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Shot in Arm for Ohio Weatherization

Home weatherization measures such as new insulation can decrease home energy costs by nearly 25 percent. (Jesus Rodriguez/Flickr)
Home weatherization measures such as new insulation can decrease home energy costs by nearly 25 percent. (Jesus Rodriguez/Flickr)
September 14, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio's Home Weatherization Assistance Program is getting a shot in the arm.

The state receives federal money for weatherization from the Department of Energy and the Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as HEAP.

And lawmakers recently approved a legislative requirement in the biennium state budget that will increase the amount of HEAP dollars spent on weatherization to 20 percent from 15 percent.

Columbus attorney Steve Tugend helped advocate for the change and contends it's a smart investment.

He explains the benefits of weatherization are long lasting, and cut home energy costs by about 25 percent.

"We estimate that it will last about 20 years, allowing low-income residents of Ohio to keep more of their hard earned dollars to spend on their families for other things rather than their energy costs," he states.

The increase will mean about an additional $7 million annually for the Home Weatherization Program, which Tugend says translates to about 700 more homes weatherized each year.

Tugend says energy efficiency groups have worked for years on the issue and made multiple unsuccessful attempts to increase the spending cap. He believes lawmakers now understand the value of weatherization.

"We were successful because we made a business case, a cost benefit case about the merits of this,” he states. “We had a bipartisan set of supporters, and that was the reason why it stayed in the budget."

Tugend notes the measure also survived the individual line-item veto process. Research shows that for every $1 invested in home weatherization, there is a $2.50 return to households and the economy.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH