The United States government has announced an investment of around $8 billion in state and local weatherization and energy efficiency efforts as part of the president’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. With an investment of around $5 billion through its Weatherization Assistance Program and about $3 billion for the State Energy Program, the US Department of Energy (DOE) will partner with state and local governments to put 87,000 citizens to work and save their energy bills.

To start job creation and weatherization work, DOE is releasing the first installment of the funding – about $780 million — in the next few days and will release additional funding over time as states demonstrate that they are using the funding effectively and responsibly to create jobs and cut energy use.

This energy efficiency funding for states is an important investment in making America more energy independent, creating a cleaner economy and creating more jobs for the 21st century that can’t be outsourced, said US vice president, Joe Biden.

The funding will support weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment, which will pay for itself many times over.

Even as we seize the enormous potential of clean energy sources like wind and solar, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act makes a major investment in energy efficiency, which is the most cost effective route to energy independence, said US energy secretary, Chu.

The Weatherization Assistance Program will allow an average investment of up to $6,500 per home in energy efficiency upgrades and will be available for families making up to 200% of the federal poverty level – or about $44,000 a year for a family of four. [$55,140 for Alaska and $50,720 for Hawaii]

The State Energy Program funding will be available for rebates to consumers for home energy audits or other energy saving improvements; development of renewable energy projects for clean electricity generation and alternative fuels; promotion of Energy Star products; efficiency upgrades for state and local government buildings; and other innovative state efforts to help save families money on their energy bills.

The DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program allows low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient, reducing heating bills by an average of 32% and overall energy bills by hundreds of dollars per year.