Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear makes weatherization program announcements
Kentucky’s Weatherization Assistance Program signs contract to purchase GE appliances, approved for additional federal funding
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Gov. Steve Beshear today visited the home of Louisville resident Mary Beth Hewett to see her newly installed, energy-efficient hot water heater and other improvements that have been made to her home as a result of the Kentucky Weatherization Assistance Program. Gov. Beshear, along with Congressman John Yarmuth, Mayor Jerry Abramson, Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Jonathan Miller and GE Marketing Manager Keith Burkhardt, also announced recent developments within the program including access to more federal funding and a recently awarded contract between Community Action Kentucky (CAK) and GE Appliance Park in Louisville.
“Homeowners can significantly increase their home’s efficiency, improve household safety and reduce utility costs through many weatherization efforts such as ensuring proper insulation and installing energy-efficient appliances,” said Gov. Beshear. “Kentuckians who do not have the financial resources to make such improvements can apply for help from the Weatherization Assistance Program and we are excited to announce the availability of more federal funding to continue such an invaluable service that helps Kentuckians save money.”
In 2009, Kentucky was awarded approximately $70 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for weatherization to help qualified applicants decrease their home’s operating cost through the Weatherization Assistance Program. As specified by federal guidelines, the funds have been released in increments to Community Action Kentucky, the agency that manages the program. To date, the state has received half of the award, or $35 million. After achieving its goal to weatherize more than 2,600 homes utilizing the ARRA funds, the state may now access the remaining $35 million to continue helping Kentuckians save money and energy.
“This weatherization program combined with tax rebates from the Recovery Act are driving demand for energy-efficient appliances made right here at GE’s Appliance Park,” said Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3). “I am thrilled to join in announcing this program that is helping local families cut energy costs while creating jobs and revitalizing manufacturing in Louisville.”
CAK recently awarded a two-year contract to GE to provide their GeoSpring™ Hybrid Water Heaters to those participating in the Weatherization Assistance Program. Using ARRA funds, CAK will purchase the water heaters through May 2012 for distribution to community action agencies statewide for the Weatherization Assistance Program.
This contract will also create or retain jobs for Kentuckians because the GeoSpring™ Hybrid Water Heaters are made in Louisville at GE Appliance and Lighting.
“The GE GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater is made right here in Louisville. It’s putting Kentuckians to work and, once it’s in the home, it’s saving Kentuckians money,” Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said. “We are proud to be part of a partnership that will help participants see real results with more energy efficient homes and hundreds of extra dollars in their wallets each year.”
The Weatherization Assistance Program helps reduce energy costs through home improvements for families, the elderly and the disabled whose household income is at or below 200 percent of the poverty guideline.
In Kentucky, the weatherization program is funded by the Finance and Administration Cabinet and managed by Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC). KHC, in turn, grants these funds to CAK and Kentucky’s 23 Community Action Agencies to provide direct weatherization services across the state.
“The Weatherization Assistance Program is a remarkable example of how stimulus dollars are benefiting our Commonwealth through economic development, job creation and promoting energy efficiency,” said Sec. Miller.
“Kentucky's Weatherization Assistance Program has been making homes more comfortable and saving families money for over 30 years,” said Rob Jones, executive director of Community Action Kentucky. “This boost in funding from ARRA has come at a time when a few extra dollars saved each month means more than ever to the program's recipients. We're very proud that the stimulus funding and the GE energy efficient hot water heaters will be used by Community Action agencies statewide to help continue a very valuable program while using an appliance made right here in Kentucky.”
“The goal of the Weatherization Assistance Program is to keep Kentuckians warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and safe all year long,” said Richard L. McQuady, chief executive officer of KHC. “We are proud to have reached this first benchmark, but we know we have much more to do to further our mission of assuring that all Kentuckians have safe, affordable housing. Energy efficiency is the key to reaching that goal.”
The GE® GeoSpring™ Hybrid Water Heater is an Energy Star rated appliance using advanced heat pump technology combined with traditional electric elements to supply the most energy-efficient, 50-gallon water heater available. The GE GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater is ideal for energy efficiency and low-income weatherization programs, offering easy replacement of a standard electric water heater and significant energy savings compared to a standard electric water heater.
“We feel very proud to be working with the city and state on this very worthwhile program,” said Burkhardt. “The Energy Star-qualified GE® GeoSpring™ Hybrid Water Heater will help significantly reduce energy usage and operating expenses for Weatherization Assistance Program recipients and will also benefit the overall community by bringing new jobs to the area.”
For more information about Kentucky’s Weatherization Assistance Program, please visit www.kyhousing.org, under Housing Production, Weatherization Assistance Program, or call toll-free in Kentucky (800) 633-8896 or (502) 564-7630, extension 335; TTY 711.