After a slow start, the Dept. of Energy's stimulus act-funded program to weatherize hundreds of thousands of low-income homes has picked up steam, with more 300,000 homes upgraded.

While all of the American Recovery and Reinvestment-funded program's nearly $5 billion has been awarded to states, less than $2.2 billion actually has been spent in the form of outlays.

DOE Secretary Steven Chu announced on Jan. 19 that more than 300,000 low-income homes had been weatherized as of Nov. 30. The new total, which reflect reports received as of Jan. 18, brings the program past the half-way point toward its goal of 600,000 homes weatherized.

The work includes adding insulation, installing energy-efficient windows and upgrading heating and air-conditioning systems.

DOE's scorecard on ARRA spending progress shows that all of the measure's $4.975 billion has been awarded but only $2.18 billion had been outlaid, as of Jan. 14.

See DOE's funding scorecard for each of its ARRA programs at

The ARRA weatherization effort showed little progress in its initial months, with work finished on only 30,376 houses from February through December 2009. The stimulus measure was signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009.

But the pace picked up sharply in 2010. DOE reports show that more than 134,000 homes were weatherized with ARRA funds from June through November.

Among states, Ohio ranked first, with 23,441 homes weatherized with ARRA aid as of Nov. 30. California was second, with 21,185, followed by Texas (20,514), Illinois (18,862) and Pennsylvania (15,203).

Those figures represent totals since the start of the stimulus program in February 2009.