A little weatherproofing can save a lot of money in colder weather. (October 18, 2010 / WRDW-TV)
TOPEKA -- Kansas has reached a major milestone under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) - completing weatherization work for more than 50 percent of the homes the state planned to weatherize. As of November 24th, weatherization providers completed more than 3,000 homes with Recovery Act funding.
During ceremonies at Townsite Apartments in Burlingame and Westkan Apartments in Liberal, officials with Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) reported weatherization providers are upgrading homes at the network's optimal rate.
"We've hit the accelerator on the weatherization program, and as of today, have made 3,053 homes more energy efficient," said Gary Allsup, KHRC's Executive Director. "We're moving full speed ahead to meet our original target of weatherizing 5,820 units statewide," said Allsup.
Congress allocated $56 million to Kansas from the Recovery Act to complete weatherization services by 2012. The state also receives annual weatherization funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP). Combining ARRA with traditional funding from 2009 and 2010, weatherization providers have completed a total of 4,561 homes, well ahead of DOE performance goals.
State Representative William Prescott says the Recovery Act was intended to fund critical repair and rehabilitation projects and the weatherization program fits this requirement. "Weatherization fulfills not just a want, but a true need. It improves livability and comfort, and the monthly energy savings will pay off substantially over the long term," said Prescott.
Mayor Ray Hovestadt from the City of Burlingame says the energy upgrades completed at Townsite Apartments helped both the property and the community. "Weatherizing the apartments made the units more comfortable and energy efficient, but it's also drawn people back to Burlingame. We're happy to see the complex filling up with new residents," said Hovestadt.
Kansas' efforts are contributing to the success of the weatherization program nationally. The Department of Energy recently announced the number of homes completed by the end of the year could top 300,000 units. In regards to job creation, DOE estimates the weatherization program supported more than 13,000 jobs in the second quarter of 2010, including 113 jobs in Kansas.
Regulations allow per-home cost of repairs and improvements to reach $6,500. However, Kansas providers are currently averaging $5,375 per home. Due to this efficiency in service, KHRC now expects to weatherize 1,054 more homes than originally estimated or a total of 6,875 units, nearly 20 percent over initial projections.
In Liberal, weatherization providers upgraded Westkan's 110 units at a cost of $775,128. In Burlingame, 50 apartments were completed at a cost of $250,817. Repairs included installing new heating and cooling systems, water heaters, windows and Energy Star appliances such as refrigerators.
Weatherization provides housing improvements that increase energy efficiency in income-eligible, single- or multi-family dwellings, including manufactured homes. Local community action agencies administer the weatherization program on behalf o KHRC. Services may include weather-stripping and/or caulking around windows and doors; cleaning, testing, repairs or replacement of heating and/or cooling systems; refrigerator testing and possible replacement; adding insulation to walls, ceilings or foundation areas; infiltration reduction and addressing indoor air quality issues.
For more information about the Weatherization Assistance Program, contact KHRC at 1-800-752-4422. Kansas Housing Resources Corporation is a public corporation that finances and develops affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate-income residents throughout Kansas.