Grant funds available for low-income families

The U.S. Department of Energy announced this week in a press release that over $200,000 in weatherization program grants for the state of Hawaii have been made available for energy efficiency improvements in homes of low-income families.

Weatherization can reduce an average home’s energy costs by $358 annually, said DOE secretary Samuel Bodman in the release.

Grants for Hawai’i are a small portion of a nationwide weatherization grant totaling $140.3 million for 30 other states and the Navajo Nation; this funding is the first installment of $243 million in total weatherization grants for 2006. The funding for 2006 is expected to weatherize nearly 96,560 homes nationwide.

“Weatherizing your home is a valuable way to save energy and money,” Bodman said in the release. “The Department of Energy’s weatherization program will help nearly 97,000 families make their homes more energy emcient.

In 2005, DOE helped weatherize more than 92,000 homes.

On average, Americans spend 3.5 percent of their income on paying energy bills, but for lower-income households the costs average 14 percent. These costs can include anything from heating and cooling their homes to running the lights, computers and other appliances that need electricity.

DOE’S weatherization program grants are distributed by state energy offices through more than 900 local agencies.

Every state, the District of Columbia, the Navajo Nation and the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona will receive weatherization grants this year. Awards announced today are for the 31 states and the Navajo Nation that begin their weatherization year on April 1. The remaining 19 states and the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona will receive funding during the latter half of 2006.

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