DOE Weatherization Assistance Program

The Department of Energy (DOE)’s Weatherization Assistance Program (CFDA Program Number 81.042) provides formula and project grants to states to fund cost-effective measures that improve the energy efficiency of homes, particularly the homes of elderly and low-income individuals. These governments in turn contract with local governments and nonprofit agencies to provide weatherization services to those in need using the latest technologies for home energy upgrades.

By improving the energy efficiency of dwellings, this program both reduces fossil fuel emissions and protects residents from extreme temperatures that could harm their health. Since the program began in 1976, DOE has helped improve the lives of than 7 million families by reducing their energy bills. The WAP is the nation’s largest single residential whole-house energy efficiency program.

Purpose: The WAP reduces energy costs for low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their residential homes, while ensuring their health and safety.

Eligible Uses: WAP funding may be used for a variety of measures, including: (i) conducting energy audits to assess the most cost-effective methods of improving residential energy efficiency; (ii) carrying out weatherization measures such as installing insulation, repairing heating and cooling systems, and caulking windows; (iii) completing an overall safety check of houses, particularly focusing on heating/cooling systems and major appliances.

Unlike typical low-cost improvements to save energy, the approach of the WAP is for "whole house weatherization.” This approach analyzes all of the building systems - the building envelope, heating and cooling systems, electrical system, and electric baseload appliances - through the completion of an energy audit. Moreover, weatherization involves attention to the overall health and safety of the clients being served and the weatherization providers. Weatherization service providers check the building envelope and major energy systems to ensure there are no safety concerns for the occupants before installing any energy efficiency measures.

Potential Adaptation Uses: While not explicitly targeting climate change adaptation, WAP funding may can help homes reduce their energy demands, which can decrease load stresses put on energy systems. State and local governments may be able to use funds from the Weatherization Assistance Program to install cooling measures on individual dwellings, particularly cost-effective measures like window shades and cool roofs. The program can increase the number of people with access to solar photovoltaics (PV) and other renewable systems that can be part of a resilient energy system. WAP funds may also address disaster related hazards under certain conditions; it is permissible to prioritize eligible households located in a disaster area for funding.

Eligible Grantees (and subgrantees): All 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and some Indian tribes are eligible to receive funding. Each state sets its income requirements within DOE guidelines. Services are provided by the states, and each state has slightly different criteria. Under DOE guidelines, you are automatically eligible to receive weatherization assistance if you receive Supplemental Security Income or Aid to Families with Dependent Children. In other cases, states give preference to:

  • People over 60 years of age
  • Families with one or more members with a disability
  • Families with children (in most states)

Process and Requirements: To implement the WAP, DOE receives funding through annual Congressional appropriations and uses an allocation formula to calculate the award formula grants for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and Indian tribes. Then these organizations usually contract with local agencies to implement weatherization measures. Over 700 local organizations deliver the WAP services to eligible residents within their communities.

To apply for weatherization assistance, applicants need to contact their state weatherization agency and submit an application.

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides up to date information on recent appropriations to this program from Congress, the average size of grants, and matching requirements.  A summary is included here, but check the CFDA for more up to date information:

  • Recent Obligations: FY 15 $175,116,268; FY 16 est $121,691,609.
  • Size of Grants: Range from $2,500 to $6,500 per dwelling unit. Base allocations for states range from $120,000 to $15,302,000.  States may receive more funds on top of this base allocation depending on the overall program appropriation and the state’s relative need.
  • Matching Requirement: This program has no matching requirements.

Authorization: Title IV, Energy Conservation and Production Act, as amended, authorizes the Department of Energy to administer the Weatherization Assistance Program. (42 U.S.C.§ 6861, et. seq.)


Publication Date: December 22, 1975

Related Organizations:

  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Funding program

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