Habitat for Humanity adds insulation to a The U.S. Department of Energy says it has picked about 120 organizations nationwide to receive roughly $120 million to help low-income families cut energy use and save money.

The money is going to local agencies and businesses to finance and install a variety of equipment, including tankless hot water systems, energy-efficient appliances and lighting, energy-monitoring devices, small wind turbines and solar electric systems, the DOE says.

"We want to make sure low-income folks get the benefits of innovative technologies and lower utility bills," says Cathy Zoi, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, during a press conference today.

Trying Out New Technology

The funding will allow the grant recipients to try out new technologies that don't currently meet the energy savings criteria established for the Weatherization Assistance Program, says Jen Stutsman, a DOE spokeswoman. The program's listed technologies have been around for a while and tend to focus more on insulating rooms, sealing air ducts and replacing old heating and cooling systems. The new technologies could use more real-world testing.

"We want to gather information to test whether they are cost-effective and [it] makes sense to make them available to the broader weatherization program," Stutsman says.

The weatherization program, which targets low-income residents, has been around since 1976, started in the wake of the October 1973-March 1974 Arab oil embargo that prompted the U.S. government to invest in technology development and installation programs to help consumers cut their use of electricity and heating oil.

Stimulus Package Boost

The weatherization program got a big funding boost last year when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated about $5 billion to weather-proof nearly 600,000 homes. Congress approved the act mainly to create jobs. Last quarter, the program helped to create 13,000 jobs, Zoi says.

Most of the $120 million announced today is coming from the stimulus package, with the rest coming from the program's regular annual budget. So far, the program has weatherized an average of about 25,000 homes per month, Zoi says. In June, more than 31,600 homes underwent the energy makeover, she adds (here is a state-by-state chart). Since 2009, New York has had more homes benefit from the program than any other state, followed by Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Of the $120 million, $90 million will go to 103 local government agencies, nonprofits and private businesses to install a variety of equipment for heating, cooling and lighting homes and for generating renewable electricity from solar, wind and geothermal sources (see list of awards).

Pilot Projects

Another $30 million will go to 16 pilot projects, including those that provide new financing options for these home improvements, launch education campaigns and test the use of energy monitoring devices to show consumers how much energy they use and help them find ways to reduce it (see list of awards). One project, located in New Hampshire, will focus on buying materials to weatherproof mobile homes.

Some projects come with a job-training component, such as the one to be carried out by Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit that organizes volunteers to build housing for low-income families.

Creating good education campaigns will be key to shaping consumers' energy use habits. A study published this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that consumers tend to overestimate the amount of energy they could save by turning off lights and driving less. At the same time, they place a lower value on actions that could lead to greater savings, such as using energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances and insulating their homes, possibly because those measures take more investment of time, money and effort.

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catski300

That is a ton of money to spend on fixing up you homes. You can complain or you can take advantage of this government's spending! Medicare............Failing Medicaid..................Failing Social Security.............Failing U.S. Post Office.................Failing Cash For Clunkers..............HUGE FAILURE Govt Run Insurance………..WHAT DO YOU THINK Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac......JUST ANOTHER FAILURE What did you get out of these programs? Probably nothing but you PAID DEARLY for them as well as your grandchildren will. Thanks Uncle Sam for taking a budget of 7 billion in 1940 and ballooning it into almost 12 trillon in 2010. I have set up a place that the poor and middle class in the country can start to get their fair share of the giveaways. It is our turn to have a piece of the action. Just google CASH TEACHER all one word or two...doesn't matter to get started. Click on the very first link and you are there...they are that good! Then you will find the ways to cash in. Go to the STOCKS and the MAKE MONEY ONLINE sections to see things that the corporate fat cats don't want us to know. You want to see how the rich do it...GO THERE

August 21 2010 at 9:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lil0102

revolution 2010 and 2012

August 20 2010 at 9:24 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
lil0102

you can paint a piece of junk green, call it a cute name, its still junk, this whole green energy lie is a hoax,

August 20 2010 at 9:22 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
bohemianacres

Decades ago I bought into this weatherization and energy efficient stuff. I replaced my entire house, except basement, of the more tech windows. Sure, I saved heating costs noticeable immediately. But 21 years later I had to buy new windows because of normal "wear and tear" of the weather. Did I save money? No. The cost of heating went up. There was inflation. Heating oil went through the roof in cost. I am so glad I am out of the house and renting. It is somebody else's problem now. To me it is just as MAD magazine said back in the 60's, here is a coupon 20 percent off our 40 percent mark up. What I really hope is that deflation does come. For me it can not come soon enough.

August 20 2010 at 9:20 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Robert & Lisa

Our government had a yearly deficit of 180 Billion when the Democrats took back over the congress. Now it is 1,300 Billion a year. When do you think the runaway inflation is going to hit?

August 20 2010 at 6:52 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
tstockski

It is good to see the world through a different set of eyes. You can complain or you can take advantage of this government's spending! Medicare............Failing Medicaid..................Failing Social Security.............Failing U.S. Post Office.................Failing Cash For Clunkers..............HUGE FAILURE Govt Run Insurance………..WHAT DO YOU THINK Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac......JUST ANOTHER FAILURE What did you get out of these programs? Probably nothing but you PAID DEARLY for them as well as your grandchildren will. Thanks Uncle Sam for taking a budget of 7 billion in 1940 and ballooning it into almost 12 trillon in 2010. I have set up a place that the poor and middle class in the country can start to get their fair share of the giveaways. It is our turn to have a piece of the action. Just google CASH TEACHER all one word or two...doesn't matter to get started. Click on the very first link and you are there...they are that good!!! Then you will find the ways to cash in. Go to the STOCKS and the MAKE MONEY ONLINE sections to see things that the corporate fat cats don't want us to know. You want to see how the rich do it...GO THERE!

August 20 2010 at 6:47 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Robert & Lisa

Obama and company, we can't wait to vote you idiots out of office.

August 20 2010 at 6:47 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
otterdad48

Dudes, you need to read Frank Thomas' book "The Wrecking Crew". People who do not believe in government should never be trusted to run gonvement.

August 20 2010 at 2:00 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to otterdad48's comment
Robert & Lisa

We all believe in government. It just needs to be as small and unobtrusive as possible so we the people can live in peace.

August 20 2010 at 6:49 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
wargamer100

where in the US Constitution does it say this give away should occur? You teach a person to fish or farm so they can provide for themselves. You are not helping these people to help themselves. You are just creating a voter pool of dependents...you are just making more gov't waste....you are cuasing people to be envious and hate other classes...you are justifying stealing, shoplifting, theft, corruption in the eyes of alot of people

August 20 2010 at 10:56 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
wargamer100

MORE government waste. I have seen this program already twice in lifetime. This moeny was spent in the past on many homes that were eventually demolished or abandoned in the Phila/Chester/Trenton areas. Contractors overbilled and their political buddies allowed it to happen besides houses were too far gone or not maintained.....gov't continues to go down same road spend and give .....make the middle and upper classes pay more taxes .....the land of milk and honey is running out of land milk and honey...you are just piling on debt to future generations and turning off today's youth

August 20 2010 at 10:48 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wargamer100's comment
halkovichr

i seen it two before just a waiste ,they are running all over the town i live in doing houses ,,the ydont seem to care if ur low income or not,,just spend,,and like allways ..so many puts enough in ther pockets for them selves,as far as creating jobs ,they left the country,,this time ,,if it wasent for social sercurity and welfare we would bein a depression now,anxious see where obama spend coupe hundred million or billon next week

August 20 2010 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply