Last week the Trump Administration released its full budget for Fiscal Year 2018. Regrettably, this proposal sharply cuts funding by 18 percent at the Department of Energy (DOE) and calls for the elimination of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). In its “Major Savings and Reforms ” document and the DOE budget justification, the Administration provides its rationale behind these cuts. Below, NASCSP seeks to clarify some of the misconceptions held by the Administration about WAP. We look forward to educating the Administration and the public about the critical role of this program.
“Within these reductions, the Budget eliminates the Weatherization Assistance Program and State Energy Program. This reduces Federal intervention in State-level energy policy and implementation and focuses funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy on limited, early-stage applied energy research and development.” (pg. 35, Major Savings and Reforms)
“The FY 2018 President’s Budget eliminates the two subprograms, Weatherization Assistance Program and State Energy Program, managed by the Office of Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs to reduce Federal intervention in State-level energy policy and implementation and to focus funding on limited, early-stage applied energy research and development activities where the Federal role is stronger”. (pg. 223, DOE Budget Justification )
The WAP is an example of an incredibly successful Federal State, and Local partnership- not federal intervention or overreach. State level energy policy makers support the WAP and it is one of only two Department of Energy (DOE) programs specifically identified in the National Governors’ Association transition recommendations, which ask the Administration to, “Continue and expand existing energy grant programs the states rely upon, particularly the Weatherization Assistance Program and the State Energy Program.”
The WAP is the largest residential energy efficiency retrofit program in the nation, which provides critical weatherization services to low and middle-income families across the country – Americans who President Trump made the focus of his campaign. The WAP impacts every corner of our nation, benefitting both rural and urban communities. WAP is a sound investment in our residential infrastructure, with a recent evaluation by Oak Ridge National Laboratory finding that for every Weatherization dollar spent by DOE, the program returned $4.10 in energy efficiency, health, and safety benefits.
Not only does the WAP make drastically needed improvements to our nation’s aging housing stock, but it also helps American workers and American businesses. WAP directly supports more than 8,500 jobs and indirectly supports thousands more in related industries, while increasing national economic output by over $1 billion. The WAP has provided training and workforce development to thousands of low and middle-income workers, allowing them to secure stable employment and putting them on the road to opportunity.
The budget proposal recognized and praised WAP’s record of weatherizing over 7.4 million homes, but it asserted that WAP does not align with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s focus on research and development. However, over its 40 year history WAP has supported research and development, serving a mechanism for identifying new and emerging technologies and techniques. Blower doors, infrared scanners, and other diagnostic tools that are now standard energy efficiency technology in the home performance industry were first developed and integrated in the field as part of the WAP. WAP professionals have made significant contributions to building science and the home performance industry’s standard energy efficiency practices.
- WAP is a model Federal-State-Local Partnership and considered a critical program by America’s governors.
- WAP provides energy efficiency as well as health and safety benefits to low-income communities across the entire country.
- WAP improves residential infrastructure while supporting jobs and workforce development.
- WAP is a testing ground for energy efficiency research as well as development and deployment of new technology.
Media Contact: Eric Behna, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-370-3662