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Collins, Reed, and Colleagues Renew Bipartisan Effort to Help More American Households Save Energy and Money Through Weatherization

To help Americans struggling with rising energy prices, bipartisan bill offers enhanced federal aid for home energy upgrades

Washington, D.C. – In an effort to make more homes energy efficient and help residents save on their utility bills, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Weatherization Assistance Program Improvements Act.  This bipartisan bill seeks to improve public health and lower household energy costs by bolstering the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which covers home weatherization, window replacement, sealing air leaks, ventilation improvements, and other key energy-saving measures. 

The bill would authorize a Weatherization Readiness Fund to help those in need repair structural issues and prepare homes for weatherization assistance, increasing the number of homes the program is able to serve. In the FY23 Appropriations bill, $30M was appropriated for the Weatherization Readiness Fund. It also seeks to raise the amount of funding allowed to be spent on each home to keep up with current labor and material costs, and it would raise the cap on the amount of funding allowed to be spent on renewable energy upgrades in each home.  These provisions are essential updates to a program that has helped so many families over the past few decades.

Since 1976, the Weatherization Assistance Program has helped more than 7.4 million low-income families reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.  The U.S Department of Energy estimates that these upgrades help each household save $372 in energy bills annually. 

In addition to saving families money, energy efficient homes also help cut down on our carbon footprint, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. 

“The Weatherization Assistance Program is a proven, cost-effective way to permanently reduce energy usage and cut low-income Americans’ energy bills for the long term,” said Senator Collins.  “Energy efficiency projects also protect the environment, increase energy independence, and create jobs.  Our commonsense bill would help build on the significant investments we have secured for the Weatherization Assistance Program so that more Americans will be able to make improvements that will allow them to affordably heat their homes.”

“This bipartisan, cost-effective bill is about saving families and taxpayers money, cutting air pollution, and generating good-paying clean-energy jobs.  Our proposal would save families in need real money on their energy bills while also benefitting the U.S. economy, environment, and public health.  It would help reduce demand on energy grids nationwide which helps keep utility rates lower.  By expanding the program to include critical home repairs, we can alleviate economic hardship, address healthy housing disparities, and improve energy efficiency for those households who need it most,” said Senator Reed.

An independent study of the Weatherization Assistance Program by Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that children in weatherized households miss less school, improving educational outcomes.  Adults miss less work, increasing both their own incomes and their contributions to the economy.  Families also reported experiencing fewer flu and cold symptoms and emergency room visits, decreasing costly medical expenses.

The Weatherization Assistance Program also helps boost our economy.  The program supports over 8,500 jobs for energy experts and contractors while increasing our national economic output by $1.2 billion.

Senators Collins and Reed spearheaded the bipartisan effort to include $3.5 billion in WAP funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Click here to read the full bill text.