Commentary: 'Cash for Caulkers' makes sense

Federal stimulus money is helping to weatherize hundreds of houses for low-income Kansas Citians this winter. It's a local success story, so far.

But a broader program is needed to help more Americans insulate their homes and take other actions to reduce their annual energy bills.

In Kansas City, stimulus funds of about $5,000 a house have been used to finish weatherization work at almost 200 residences in the last few months. Almost 200 other jobs are in various stages of completion and follow-up inspections.

Bob Jackson of the Housing and Community Development Department says the city is on pace to use all of its allotted stimulus money to weatherize about 1,350 houses by March of 2012.

Much of the recent work has included new furnaces, water heaters, foam insulation, compact fluorescent bulbs and actions aimed at slashing heating and cooling expenses for low-income residents. Jackson also expects to soon be able to replace inefficient refrigerators, which use a lot of energy.

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