More Recovery Act money is trickling down to Arkansas and bringing jobs with it.
The state has been selected to receive more than $2.3 million in additional funding to build on the state’s success under the Recovery Act’s weatherization program and continue to accelerate the pace of energy-efficiency improvements in the state.
As of June 30, Arkansas had weatherized more than 2,000 homes under the Recovery Act, including nearly 300 homes in June alone, and supported nearly 160 jobs in Arkansas.
U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and U.S. Representatives Marion Berry, Vic Snyder, and Mike Ross today announced the funding award.
“The weatherization program is putting Arkansans to work making energy-saving home improvements that will help reduce the costs of utility bills during this particularly hot summer,” Lincoln said. “With the record-breaking heat that we’ve experienced in Arkansas, it is more important than ever that Arkansas homes have energy-efficient tools in place to help our families stay cool. Energy-efficient air conditioning systems and other appliances have the potential to save Arkansans hundreds of dollars on their energy bills, which is much-needed in these tough economic times. I am pleased that Arkansas’s weatherization programs have been successful and this additional funding has been awarded under the Recovery Act.”
“Weatherization services create good jobs and cut energy costs for Arkansas homes and businesses,” Pryor said. “In today’s tough economic times, a lower electric bill can make a huge difference to Arkansas families when they’re trying to balance their checkbooks at the end of the month. These Recovery Act dollars will allow us to expand our state’s weatherization program, boosting a growing green energy industry and benefiting more Arkansans.”
“Investing in green projects like this weatherization program has a twofold positive effect on our economy, by putting people back to work and lowering our energy costs,” Berry said. “These are great steps toward reducing energy costs, developing energy independence, and creating a better, stronger economy for Arkansans.”
“These additional Recovery Act weatherization funds are a homerun for Arkansas as they create jobs, save families and communities money, and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Snyder. “It is a sound investment that will help give more Arkansans access to the efficiencies of the future.”
“Making our country more energy independent is both a national security and economic issue,” Ross said. “We must reduce our dependence on foreign oil by making our nation more energy efficient and by investing in alternative and renewable sources of energy. I am proud to help announce these public investments because they will create jobs and save homeowners and taxpayers money on energy costs.”
“We’re proud of the wonderful work the weatherization network is doing and of the two agencies awarded these additional funds,” said Rose Adams, executive director of the Arkansas Community Action Agencies Association. “The more we’re able to improve the whole home, the more we help individuals, families and communities and contribute to the national effort to conserve energy and become more energy independent.”
Adams noted that the Arkansas Community Action Agencies had improved more than 2,200 homes with Recovery Act funds. She stressed the funds awarded to the two agencies will enable them to do even more to help people of low and moderate income have more energy efficient, safe and healthy homes, adding.
Local Arkansas agencies in Benton and Fort Smith have been selected to receive a total of more than $2.3 million to expand their successful weatherization programs. The funding will allow the local agencies – the Central Arkansas Development Council, Inc. and Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, Inc. – to install new high-efficiency, ENERGY STAR-qualified items including air conditioning systems, clothes washers, and water heaters in residents’ homes. The award selections were part of nearly $120 million in awards announced nationally to complement and expand existing weatherization programs, drive innovation in the program, and deliver even greater energy bill savings for local families.
The weatherization program is putting carpenters, electricians, and factory workers back to work installing insulation, upgrading appliances, and improving heating and cooling systems. According to state reports, the Recovery Act Weatherization Assistance Program supported more than 13,000 jobs in the second quarter of 2010, including nearly 160 jobs in Arkansas.
Under the weatherization program, local agencies provide whole-home weatherization services, including conducting an energy audit in the home to identify the most cost-effective improvements, and implementing solutions that range from installing additional insulation and weatherstripping, sealing windows and doors, caulking cracks in the building, and replacing inefficient heating and cooling systems.