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Federal Funds Expand Energy Efficiency in Hawai‘i

August 27, 2009
Maui Weekly
Hawai‘i will receive $1.6 million to contract for the installation of energy-efficient light fixtures, water heaters and other devices and to expand energy conservation education for low-income families, U.S. Sens. Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel K. Akaka announced last week. The funds come from the U.S. Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus legislation passed by Congress in February.

“In an era of rapidly fluctuating energy costs we must continue to encourage and implement energy efficient practices,” said Sen. Inouye. “Keeping utility costs down will help our residents make their way through the current recession and lessen our dependence on imported energy.”

 “This Recovery Act funding will save Hawai‘i residents money on their utility bills by improving the energy efficiency of their homes and in turn help reduce our state’s reliance on imported oil,” said Sen. Akaka.

Installation services include home compact fluorescent light fixtures and solar water heater systems for homes occupied by the elderly, the disabled, renters, and single families and multi-family residences. The money will be used to install energy-efficient devices in more than 650 homes across the state over the next three years.

On Maui, the Hawai‘i Office of Community Services (OCS) will administer the program through Maui Economic Opportunity Inc.

The Hawai‘i OCS will help provide training and technical assistance for the local agencies to ensure that the weatherization workforce is able to successfully carry out the goals of the program: reducing energy consumption and utility bills for low-income families, while creating and retaining jobs across the state.

After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, Hawai‘i will receive an additional $2 million, for a total of more than $4 million.

U.S. Representative Neil Abercrombie also recently announced that Hawai‘i residents will be able to apply for $1,235,985 in rebates for the purchase of new Energy Star-qualified home appliances. The funding is also part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Home appliances consume a huge amount of electricity, so we can save energy and save families money every month,” said Rep. Abercrombie. “These rebates will help families obtain more efficient appliances, and by encouraging such purchases nationwide, the rebate program will directly stimulate the country’s economy and create jobs.”

Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, helps consumers make energy efficient choices by identifying the most energy efficient products. It includes more than 60 product categories from 2,645 manufacturers of Energy Star qualified products.

To date, Hawai‘i has received more than $46 million in federal economic stimulus funding for energy efficiency.


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