DOE Weatherization Program: A Review of Funding, Performance, and Cost-Effectiveness Studies [January 11, 2012] [open pdf - 531KB]
From the Summary: "This report analyzes the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Weatherization Assistance Program. (WAP, the 'program'). It provides background--a brief history of funding, program evolution, and program activity--and a review of program assessments and benefit-cost evaluations. [...] Over the program's history, DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Office of Management and Budget have used process and impact evaluation research methods to assess WAP operations and estimate cost-effectiveness. Virtually all the studies conducted through 2005 showed that the program was moderately cost effective. The studies included measures of operational effectiveness, energy savings, and non-energy benefits. The timing of past studies was a bit sporadic, driven mainly by new statutory requirements and program audits. Performance assessments have alternately identified improvements in program operations or identified operational problems that subsequently stimulated program improvements. Only the intensive evaluation study of program year 1989 (published in 1993) was designed to directly draw a national sample to produce empirical data on program cost-effectiveness. Such in-depth evaluations are costly and time-consuming. Most other 'metaevaluations' were much less costly, using available state-level evaluation studies as the basis to infer national-level program impacts. [...] The report concludes by reviewing the debate over the use of 'outside' contractors to improve the objectivity and independence of weatherization program evaluations."
CRS Report for Congress, R42147