Offical Nebraska Government Webpage
Insulating Attic   LOW INCOME WEATHERIZATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
 
Weatherization enables low-income families in Nebraska to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.
Income Limits
Typical Improvements
Local Contacts
Frequently Asked Questions
Number of Homes Weatherized
History of the Weatherization Program
Proven Results of Weatherization
Weatherization Assistance Center
Weatherization Training Center



The Nebraska Energy Office has achieved Lead-Safe certification by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule.
 

Help With Paying Utility Bills
The Weatherization Assistance Program does not provide help in paying utility bills. Use one of the links below to apply for bill paying assistance or to file a complaint about your utility.

Information and Contacts
Nebraska Public Service Commission Complaint Form



   Income Limits for Free Improvements

To receive free weatherization services for your home, your income must fall below 200% of the federal poverty level, which is revised annually.
Note: Households with persons receiving either ADC (Aid to Dependent Children) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are automatically eligible for free weatherization.


2013 Poverty Income Guidelines — 200% of Poverty Level
Effective January 24, 2013

Household Size

Maximum Household Income

1

$22,980

2

$31,020

3

$39,060

4

$47,100

5

$55,140

6

$63,180

7

$71,220

8

$79,260

For Each Additional Family Member Add

$4,020


For more specific information about the Weatherization Assistance Program, contact your local service provider or contact Tom Tabor at the Nebraska Energy Office.

 

wall insulation  Typical
  Improvements

If you meet the income requirements and are approved for weatherization assistance services in Nebraska, your home will be evaluated to identify the most effective energy and dollar saving improvements which can be made. The amount of money that can be spent on each home is limited, so all of the improvements listed below may not be made in each home.

Possible Improvements
  • Add insulation to the attic, walls and/or floors. If insulation is added, holes may be drilled in the siding and vents may be added to the roof. RESULT: The amount of heat loss through the walls, ceilings and floors will be reduced.
  • Perform an efficiency inspection on natural gas, propane and fuel oil furnaces, boilers and water heaters. RESULT: More heat will be gained from the same amount of fuel used.
  • Replace broken glass in primary windows. RESULT: The amount of cold air coming in will be reduced.
  • Install or adjust door weatherstripping, thresholds, and/or door sweeps. RESULT: The amount of cold air coming in will be reduced.
After the improvements are made, you should notice the following:
  • An increase in comfort — reduced drafts and a more even temperature throughout your home.
  • Your heating and cooling bills should be reduced.
  • You should need less energy to heat and cool your home.

Weatherization: What to Expect
Many weatherization service providers utilize "whole house weatherization." Under this approach, providers evaluate the house as a single energy-consuming system, rather than a loose collection of unrelated systems. This approach finds the best combination of methods for reducing total energy consumption in a house.

The first step in whole-house weatherization, and perhaps most important one, is to evaluate a house. Trained technicians use advanced computer software and diagnostic equipment to identify the most cost-effective energy-saving improvements for a particular home during an energy audit.

Air Leakage Control
Reducing the leakage of cold outside air into the house in winter — or hot outside air in the summer — is the most common type of weatherization improvement made in a home. Typically, work crews add caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors to reduce drafts. Old, drafty homes are not only uncomfortable, but they are also very costly to heat and cool.

Tests using blower doors reveal more precisely the holes in the building envelope where outside air infiltrates into the house. Such holes often occur near the base of the building and near the roof and are unobservable to the naked eye.

Blower Door
The blower door is one of many tools that is used to assess a home for health, safety, durability and energy efficiency. With the assistance of a blower door, air leakage tests are conducted to measure and quantify the air tightness of a house. The blower door will depressurize the house, sending air out through a fan and bringing air in from leaks in the building’s exterior.

With the readings from the gauges and house volume calculations, how well a home is ventilated can be determined. At this point, technicians walk around and look for the leaks in the building envelope. Sealing leaks to the exterior of the home — and blower door testing after the leaks have been sealed — will quantify the results and assess the need for additional sealing.

Insulation
Making sure there is enough insulation in the walls, foundation and roof — anywhere there is a barrier between the home and the outside — is one of the most important ways to make a home energy efficient. As a result, insulation is a part of almost every weatherization project.

Installing insulation with a uniform coverage and density is very important because the wall cavities are like chimneys. Air leakage can greatly reduce insulation’s thermal performance. The installer must inspect walls for structural soundness of the home before any insulation is added.

Heating Efficiency Improvements
In some cases, furnaces may be replaced because of cracked heat exchangers or severe malfunction. Removing such hazards from homes reduces fires, injuries and health problems for occupants.

A safety inspection of the heating system is performed first, including:

  • Test for carbon monoxide in the air in the living space and in the combustion appliance zone.
  • Check for fuel leaks using a combustible gas detector.
  • Inspect the wiring to the appliance.
  • Check the vent connections and clearances.
  • Inspect for safety devices

A combustion test is performed to collect information on safety and efficiency. The system is also tested to make sure it does not backdraft in adverse conditions, such as when all the ventilation fans are operating in the house. Fans can have an impact on the how well a heating system vents.

Improving Health and Safety
Weatherization work crews always examine energy-related health and safety issues in the home. This is especially important when dealing with heating equipment because faulty equipment can be hazardous to those who live there.

Client Education
An important component of the weatherization process is client education. Client lifestyle choices can play a big role in determining the amount of energy and money actually saved. Clients are provided with tips on saving energy and information on how to maintain the energy efficiency improvements that have been made.

  Local Contacts

Seven, non-profit organizations provide local weatherization services. They are responsible for establishing eligibility, performing an energy audit on the residence and scheduling the weatherization work. Click on the map below to find weatherization services in your area. Please remember that weatherization services can only be provided if the state has funds available. Weatherization assistance is not an entitlement program, meaning you are not guaranteed the services just because you are eligible. Congress provides a certain amount of money for weatherization assistance which varies from year to year. Please be patient if you are put on a waiting list. Your home will be weatherized as soon as possible.


                     Local Community Action Agency Service Areas



Webster County Adams County Kearney County Nuckolls County Clay County Perkins County Polk County Douglas County Washington Coutny Burt County Thurston County Antelope County Boone County Cuming County Dodge County Butler County Fillmore County Franklin County Knox County Wayne County Madison County Colfax County Saunders County Lincoln County Thayer County Pawnee Phelps County Harlan County Jefferson County Dawson County Sarpy County Platte County Stantion County Pearce County Cedar County Dixon County Dakota County Nance County Merrick County Buffalo County Otoe County Gosper County Rock County Boyd County Wheeler County Greeley County Valley County Hall County Saline County Furnas County Johnson County Frontier County Garfield County Custer County Sherman County Hamilton County Lancaster County Red Willow County Grant County Cherry County Keya Paha County Holt County Arthur County Howard County York County Pawnee County Hitchcock County Gage County Keith County Hooker County Hayes County Dundy County Seward County Mc Pherson County Logan County Chase County Cass County Loup County Blaine County Thomas County Brown County Morrill County Box Butte County Dawes County Cheyenne County Sheridan County Garden County Deuel County Sioux County ScottsBluff County Banner County Kimball County Richardson Nemaha



Local Service Providers
Blue Valley Community Action Partnership
Central Nebraska Community Services
Community Action of Nebraska
Northeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership
Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties
Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska
Northwest Community Action Partnership
Southeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership

More Information
U.S. Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program
Weatherization Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center

    Frequently Asked Questions

What is weatherization?

Weatherization makes homes more energy efficient. Weatherization of a home typically involves the installation of attic, wall and floor insulation and sealing holes and cracks with caulking, weather-stripping and other types of materials. In addition, all furnaces, cooking stoves and water heaters receive a safety inspection. Weatherization services do not include roof replacement, siding repairs or replacement windows.

Who is eligible to receive weatherization services?
An estimated 51,000 Nebraska households are eligible for weatherization assistance services. Preference is given to persons over 60, persons with disabilities, and families with children under six.

Eligibility is limited to households with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Eligibility income levels rise based on the number of persons living in the home. Income guidelines are listed here. Households containing a member who is receiving either Aid to Dependent Children or Supplemental Security Income are automatically eligible to receive services.

How can I receive home weatherization services?
Eight, non-profit organizations provide local weatherization services. They are responsible for establishing eligibility, performing an energy audit on the residence and scheduling the weatherization work. Click here to find the weatherization provider in your area.

Congress provides funds for weatherization assistance which varies from year to year. Please be patient if you are put on a waiting list. Your home will be weatherized as soon as possible. Click here to learn the average number of homes weatherized in your area.

Are renters eligible for weatherization services?
Yes, both homeowners and renters are eligible, whether you live in a single-family home, multi-family housing complex, or a mobile home, you can apply for assistance. However, renters must receive written permission from their landlords to weatherize their homes or rental units.

Is there a charge for weatherization services?
All weatherization services are provided at no cost. However, if a furnace or water heater in a rental home is found to be unsafe, it is the responsibility of the property owner to replace or repair the appliance before weatherization of the home can begin.

Can mobile homes be weatherized?
Yes, typical improvements to mobile homes include underbelly insulation, storm windows and sealing air leaks.

Does weatherization reduce heating bills?
Weatherization reduces your energy bills for a long time. After a home has been weatherized, energy used for heating is often reduced by up to 25 percent. Some improvements, such as insulating your walls or attic, for example, will continue to provide savings for the lifetime of the home -- 30 years or more. Other improvements, such as making heating or cooling equipment more efficient, will provide savings for 10 to 15 years. On average, the value of the weatherization improvements to a house is 2.2 times greater than the cost of the improvement itself.

Can a home receive weatherization services every year?
A home may be weatherized only once, except that homes weatherized before October 1, 1993 may be reweatherized.

What are the alternatives to waiting for weatherization assistance?

  • The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP may be an option. You may be eligible for short-term assistance on your utility bill.
  • Assistance to individuals in a natural disaster may be another, but limited, option. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, provides a number of services to assist individuals who are victims of a natural disaster. These services include low-interest loans, some cash grants, and links to assistance from other agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service and Farm Service Agency.
  • Dollar and Energy Saving Loans may be an option for making home weatherization improvements. Any improvement that can be completed under the weatherization program can also be financed with loans from the Energy Office and participating lenders. There are no income restrictions for loans. Lenders determine an applicant's credit worthiness.

What happens to a home that is weatherized?
Staff from your local or regional community action agency conducts an assessment or energy audit of the home. The agency is a nonprofit local weatherization or regional agency trained in home weatherization. The energy audit is a computerized assessment of your home's energy use and an analysis of which energy saving improvements are best for your home.

Once the audit is complete, the auditor or weatherization staff member will meet with the homeowner or renter to explain how the work crews will conduct the work. Depending on the assessment, some homes will receive more work than others. The average value of weatherization services provided is $6,500.

Throughout the weatherization process, the health and safety of a household is a priority. Following the weatherization, a Weatherization Assistance Program Inspector will visit to make certain that everything is working properly and that nothing was missed. Learn how specific home weatherization improvements save energy.


 
   Number of Homes Weatherized


The number of homes that can be weatherized in any given year is dependent on the amount of funding allocated by Congress to the Weatherization Assistance Program.

In Nebraska, funds are divided among the local Community Action organizations that provide weatherization services to Nebraskans. The amount given to each organization is based on several factors including the number of low income Nebraskans living in the counties served by the local Community Action organization.

The map below illustrates the number of homes in local Community Action organizations that were weatherized in 2012.




 
   History of the Weatherization Program

More than 30 Years
The Nebraska Energy Office administers this federally-funded program for weatherizing homes to save money and energy.

Since the Weatherization Assistance Program began in 1979, $123.96 million has been spent to make energy efficiency improvements in 64,662 homes. In 2010, maximum household income levels were revised to 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, making free home weatherization available to thousands more Nebraskans than last year. Energy savings resulting from the energy efficiency improvements made typically last 20 years or longer. Conservatively, estimated savings for the 30 years total $101.2 million. About $4.4 million in new savings accrue annually.

Other Impacts
Energy expenses comprise an economic drain on low-income communities. Often, energy bills account for more than 20 percent of a family’s gross income. Typically, more than 80 percent of this expense leaves the community.

In contrast, weatherization reduces this drain and keeps investments circulating in local economies. For individual families the gain is immediate — up to 18.7 percent in Nebraska, and an average annual savings on utility bills of $126.

Weatherization investments in housing stock aid upkeep and increase the value of housing in these communities. By reducing long-term energy costs, weatherization makes these housing units more affordable.

Weatherization can also have an impact on low-income communities by stimulating the local home energy efficiency industry. The mainstay of this industry consists of the local service providers — mostly community action agencies in Nebraska — that make the improvements in the homes. These jobs represent a significant source of economic development through what economists call the "multiplier effect." This effect describes the phenomenon whereby money circulates in local economies and is used to measure local economic development. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates conservatively an economic multiplier of three from the investment in weatherization services in the homes of low-income Americans.


 
   Proven Results of Weatherization

Periodically, the Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program in Nebraska is evaluated to analyze its effectiveness and to find ways to increase the energy and dollar savings of those receiving the free services. Similar studies are also conducted across the nation.

The Energy, Economic and Environmental Impacts Of the Nebraska Energy Office’s Dollar and Energy Savings Loan Program and Weatherization Assistance Program, September 2012

Nebraska Evaluation, 1993-1994 and 1994-1995

The average home weatherized during program years 1993/94 and 1994/95 saved an average of 18.7% of total consumption of the fuel used for heating. This resulted in an average reduction of $126 in annual utility bills. Due to the decrease in energy use, these homes also contributed to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. On average, each home reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 2,297 pounds, sulfur dioxide emissions by 0.435 pound, and nitrogen oxides by 0.706 pound.

Click here for the complete study.


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