News Release 165

Director Templeton visited Doniphan homeowner benefitting from Energize Missouri Homes and the Recovery Act Funding
DNR recognizes SCMCAA for work completed to date

Volume 38-165 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Kerry Cordray
573-526-4220

ST. LOUIS, MO, MARCH 26, 2010 -- Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Director Mark N. Templeton today visited a Doniphan homeowner, Marjorie Bush, whose home is among those in the state being weatherized through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The department also recognized the weatherization work the South Central Missouri Community Action Agency, or SCMCAA, is performing to improve Missouri's economic recovery. SCMCAA is the local agency responsible for low-income weatherization assistance in Ripley County and six other south central Missouri counties.

The state of Missouri is administering $128 million in Recovery Act funding for energy efficiency improvements to the homes of low-income families. SCMCAA weatherization director Fern Hunt joined Director Templeton at the event and provided a tour of the Bush home for a look at energy-saving improvements being made, which includes sealing air leaks, a furnace tune-up, adding attic insulation and installing storm windows. Energy efficiency improvements to the Bush home should help save the household more than $700 on annual utility costs.

“The Energize Missouri Homes projects will provide communities across Missouri with major economic and environmental benefits,” said Mark N. Templeton, Director of the Department of Natural Resources. “Those benefits include creating jobs in the local weatherization agencies, providing energy-efficient housing, reducing homeowners’ utility bills and providing comfort and safety for those it serves.”

The department estimates more than 21,000 low-income Missouri families will benefit from the Recovery Act funding as their homes are weatherized during the next three years by SCMCAA and 17 other agencies across Missouri. The agencies estimate the Energize Missouri Homes low-income weatherization assistance projects will result in more than 240 Missouri jobs.

Changes to the weatherization program under the Recovery Act made more households eligible for assistance and increased the amounts and kinds of measures that can be provided for each weatherized home. Income eligibility expanded from 150 percent of the federal poverty level to 200 percent. This means a family of four, which previously needed to make less than $31,800 annually to qualify, can now make $44,100 annually and will qualify. Of those households that qualify, priority is given to the elderly, families with children and those with disabilities according to the federal program guidelines.

The average expenditure limit per home also increased from $2,500 to $6,500. Energy-efficient improvements made to homes may include: reducing air leaks; increasing insulation in the walls, attic, floor and foundation; heating system "clean and tune", heating system repair and replacement; and minimal building envelope repairs.

Nationally, the Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program reduces national energy demand by the equivalent of 18 million barrels of oil per year, and helps the environment by reducing harmful air pollution emissions. Overall, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for every dollar invested in the program, weatherization returns $1.65 in energy-related benefits and $1.07 in other benefits like reducing pollution and unemployment.

Applicants may apply for assistance to SCMCAA and to other agencies serving different areas of the state. SCMCAA serves seven south central Missouri counties: Butler, Carter, Dent, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon and Wayne. Local program information is available on the SCMCAA website at scmcaa.org.  A map of all Missouri weatherization agencies and the counties in their service areas is available on the department's website at dnr.mo.gov/energy/weatherization/wxmap.htm.

For more information on the Energize Missouri Homes low-income weatherization assistance program, visit the department's website at dnr.mo.gov/energy/weatherization/wx.htm or call 800-361-4827 or 573-751-3443.

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