Categorized | Business, Energy

Stimulus funds aid low-income families with energy retrofits


Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona, Jr. has announced three state departments are teaming up to use $3.4 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to provide low-income Hawaii residents with energy efficiency retrofits.

The collaboration by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), and Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) is part of a broader effort through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy grant program to help Hawaii residents reduce energy consumption and costs.

“This partnership between DBEDT, DHHL and DLIR fits well with our Administration’s clean energy policy and will create a new energy efficiency program that directly benefits Hawaii’s residents,” Aiona said. “This collaborative effort enhances our Administration’s commitment to provide clean energy solutions that will enable us to get closer to meeting the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative’s goal of 70 percent clean energy by 2030.”

DBEDT has approved the allocation of $2.9 million to the DHHL to provide energy efficient retrofits and services (solar water heating systems, CFL light kits, energy audits, education/training to families, etc.) to low-income family homes to reduce energy consumption and related costs.

“Energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce our over dependence on fossil fuels and has a direct impact on helping Hawaii’s families reduce their energy costs,” said Theodore E. Liu, director of DBEDT. “We look forward to continuing our successful collaboration with DHHL and DLIR and move our state forward in meeting our clean energy goals.”

The DHHL has entered into an agreement with the DLIR’s Office of Community Services to work together to have contractors retrofit 400 homestead homes statewide over 18 months, grow and sustain jobs in the local clean energy industry, reduce household electric bills by 30 percent per year (or 5 barrels of oil per household), and deliver comprehensive data on energy usage and costs savings on all participants of the program.

In turn, four contractors were hired by DLIR to provide the aforementioned services to DHHL beneficiaries, namely Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Honolulu Community Action Program, Maui Economic Opportunities and Dowling Corporation.

“This partnership among DHHL and our fellow state agencies is another example of how we are implementing our energy policy (Hoomaluo) while supporting the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative,” said Kaulana Park, chairman of DHHL. “This will reduce energy consumption, save money and help to educate our homestead families about energy efficiency.”

The DLIR will be provided with $500,000 in ARRA funds to assist in their Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which also targets eligible low-income families. These funds will be used to provide more efficient refrigerators, heat pump water heaters, smart strips, water efficient showerheads and faucets, and conducting home audits; replacement items will vary by island.

“The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is pleased to be the implementing agency for this important initiative which creates jobs in our economy and promotes energy efficiency,” said Pearl Imada-Iboshi, director of DLIR.

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