Impacts of the Weatherization Assistance Program in Fuel-Oil Heated Houses

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In 1990, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) initiated a national evaluation of its low-income Weatherization Assistance Program. This report, which is one of five parts of that evaluation, evaluates the energy savings and cost-effectiveness of the Program as it had been applied to single-family houses heated primarily by fuel-oil. The study was based upon a representative sample (41 local weatherization agencies, 222 weatherized and 115 control houses) from the nine northeastern states during 1991 and 1992 program years. Dwelling-specific and agency-level data on measures installed, costs, and service delivery procedures were collected from the sampled agencies. Space-heating fuel-oil consumption, ... continued below

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336 pages

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Levins, W.P. January 1, 1994.

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Description

In 1990, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) initiated a national evaluation of its low-income Weatherization Assistance Program. This report, which is one of five parts of that evaluation, evaluates the energy savings and cost-effectiveness of the Program as it had been applied to single-family houses heated primarily by fuel-oil. The study was based upon a representative sample (41 local weatherization agencies, 222 weatherized and 115 control houses) from the nine northeastern states during 1991 and 1992 program years. Dwelling-specific and agency-level data on measures installed, costs, and service delivery procedures were collected from the sampled agencies. Space-heating fuel-oil consumption, indoor temperature, and outdoor temperature were monitored at each house. Dwelling characteristics, air-leakage measurements, space-heating system steady-state efficiency measurements, safety inspections, and occupant questionnaires were also collected or performed at each monitored house. We estimate that the Program weatherized a total of 23,400 single-family fuel-oil heated houses in the nine northeastern states during program years 1991 and 1992. Annual fuel-oil savings were calculated using regression techniques to normalize the savings to standard weather conditions. For the northeast region, annual net fuel-oil savings averaged 160 gallons per house, or 17.7% of pre-weatherization consumption. Although indoor temperatures changed in individual houses following weatherization, there was no average change and no significant difference as compared to the control houses; thus, there was no overall indoor temperature takeback effect influencing fuel-oil savings. The weatherization work was performed cost effectively in these houses from the Program perspective, which included both installation costs and overhead and management costs but did not include non-energy benefits (such as employment and environmental). Total average costs were $1819 per house ($1192 for installation labor and materials, and $627 for overhead and management), and the benefit-to-cost ratio was 1.48. A general trend toward higher-than-average fuel-oil savings was observed in houses with high pre-weatherization fuel-oil consumption. Program savings could likely be increased by targeting higher energy consumers for weatherization, although equity issues would have to be considered. Weatherization measures associated with higher-than-average savings were use of a blower door for air-sealing, attic and wall insulation, and replacement space-heating systems. Space-heating system tune-ups were not particularly effective at improving the steady-state efficiency of systems, although other benefits such as improved seasonal efficiency, and system safety and reliability may have resulted. The Program should investigate methods of improving the selection and/or application of space-heating system tune-ups and actively promote improved tune-up procedures that have been developed as a primary technology transfer activity. Houses were more air-tight following weatherization, but still leakier than what is achievable. Additional technology transfer effort is recommended to increase the use of blower doors considering that only half the weatherized houses used a blower door during air sealing. A guidebook developed by a committee of experts and covering a full range of blower-door topics might be a useful technology transfer and training document. Weatherization appeared to make occupants feel better about their house and house environment.

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336 pages

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Jan 1994

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  • Report No.: ORNL/CON-327
  • Grant Number: AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/814051 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 814051
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc735803

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • January 1, 1994

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • March 31, 2016, 1:21 p.m.

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Levins, W.P. Impacts of the Weatherization Assistance Program in Fuel-Oil Heated Houses, report, January 1, 1994; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc735803/: accessed November 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.