January 25, 2010

(Washington, D.C.)-U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today discussed the positive impact of energy efficiency projects on job creation and economic growth at the home of Penny and Josh Young in Concord. The Youngs' home is being weatherized with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and is one of hundreds of weatherization projects happening across New Hampshire.

"The work being done here today is a powerful example of the impact that clean energy programs can have on our economic recovery and future economic growth," said Shaheen. "Millions of new jobs will be created in alternative energy and energy efficiency, and supporting weatherization and other energy efficiency projects is critical as we climb out of this recession and rebuild our economy."

"This program has made such a big impact for our company and our community," said Jerry Kingwell, Principal of Cobb Hill Construction. "It has created stability with our workforce, and the homeowner education we've been able to do has made a huge difference for our company."

As Congress sets its legislative agenda for 2010, top priorities include job creation and comprehensive energy legislation. Taken together, these initiatives can help consumers save on home heating and cooling costs, make the country less dependent on foreign oil, help reduce greenhouse gases, and create jobs. The Youngs' home is an example of how weatherization project can spur growth in a variety of industries. With business down for many homebuilders, contractors and construction workers, weatherization projects are important to help local companies stay afloat and identify new business opportunities.  

New Hampshire received nearly $24 million in ARRA funding to weatherize homes. To date, more than 600 weatherization projects have been completed or are underway across the state.  It is estimated that for every $1 million invested in weatherization, 52 jobs are saved or created. 

Shaheen also discussed the importance of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for families who are struggling to make ends meet.  Early last week, New Hampshire received an extra $2.5 million in LIHEAP emergency funding, and on Thursday, Shaheen requested additional LIHEAP funding from President Obama to help the state cope with a surge in demand for heating assistance. 

"With the help of LIHEAP, families are less burdened by energy bills, have more to spend on other essentials, and can avoid the choice between paying energy bills and putting food on their table," said Shaheen.

With unemployment rates still at or near record highs across the country, millions of Americans are struggling to stay warm this winter.  In 2009, New Hampshire experienced a 26 percent increase in the number of households eligible for LIHEAP and, nationally, applications to the program are expected to increase by 20 percent in 2010.  According to the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning, nearly 30,000 New Hampshire households are currently certified to receive home heating assistance through LIHEAP. 

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