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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Energy-savings efforts get a jolt

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

State programs receive $20 million to help owners retrofit homes, businesses

Milwaukee, Racine and Madison will launch or expand programs to help homeowners and businesses retrofit buildings to cut energy use. The programs are part of a $20 million initiative funded by the federal stimulus package.

The three cities were partners in a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Madison-based Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp. and announced by Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

The money will be used to set up or expand programs that lower the cost of making energy-saving changes in homes and businesses.

The Wisconsin project was one of 25 nationwide that won more than $450 million in total funding. The Energy Department received applications for more than $3.5 billion.

The state had sought $65 million through the federal "retrofit ramp-up" program. The goal: bring down the cost of energy-saving home improvements such as air sealing, insulation and other initiatives offered by the state Focus on Energy program.

Milwaukee recently launched a solar-financing program, and Racine has started an energy-efficiency retrofit program that will expand with the new funding.

"This initiative will help overcome the barriers to making energy efficiency easy and accessible to all - inconvenience, lack of information and lack of financing," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement. "Block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, we will make our communities more energy efficient and help families save money. At the same time, we'll create thousands of jobs and strengthen our economy."

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