Weatherization Plus Health

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), was created in 1976 to help low-income families invest in energy efficiency. DOE provides weatherization grants to state, territories and some Indian tribes to help improve the energy efficiency of low-income homes. In turn, the grantees contract with local governments and nonprofit agencies to provide the weatherization services. Since its inception, more than seven million homes have been weatherized, with an energy savings average of 35% of consumption for the typical low-income household.

Weatherization Plus Health is a voluntary effort designed to take a comprehensive approach to coordinate resources for energy, health, and safety in low-income homes. The program’s goal is to facilitate strong, effective partnerships between WAP grantees and healthy homes service providers to ensure energy efficient and healthy indoor environments.

Weatherization Plus Health
This initiative is designed to help create partnerships between local providers of low-income housing repair, energy, health, and safety services to help them collaborate more efficiently and effectively. The site, created and managed by the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) for DOE, features access to a wide-range of resources to help WAP and Healthy Homes providers coordinate service delivery and implement constructive community strategies. Resources include information on trainings, success stories, and access to weatherization providers at the state and local level. [url; WxplusHealth]

  • Weatherization Plus Health Fact Sheet
    This one-page fact sheet provides key information about the Weatherization Plus Health initiative and some of the health issues the initiative is attempting to address.
  • Advancing Healthy Housing: A Strategy for Action
    This release from the federal Healthy Homes Work Group (HHWG) is intended to serve as a guide to help coordinate HHWG federal agencies to support healthy homes for all Americans. [pdf; Weatherization Plus Health, 2013]

Weatherization Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center (WAPTAC)
This is the official DOE Technical Assistance Center for the Weatherization Assistance Program. It features WAP basics, regulations and guidelines, technical tools, best practices and more. It also offers quick access to up-to-date WAP guidelines and information. [url; NASCSP]

Washington State Weatherization Plus Health
While many weatherization programs are limited in their capacity to make repairs beyond those specifically allowed in the federal weatherization program, Washington State passed legislation that creates a funding pool and consortium of service providers to delivers healthy home repairs beyond weatherizing and energy efficiency efforts for a home. [url; WA State Commerce Department]

  • Washington State’s Law Expanding Weatherization to Include Healthy Housing
    This presentation about the scope of Washington state’s new law connecting weatherization with healthy housing repairs and upgrades was provided by the legislator that introduced the bill and the director of the program. It discusses some of the legislation’s health enhancements and how various funding sources were combined for the program. A recording of the presentation can be accessed here. [pptx; 2015]

Weatherization Plus Health: Program Materials and Protocols to Integrate Health Concerns into WX Projects
This report details how the Opportunity Council (OC), a Community Action Agency (CAC) in Washington state, began incorporating a healthy homes component into their weatherization program. It outlines the collaborative efforts and funding sources OC used to expand their program, and offers guidance for other weatherization providers interested in making a similar transformation. The report lays out the benefits to agencies and the phases necessary to implement a successful program. [url, pdf; NCHH, 2004]

State Energy Report: Best Weatherization Plus Health Practices
The State Energy Report highlights best practices in weatherization plus health efforts. The Report features articles such as how weatherization service providers are addressing high deferral rates, weaving funding from difference sources together, and improving training. [url; State Energy Report]

Identified Barriers and Opportunities to Make Housing Green and Healthy through Weatherization
This report assesses the impact of health and safety issues on properties receiving weatherization services in 12 Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) designated sites. It provides specific examples and statistics related to health and safety impacting weatherization work at the sites. [pdf; GHHI, 2010]

Rapid Health Impact Assessment (HIA): Weatherization Plus Health
This HIA was done to inform two key policy decisions in Connecticut regarding which health and safety measures should be included in the state administered weatherization efforts, and which should be included in the state and utility funded work. After looking at the evidence for 16 health and safety measures included as part of energy upgrades, the HIA provided a list of measures that could have a substantial health impact while easily being integrated into energy upgrades using the existing workforce or coordinated referrals. [pdf; Pew Trusts, 2013]

Weatherization Service Deferrals
Every weatherization service provider has encountered homes needing a greater amount of work and home repair than they can provide. Declining (or “deferring”) those applications is especially difficult because they are often the households in greatest need. Many weatherization service providers are interested in learning how their peers have developed partnerships with other organizations such as Habitat for Humanities or Rebuilding Together to address major repairs so that the weatherization work can be completed. The following resources focus on why deferrals occur and how some WAP providers are addressing the issue.

  • Exploratory Review of Grantee, Subgrantee and Client Experiences with Deferred Services under the Weatherization Assistance Program
    This study evaluates estimated deferral rates and their reasons. It includes an assessment of responses from interviews with a sample of weatherization providers and recipients describing their experiences with deferrals. The report found that deferrals could be categorized into two areas: health and safety hazards, and repair requirements (i.e., repairs, such as roof replacement, were beyond the capacity of the program and provider). The study identifies patterns with deferral rates as well as successful weatherization efforts post deferral. It also identifies strengths and weakness with the process at the local level from both the agency and client perspective. [pdf; Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2015]
  • Healthy Housing Opportunities During Weatherization Work
    This report, commissioned by DOE, highlights many of the various creative and effective ways weatherization service providers address health and safety issues in their work. It discusses weatherization deferral, the difficulty weatherization agencies face in accessing funding for health and safety repairs, and other observations obtained through interviews with state-level WAP administrators and local weatherization agencies. [pdf; National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2011]
  • Innovative Couleecap Project Serves as a National Model
    This one-page news release discusses the creation of Couleecap’s Weatherization Deferral Project (WDP) to address their increasing weatherization deferrals. Couleecap (WI) partnered with Habitat for Humanities and local financial institutions to help homes get the repairs needed to be eligible for weatherization services. Additional information about Couleecap’s efforts can be found on the Weatherization Plus Health site. [pdf; Couleecap]
  • Leading Innovation for a Green and Healthy Tomorrow (LIGHT), Baltimore, MD
    LIGHT is a network of local government, nonprofit, and private sector partners that coordinate resources to provide energy, health, and safety home interventions. The Baltimore Housing Department established the program so that clients deferred from WAP could receive the repairs they needed to qualify their houses for the city’s weatherization program. Case coordinators conduct assessments, screen clients, and then match the client needs and eligibility with available services. Screenings include energy-efficiency/weatherizationhome rehabilitationlead hazard reduction, fall/injury prevention, asthma reduction, other healthy home improvements, tax credits, employment assistance, health care access, and financial benefits. [url; Baltimore Housing]
  • Washington State Housing Trust Fund
    Supports weatherization and home repair programs to reduce energy dependence, while decreasing energy costs for low-income families and improving the health and safety of their homes. [url; Housing Consortium]

Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The federal government allocates LIHEAP funds directly to states, and the states are responsible for administering the Funds. LIHEAP funds used for weatherization are limited to 15% of the available funding (or up to 25% with a waiver from HHS). Beyond this statute, States have enormous discretion in designing and implementing their respective LIHEAP programs. [url; U.S. DHHS]

  • LIHEAP Clearinghouse
    The clearinghouse provides information about individual state programs, including administrative and delivery practices, and links directly to the state and local administering agency. It also provides “Snapshots” of key LIHEAP characteristics found in each program, along with details of its non-federal low-income energy programs (state- and utility-funded, and charitable). [url; DHHS]

National Energy Assistance (NEA) Survey
Findings from this survey, available on the National Energy Assistance Developers Association (NEADA) and Public Health site, provide an overview of the implications energy assistance has on the health and safety of vulnerable populations. The findings provide support for integration of LIHEAP with weatherization funding to finance weatherization plus health protocols. A PDF of the report is available here. [url; NEADA, 2018]

Affordable Home Energy and Health: Making the Connection
This report, prepared by the NEADA and AARP, provides strong evidence between energy costs and health and makes a case for evaluating weatherization and energy efficiency programs to assess their impact on health and safety. [url, pdf; NEADA, 2010]

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) Health and Safety Guidance: WPN 11-6 
These guidelines outline how WAP funds can be used for health and safety activities, testing, education, and training in specific health and safety categories. The revised Health and Safety Guidance was issued to provide clarity on how DOE WAP funds can be spent to address occupant health concerns and directs Grantees in strengthening their health and safety plans.

Weatherization Plus Health in the News

How the Pike County, OH, Weatherization (Wx) Program Maintained Success Post-ARRA
This article discusses how one weatherization provider overcame some of the obstacles weatherization programs face when trying to include efforts to help improve home health conditions. [url; OMAG digital, 2013]

Weatherization Plus Health: The Next Step for WAP
This Home Energy article highlights the benefits of the weatherization efforts with healthy housing practices along with some of the issues. The article provides a case study of the Opportunity Council in Bellingham, WA. [url; Home Energy, 2012]

Creating Healthy and Energy Efficient Housing
This Home Energy article illustrates the relationship between health and comprehensive energy updates, detailing the health benefits achieved with common weatherization practices. [url; Home Energy, 2012]

Weatherization Training

Master That™ Interactive Training for Weatherization
This site offers Weatherization Plus Health practitioners best practices to address home repair and upgrade situations with potential health-related issues. Training modules are designed as “how-to” models for field workers and, while not intended to define DOE Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) policy, the content is considered consistent with WPN 11-6 and current WAP best practices. [url; NASCSP]

Healthy Homes Training Center 
The courses provided by the Training Center are designed to help practitioners learn and understand elements of healthy homes, how to perform healthy homes assessments, and to give them the necessary information to improve homes conditions. [url; Healthy Housing Solutions]

BPI provides training for residential energy efficiency and weatherization retrofit work. The Institute offers a full range of practitioner and professional trainings that meet DOE and EPA energy program standards. The site provide links to trainings and schedules of locally accredited BPI training centers across the country. [url; BPI]

Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals
This DOE site provides access to work specifications for weatherization and home energy upgrades; along with listings of home energy professional certifications for workers and accredited training programs. It is a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the home energy performance industry. The Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals Project fact sheet provides information about the components of the program. [url, pdf; DOE]

For more information on trainings related to Healthy Homes, please visit Workforce Resources.

Related Information

Healthy Energy-Efficient Housing: Using a One-Touch Approach to Maximize Public Health, Energy, and Housing Programs and Policies
This article outlines health and cost benefits achieved through integration of energy and health programs, especially within the weatherization assistance program. [JPHMP, 2008]

National Healthy Housing Standard
These science-based performance standards, created by NCHH and the American Public Health Association (APHA), cover seven key categories related to housing with explanations for each provision about its public health rationale. The standards integrate public health information into housing parlance and are beneficial for weatherization providers as well as anyone concerned about housing’s interaction with health. [APHA, NCHH, 2014]

Supporting Low-Income Homeowners: Lessons from a Program to Coordinate Weatherization and Rehab Services
This report assesses the impact of the Weatherization, Rehab and Asset Preservation (WRAP) demonstration program funded by the Ford Foundation and the Energy Programs Consortium (EPC). WRAP funds helped 11 nonprofits in 10 cities coordinate housing rehabilitation and weatherization programs over a five-year period. The report evaluated how well the program met its target of helping low-income families reduce their energy costs while improving the condition of their homes. [url, pdf; UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies, 2009]

Use of Weatherization Program Funds to Benefit Residents of Multifamily
This report conducted by the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) addresses some of the barriers to using weatherization funding for multifamily properties. The report makes the case that weatherization funds should be more available for use in multifamily properties as 52% of program-eligible households are renters. [url; SAHF, 2011]

Multifamily Weatherization: State Best Practices
This one-page fact sheet, developed by the National Housing Trust (NHT) and Enterprise Community Partners, looks at how states address multifamily properties in their Weatherization Assistance Programs and highlights which states have set-asides specifically targeted to multifamily properties. [pdf; NHTInc, 2010]

Is there another Weatherization Plus Health policy, collaborative effort, or program we should highlight? Please let us know. Email the link to Sarah Goodwin. Enter “Potential Weatherization Resource” in the subject line.