post comments and we’ll try to get answers to share with our entire network.
Changes Ahead for Home Performance with Energy Star
The Department of Energy is announcing its plans for the next two phases of Home Performance with Energy Star in a report based on recommendations from sponsors and stakeholders in 2012. This could signal a moment of opportunity for some Weatherizers, many of whom are currently receiving training and undergoing testing for the new Home Energy Professional certifications. It introduces HPwES® “v1.5”, a ‘transition’ framework created to clarify and standardize the disparate approaches to auditing, diagnostic and reporting methodologies; work scopes and quality assurance protocols that sponsors used in the “v 1.0” phase.
The DOE goal is that the program changes during the v.1.5 period and adopts a long-term “v2.0” design. V2.0 will mean expansion and open the program to a broader network of home performance companies and practitioners.
Third party quality assurance is a major element of HPwES® of the future; as more sponsors become involved in the program, this growing demand could lead to market-rate business opportunities for Weatherization agencies. They could become contractors for intake, audit and inspection services as well as for installation work. WAP Trainer’s Consortium has already made an impact on the HPwES program’s technical specifications by taking the lead in reviewing ASHRAE 62.2 in the summer of 2012. DOE program managers expect that the material developed under that review process will form the basis for incorporating ASHRAE 62.2 in all federal residential building programs.
For more specific information to help you anticipate the market and its opportunities check out the full report.
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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