Since 1976 The Weatherization Assistance Program has set out to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low income families thereby reducing home energy costs and making them more affordable. The program has evolved from performing basic measures such as caulking windows and installing weather stripping, to using advanced diagnostic equipment to determine the most beneficial measures to reduce a home’s energy usage. The program serves households who are at or below 200% of the federal poverty guideline.
The Weatherization Assistance Program is funded primarily through the Department of Energy. However, in accordance with the LIHEAP program rules, Illinois typically transfers 15% of LIHEAP dollars, funded by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), to the Weatherization Program. In Illinois, additional dollars are provided by the State Energy Program.
Service Delivery Structure:
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IDCEO) subcontracts with 35 community based organizations that then provide Weatherization services to eligible households in all 102 counties of the state. These agencies conduct outreach, and perform Weatherization, either with agency crews or local contractors. These community based organizations provide other social services that benefit Weatherization eligible households. Professionally trained staff use computerized energy audits and advanced diagnostic equipment to determine the most cost-effective energy efficiency measures appropriate for each home. Illinois crews also test heating units and appliances for carbon monoxide leaks and combustion safety.
Typical weatherization services include installing insulation; sealing ducts; and mitigating heat loss through windows, doors, and other infiltration points. Weatherization contractors and/or crews also install health and safety measures, such as carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors. Clients are educated on the proper use and maintenance of the installed measures.