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University of Minnesota Extension

The Economic impact of Minnesota's weatherization programs

Key findings

  • Weatherization Assistance Programs (WAP) enable low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.

  • For every dollar spent in Minnesota on weatherization programs, an additional $1.09, on average, of economic activity is created in the state.

  • For each direct job funded by the program, an additional 0.77 jobs are generated in the state.

  • For every dollar earned by weatherization workers, an additional $0.86, on average, is earned by other workers in the state.

About this study

A recent economic impact analysis concludes weatherization work has a meaningfully significant impact on Minnesota communities. The impacts vary by region and by weatherization activity, but on average the programs create one additional dollar of economic output with every dollar of spending. This heightened impact is likely attributable to the availability of manufacturers and suppliers of weatherization products in Minnesota and to the vast network of weatherization service providers throughout the state.

The long-lived improvements of weatherization services result in substantial benefits for weatherization clients while improving the health and safety of their homes. WAP also generates economic activity in the local economy.

In order to quantify the economic impact of Weatherization Assistance Programs (WAP), University of Minnesota researchers used an input-output model. The model traces the flow of dollars throughout on economy and quantifies the economic effects (in dollars and employment) of spending for a specific activity. To get a true measure of regional weatherization spending activities, individual weatherization assistance program service providers in Minnesota were surveyed.

This analysis focuses only on the economic value generated per $1 of weatherization spending. These results hold true regardless of the funding source (federal, ARRA stimulus, etc). There is also a value to the dollars saved in energy costs and of social, physical and health improvements – which is not included in this study.

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Author: Brigid Tuck, Senior Economic Impact Analyst, Extension; David Nelson, Extension

Reviewed in 2010

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