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CASE STUDY: Thousands of Georgians Helped Through the Weatherization Assistance Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act For low-income residents throughout the state, heating their homes can often cut into funds for necessities such as food and medication. Low-income households typically spend 19 percent of their total annual income on energy costs. Georgia’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), managed by the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), seeks to help families by making homes more energy efficient through a series of energyconservation measures. GEFA was able to reach more families in need as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Georgia received $124.5 million through ARRA for its WAP; $99 million was given to 22 community service providers in the WAP network to weatherize homes. The service providers included local community action agencies, city and county governments, and other nonprofit organizations. The rest of the funding went to Southface Energy Institute, which trained WAP employees and contractors, and the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension Service, which provided quality assurance monitoring. GEFA also provided funding and support to Southface’s SWEET Center, which trains workers in Georgia and throughout the Southeast to install insulation, seal ducts, air sealing and other weatherization techniques. Homes that have been weatherized require less energy to heat and cool, resulting in lower utility bills. Whole House Weatherization, the method used to repair the homes, treats the house as a single energy-consuming system, rather than a loose collection of unrelated pieces of equipment, and requires advanced diagnostic skills and cost-effective measure selection and installation. Energy-efficiency measures performed through the program include air sealing, wall and attic insulation, heating system improvements or replacement, efficiency improvements in lighting, and hot water tank and pipe insulation. Under ARRA, 17,089 homes were weatherized, helping 22,772 Georgians throughout the state. 521,215 Mbtus of energy were also saved. Household energy use reductions and the resulting energy cost savings through home weatherization are significant, with average savings in excess of 20 percent. Low-income families, with assistance through the WAP, are now able to enjoy a more comfortable home, more manageable utility bills and a better quality of life. Currently, GEFA contracts with 16 Community Action Agencies, one local government and one nonprofit organization to provide weatherization services in all 159 of Georgia’s counties.


Weatherization Assistance Program and the ARRA