|September, 2013 Volume 5, Issue 4|
DOE’s New Program & Policies Mean Stricter Weatherization Standards
Two meetings -1) a DOE forum in late July to describe new WAP Quality Assurance policies with every state and territory invited to send a delegation and 2) the NASCSP meeting which ended 9/13 in Phoenix – focused on new proposed policies and standards and implementation issues. The drafts and other material sent to participants in the July meeting can be reviewed here and here. The WAP leadership team committed to a serious review of all the Denver meeting input and, in Phoenix, announced some changes as a result of that first meeting while also soliciting more discussion on the issues.
Aligning the Standard Work Specifications with practices in the field: Grantees are expected to use field manuals that incorporate the SWS into the tasks in the manual. Discussion: Many grantees doubted they have the resources to update their field manuals by day 1 of PY 2014.
DOE response: a webinar in October [date TBA] will provide initial help with modifications and additions to field manuals, and regional field guides remain DOE’s preferred tools. The deadline is firm but DOE is open to ideas on flexibility and still taking input from the network.
Requiring final inspections for 2015 and later be performed by Inspectors/QA professionals who have a Home Energy Professional Certification AND who have not worked on the home in any capacity. Concerns included:
• the logistics of shared or contract inspectors who travel between inspections, the timing of inspections- more are needed at the end of a month.
• arrangements for ensuring staff inspectors are never part of the jobs they inspect and of ensuring their independence, and
• requiring a GED in order to take the certification exams, which the network agencies fear will disqualify current experts who have the needed skills. In Phoenix the WAP team announced DOE has won agreement from the certifying body to drop the GED requirement.
Requiring the curriculum of weatherization-funded training to teach the new SWS. Concerns primarily focused on the cost of training, the impact the cost and the delay may have on production and on possible delays in DOE approval of grantees’ changes in training and trainers who deliver it.
DOE response: Grantees may request the full 20% TTA funding allowed by statute with good justification; lower production is OK for these transition years.
Fred Stratton… On Leaving the Weatherization Partnerships Project
Recently I completed a move and journey from Nashville, Tennessee where I lived for nearly 21 years back to my hometown Prineville, Oregon. Grateful to have been offered a job and interesting work for longer than I had planned-I am now trying to figure out how a retirement-of-sorts has turned into a gazillion DIY projects!
On our drive to Oregon I thought about the paradox of sustaining a program that has a long and proven track record of success but has been besieged by naysayers and others who believe their institutions can make better use of WAP funding. I was reminded of other paradoxes on our journey out West. Near the Nebraska-Wyoming border I caught sight of an oil derrick in the foreground of a wind turbine. It reminded me that we are in a paradoxical world where we need renewable energy even as we exhaust our supplies of fossil fuels. A short time later we stopped to rest a moment in Sinclair, Wyoming. The view of Sinclair-an industrial oil town- looks like something out of a science fiction movie. The next day while crossing the border into Idaho one of the first billboard signs we saw was: Don’t be sWINDdled by Clean Energy! apparently paid for by an industry group opposing wind development in the state.
I think that the efforts on the part of WAP leaders and workers to (paradoxically) fight harder and smarter for WAP despite reduced funding levels sure beats calling it quits and folding on a badly dealt hand.
But reality bites hard. I have spoken with agency employees from around the country who have gladly shared their leveraging stories with me. These efforts are not a cakewalk. The real paradox is that millions of low income households still need the help of WAP and its well-trained workforce.
I want to extend my thanks to the many of you who helped me contribute to the Leveraging Project. If I could capture your experience, skill and wisdom I’d bottle it and sell it -not with an exotic title – but simply labeled “Good Stuff!” Thanks again to all of you.
I know that I will continue to be interested in, hopeful for, and endeared by your good works. Please feel free to stay in touch with me through my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Best of luck! God bless.
Multifamily Webinar Recordings Now Available
EOS held a webinar on August 15th that focused on weatherizing USDA owned or assisted multifamily properties. We were joined on the call by Carla Potts, Deputy Director for Home Development and Grants for NECAC in Missouri, and Laurence Anderson, former director of USDA multifamily housing programs. An audio recording of the discussion can be found here.
On July 11th we were also fortunate to have Jennifer Somers present a webinar that outlined DOE’s New Suite of Multifamily Weatherization Tools. A video recording of that presentation can be seen here.
EOS Team Gets Charged Up at the March for Jobs and Justice
[We have asked Yajun Li, MPP, our summer Associate from China for this impression of the anniversary event. For EOS, it was the catalyst for Community Action and made our work and that of most of our subscribers possible.]
I learned Dr. King’s "I Have a Dream" speech in my English class in China about ten years ago. What I remembered most was his use of rhetorical devices. I feel thrilled to be part of the 50th anniversary march and to witness how Dr. King’s speech keeps inspiring change and progress for this nation. President Obama mentions that the economic justice is an unfinished business of the civil rights battle. He reinforces the notion that the doors of opportunity should be open for everyone. Dr. King’s dream is still alive today. America is in pursuit of the dream and there should be more practical doers to carry on his legacy.
Left to Right: Tom Halloran, Yajun Li, Madiana Mustapaha.
See more pictures from the march on our Facebook page.
Yajun Li is moving on to contribute as a “practical doer” at Association for Energy Affordability in New York City. We wish her success on all continents!
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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