October 1, 2010
Austin’s Federal Weatherization Program Nationally Recognized
The City of Austin through Austin Energy has won a national award for Energy Efficiency Implementation Innovation for its administration of a federally funded weatherization program.
In announcing the award, ICLEI – Local Government for Sustainability USA, said Austin Energy’s implementation of the program follows a “holistic approach, addressing any issue in a home that may impact the energy, health or safety of the dwelling and its occupants.”
ICLEI, an association of more than 600 local governments committed to climate protection and sustainability, also noted that Austin Energy is the only utility in the country that is administering a federal weatherization program on behalf of a local government.
Austin Energy was awarded $5.8 million in federal stimulus funds to weatherize more than 900 homes in two years on behalf of the City of Austin. ICLEI noted that the program creates jobs with an emphasis on recruiting small and minority contractors and “helps to preserve Austin’s older housing stock by retrofitting homes for long-term energy reduction.”
Austin Energy provides the most energy-efficiency improvements in a home through the federal weatherization program in the state of Texas, resulting in the lowest possible energy use by residents. Its approach is to provide long-term, energy savings and improved health and quality of life by also making small repairs to the home and by providing new appliances to replace old and malfunctioning gas water heaters and stoves that can endanger health and safety.
According to Karl R. Rábago, Austin Energy’s vice president for Distributed Energy Services, the vision for the program is to take advantage of the unprecedented funding made available under the federal Stimulus Act to develop self-sustaining, cost-effective programs to provide energy efficiency services to Austin’s low-income customers.
“Our leadership team at Austin Energy applied to become the only municipal electric utility in the nation administering a federal weatherization program in order to better serve the critical need for energy services in our low-income community,” said Rábago. “What we learn from this program will improve our already world-class energy efficiency programs and benefit customers long after these Stimulus Funds have been put to work.”
ICLEI pointed to Austin Energy’s long and successful history of weatherizing homes and making energy-efficiency improvements that have resulted in savings for all of Austin.