Weatherization at Scale Coalition

Goal: By 2030, weatherize 120,000 total (90,000 additional) homes, particularly of low-to-moderate income Vermonters  – including renters.

The frame work of Vermont’s ambitious climate goals and requirements is built on the foundation of energy efficiency, yet we have not mobilized the funds required to invest in weatherization at scale to shift the trajectory of our greenhouse gas emissions, while also providing financial savings and improved home safety and comfort to Vermonters. A pitch at the 2020 EAN Summit proposed a massive recapitalization of Vermont’s weatherization investment to fund 90,000 new home retrofits for low- and moderate-income households over the next decade.  That pitch resulted in the formation of the Weatherization at Scale Coalition.

The focus of the Weatherization at Scale Coalition is increasing the pace of weatherization of Vermont homes and businesses, with a specific focus on housing for low and moderate income Vermont residents.  We define weatherization as improving the building thermal envelope (i.e. air sealing, insulating, windows) to increase energy efficiency of homes, reduce energy costs for residents, and improve health and safety.  This includes a range of efficiency improvements from a 25% reduction in energy consumption to a more comprehensive standard.

While the focus of this coalition is primarily on weatherization, in many cases there are advantages to combining weatherization with installation of energy technologies that are more efficient and less polluting, addressing issues in the home which prevent weatherization, preparing the home for electrification, and/or making other health and safety improvements to the home.  Weatherization programs and policies which take a whole-home approach, and support workforce development, will be prioritized by the Coalition.

Structure and Progress of Weatherization Coalition

Since 2020, a broad, multi-sector coalition of partners has helped to secure significant increases in funding for weatherization, including through creation of an innovative on-bill financing mechanism (the Weatherization Repayment Assistance Pilot or WRAP).  Ad hoc and ongoing working groups have also been collaborating to address other needs for scaling up weatherization, such as growing the weatherization workforce and defining technical approaches to weatherization.

Weatherization Funding

Weatherization needs long-term, stable, and growing funding to meet VT climate requirements. State monies, ARPA, IRA, and Act 18 are key funding sources for Wx, but looking ahead, funding gaps remain, and long term funding for weatherization is difficult to plan for.   That said, significant funding was made available for Weatherization in Vermont’s 2021 and 2022 budgets.

Vermont’s State budget in 2022 included:

  • $45 million between 2022-2026 to support the Weatherization Assistance Program for households with low incomes.
  • $35 million between 2022-2026 to support market rate weatherization incentives.

Vermont’s State budget in 2021 included:

  • $9 million to support a Weatherization Repayment Assistance Pilot (WRAP) through Vermont Housing Finance Agency
  • $5 million to Efficiency Vermont for weatherization incentives
  • $2 million to Efficiency Vermont and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont for workforce development and expansion of the Heat Squad program.
  • $4 million to the Office of Economic Opportunity for the Home Weatherization Assistance Program
  • $1.5 million to support Financial and Clean Energy Coaches

Both Senator Leahy and Senator Sanders recommended fiscal year 2023 Congressionally Directed Spending to support this work, with a $8.5M for Clean Heat Homes recommendation by Senator Leahy and $1.75 M for a Climate Workforce Training Center by Senator Sanders.  Senator Leahy’s CDS was incorporated into the 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

Coalition Members

Burlington Electric Department – Capstone Community Action – Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity – Community Action Agencies – Efficiency Vermont – Energy Futures Group – Green Mountain Power – Neighborworks of Western VT – Preservation Trust of Vermont – Rights and Democracy – Regulatory Assistance Project – Vermont Agency of Natural Resources – Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity – Vermont Passive House – Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) – Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) – Vermont Public Power Supply Authority (VPPSA) – Vermont Gas (VGS) – VSECU – VT Department of Public Service – VT Office of Economic Opportunity – VT Legislators – Interested citizens

Additional Resources 

Video of this Pitch at the October 2020 EAN Summit

If you are interested in learning more or getting involved in this coalition, please contact Cara Robechek

Note: Network Action Team projects were selected by the Network membership through a competitive process at the EAN annual summit. Although Network members may support specific policy actions as part of their work on these Action Teams, EAN staff serve in the role of neutral convener and refrain from advocating for specific policies.