By Denver Business Journal

Colorado received access to another $39.5 million in federal stimulus funding for weatherization of homes Wednesday after becoming one of the first states in the nation to reach 30 percent of its stated goal for weatherizing homes so far.

The U.S. Department of Energy made the announcement in a conference call with Gov. Bill Ritter. Matt Rogers, the department⿿s senior adviser for Recovery Act implementation, said the reaching of the milestone ⿿continues to show Colorado providing leadership.⿝

The state received a commitment last year for $79 million toward weatherization of homes as part of $584 million it was awarded in energy-efficiency stimulus funding. But like all states, it was given access to only half of that money until it hit 30 percent of its goal.

Coloradoâ¿¿s goal was to weatherize the homes of 10,500 low-income individuals with the stimulus money, and so far it completed work on 3,379 of those residences, Rogers said. That work is saving Colorado residents $1.5 million on energy bills on an annual basis, he said.

By partnering with 11 agencies across the state, including Denver-based Veterans Green Jobs, the state has been able to create 150 jobs and sustain another 250, Ritter said.

The Governorâ¿¿s Energy Office (GEO) plans to complete work on another 6,000 homes with the stimulus funding in the next year, as well as another 2,000 homes with its annual weatherization allocation from the energy department, Ritter said.

Doug Karl, weatherization director for the GEO, said he expects the rate of job growth due to the grant to be slower in the ensuing year, though there are still openings for installers, auditors and other professionals at the 11 participating agencies.

⿿If it does nothing more than these 250 jobs, that⿿s a good thing. That⿿s definitely a good thing,⿝ Ritter said. ⿿All told, this is doing what we hoped it would do.⿝

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals

Copyright 2010