Evaluation of the Virginia Weatherization Program
Greely, Katherine M.
Hill, William H.
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Since its inception in 1975, the Virginia Weatherization Program has installed energy conservation measures in more than 60,000 low-income housing units. The program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS)1 with funds provided by the federal Weatherization Assistance Program in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and supplemented in recent years by state "oil overcharge" funds. Under contract to VOSS, the program is operated by the Virginia Association of Community Action Agencies, Inc. (VACAA), which issues subcontracts to local community action and other agencies (so-called "subgrantees") to implement the program at the local level. VACAA oversees local implementation by establishing installation standards for the energy conservation measures and procedures to be applied, inspecting and monitoring houses completed, and reimbursing local agencies for job completions based on the cost of materials put into the houses. For many years, VACAA based its installation standards on "Project Retro-Tech", a priority system developed by DOE. Recent advances in weatherization in other states convinced VACAA staff that some of the measures in Virginia's standards may not be as effective as other new measures. In 1988, VACAA began making changes to their standards to reflects some of these advances. However, the agency soon realized that a full evaluation of the program would be necessary to see how these new measures fit Virginia's climate, housing stock, and local weatherization capabilities, and how much they could improve the effectiveness of the program. In June 1989, the Virginia Association of Community Action Agencies, Inc. (VACAA) contracted the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research (VCCER) to conduct an evaluation of the Virginia Weatherization Program. The study ran through December 1990. The main objective of the evaluation was to improve the energy savings and cost-effectiveness of the program by developing a new protocol of energy conservation measures and recommending improvements in administrative procedures. This final report of the study describes the project and its principal findings and recommendations. The project was conducted by VCCER's John Randolph and Kathy Greely with assistance from Bill Hill (Center for Energy Research, Education Service at Ball State University) and Larry Kinney (Synertech Systems Corp.). Special training of Virginia weatherization crews for purposes of the study was conducted by R.W. Davis and Rudy Leatherman (Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development), Rana Belshe and Tom Wilson (Residential Energy Conservation Consulting Group (RECCG), and Jim Fitzgerald. In addition to the final report, a Training and Technical Assistance Manual for Virginia Weatherization produced by COAD, RECCG, and Larry Kinney, was a product of the evaluation project.