GAO Recovery Act Weatherization Assistance Program Survey

U.S. Government Accountability Office

This document is a companion to GAO's issued report entitled Recovery Act: Progress and Challenges in Spending Weatherization Funds, GAO-12-195 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 16, 2011). We conducted a web-based survey of weatherization program recipients to help determine the extent that the weatherization program, which received Recovery Act funds, spent those funds, met monitoring requirements, and achieved program goals. We asked recipients in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, 5 territories, and 2 tribes to provide information on their experience with the program and the extent to which they found certain aspects of the program implementation challenging from April 2009 through the end of the funding in 2012.

View the full report at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-195

Introduction

  The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), a research arm of Congress, has been asked to review the use of Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) funds awarded through the Recovery Act. As part of this study, we are sending this questionnaire to all WAP Recovery Act fund recipients. GAO would like to understand your experience and progress using the funds. Your participation is extremely important to us and will help inform Congress on the progress of achieving Recovery Act goals and ways to improve WAP.

While your participation is voluntary, we encourage 100 percent participation. Please note your survey responses will not be individually identified in the report.

To learn more about completing the survey, printing your responses, and who to contact if you have questions, click here for help.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in taking part in our survey.
 
 

General Information

  Please note that all questions below are in reference to your state's experience with the ARRA-funded Weatherization Assistance Program.
 
  1. Please provide the following information for the organization and the person primarily responsible for completing this survey in case we need to contact you to clarify a response.

  Contact name (first and last):  
  Title:  
  Organization name:  
  Telephone (Include area code):  
  E-mail address:  
 
  2. Has your state received the remaining 50% of ARRA funds from DOE?

(Go here)
 
  a. If yes, when did you receive the remaining funds?
 
  Month
(mm)
 
  Day
(dd)
 
  Year
(yyyy)
 
 
  b. If no, please indicate the reason you have not received the remaining funds.

   
Yes
No
Don't know
No response
  i. 30 percent of homes planned not yet weatherized
  ii. Other requirements not met (Please specify below)
 
  Please specify the other requirement(s) not met.
 
  3. For each of the categories below, please fill in the appropriate number of ARRA-funded FTEs for your state program staff. Count the state program staff FTEs in the same way you calculated FTEs for the 1512 reports. Please do not round the FTE numbers.
 
 

Staff Type
  As of September 30, 2009
  As of March 31, 2011
 

a. Monitoring
 

 
 

 
 

b. All Other
 

 
 

 
 

Use of Funds

  4. Did you use Recovery Act funds as leverage to obtain other funds for weatherization activities?

(Go here)
 
  a. If yes, did you obtain additional funds from the following entities?
   
Yes
No
Don't know
No response
  i. Utility
  ii. Landlord
  iii. Property owner
  iv. States
  v. Other (Please specify below)
 
  Please specify the other entity.
 
  5. Which of the following, if any, were challenges for ______ in the use of ARRA funds for weatherization in the following periods?
 
April 1, 2009- March 31, 2010
April 1, 2010- March 31, 2011
Remaining challenges as of April 1, 2011
  a. Complying with historic preservation requirements
 
 
 
  b. State-level energy auditors lacking training or expertise
 
 
 
  c. Determining methodology for calculating $6,500 maximum average cost per home
 
 
 
  d. Determining and documenting income eligibility
 
 
 
  e. Implementing Davis-Bacon requirements
 
 
 
  f. Having insufficient number of administrative staff
 
 
 
 
April 1, 2009- March 31, 2010
April 1, 2010- March 31, 2011
Remaining challenges as of April 1, 2011
  g. Implementing new program requirements that were developed as program progressed
 
 
 
  h. Lacking expertise in weatherizing multi-family units
 
 
 
  i. Lacking infrastructure at state level to handle the large influx of money from the Recovery Act
 
 
 
  j. Planning for "cliff effect" (i.e., decline in funding after ARRA funding expires in March 2012)
 
 
 
  k. Other (Please explain below)
 
 
 
 
  If you selected "other" in question 5, please explain:
 
  6. Which of the following, if any, were challenges for your sub-grantees in the use of ARRA funds for weatherization in the following periods?
 
April 1, 2009- March 31, 2010
April 1, 2010- March 31, 2011
Remaining challenges as of April 1, 2011
  a. Complying with historic preservation requirements
 
 
 
  b. Sub-grantee level energy auditors lacking training or expertise
 
 
 
  c. Having insufficient number of administrative staff
 
 
 
  d. Implementing new program requirements that were developed as program progressed
 
 
 
 
April 1, 2009- March 31, 2010
April 1, 2010- March 31, 2011
Remaining challenges as of April 1, 2011
  e. Lacking expertise in weatherizing multi-family units
 
 
 
  f. Lacking infrastructure at sub-grantee level to handle the large influx of money from the Recovery Act
 
 
 
  g. Planning for "cliff effect" (i.e., decline in funding after ARRA funding expires in March 2012)
 
 
 
  h. Other (Please explain below)
 
 
 
 
  If you selected "other" in question 6, please explain:
 
  7. Other than ARRA funds, did you obtain revenue for your state's weatherization work from the following entities?
   
Yes
No
Don't know
No response
  a. DOE Appropriation
  b. LIHEAP
  c. State Programs
  d. Utilities
  e. Other (Please specify below)
 
  Please specify the other sources:
 

Monitoring

  8. Between April 1, 2010 - March 31, 2011, on average, how often were you contacted by the following to discuss substantive issues such as reports and data submitted, and program challenges?
 
 

a. Telephone
  DOE project officers

  DOE monitoring staff other than project officers
 

b. Onsite visit
 

 

 
  9. Between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011, did you discuss the following issues or topics with your DOE project officer?
   
Yes
No
Don't know
No response
  a. Best practices for the weatherization program
  b. Budget issues
  c. Existing barriers to meeting weatherization program goals
  d. DOE monitoring of your state
 
   
Yes
No
Don't know
No response
  e. Scheduling meetings
  f. Reminders for data collection and submission
  g. Amendments to ARRA state plans
  h. State monitoring of sub-grantees
  i. Other issues or topics (Please explain below)
 
  If you select "other issues or topics" in question 9, please specify.
 
  10. Between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011, how frequently did you conduct on-site fiscal and administrative reviews of your sub-grantees?
 
  11. Between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011, how frequently did you conduct desktop reviews of your sub-grantees?
 
  12. How many on-site inspections for ARRA-funded, completed units did you conduct between April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011? Do not include the number of inspections for "in progress" units.

  Single Family Units  
  Mulit Family Units  
 
  13. Which of the following, if any, were comprehensive monitoring challenges for ______ in monitoring sub-grantees during the following periods?
 
  a. Adjusting to changes in existing reporting requirements for monitoring
  April 1, 2009- March 31, 2010
  April 1, 2010- March 31, 2011
  Remaining challenges as of April 1, 2011
  b. Conducting the required number of monitoring visits
 
 

 

 

  c. Ensuring consistency in monitoring results
 
 

 

 

  d. Having additional reporting requirements for monitoring
 
 

 

 

  e. Having too few monitoring staff
 
 

 

 

 
  f. Lacking expertise in monitoring multi-family units
 
  April 1, 2009- March 31, 2010
  April 1, 2010- March 31, 2011
  Remaining challenges as of April 1, 2011
  g. Lacking trained monitoring staff
 
 

 

 

  h. Lacking staff to appropriately handle external monitoring (DOE-IG, state-level auditors, consultants)
 
 

 

 

  i. Meeting federal reporting requirements (FederalReporting.gov and PAGE)
 
 

 

 

  j. Meeting state's requirements to monitor sub-grantees
 
 

 

 

  k. Other (Please explain below)
 
 

 

 

 
  If you selected "other" in question 13, please explain:
 

Guidance

  14. During each of the following periods, how helpful was DOE's ARRA weatherization program guidance (which includes the usefulness, clarity, and the methods for communicating program guidance)?
   
Not helpful
Somewhat helpful
Very helpful
Don't know
No response
  a. April 1, 2009-March 31, 2010
  b. April 1, 2010-March 31, 2011
  c. April 1, 2011-current
 
  15. During each of the following periods, how timely was the DOE's ARRA weatherization program guidance?
   
Not timely
Somewhat timely
Very timely
Don't know
No response
  a. April 1, 2009-March 31, 2010
  b. April 1, 2010-March 31, 2011
  c. April 1, 2011-current
 

Outcomes and Reporting

  16. In what ways, if any, has ______ used the recipient reporting data, such as job and related outcome data, from Recovery.gov?
 
  17. Are you collecting information from your sub-grantees on how they use recipient reporting data from Recovery.gov?
(Go here)
(Go here)
(Go here)
 
  a. If yes, in what ways (e.g., surveys, phone discussions) are you obtaining this information from subgrantees?
 
  18. How did you calculate the number of ARRA-funded FTEs for the most recent quarter - beginning January 1, 2011 and ending March 31, 2011? You reported ______ FTEs in Round 7 to FederalReporting.gov.
 
  a. Describe the tools used to calculate the FTEs.
 
  19. What data quality review procedures or steps did you follow to ensure the reliability of the total number of FTEs?
 

Achieving Program Goals

  20. Which of the following, if any, were challenges for ______ in achieving weatherization program goals during the following periods?
 
  a. Adjusting to changes in existing reporting requirements
 
  April 1, 2009- March 31, 2010
  April 1, 2010- March 31, 2011
  Remaining challenges as of April 1, 2011
  b. Determining how to measure cost savings (i.e., dollar savings)
 
 

 

 

  c. Determining how to measure long-term energy savings (i.e., savings measured in MBTUs)
 
 

 

 

  d. Balancing training & technical assistance requirements with production targets
 
 

 

 

  e. Having additional reporting requirements
 
 

 

 

  f. Lacking experience weatherizing multi-family units
 
 

 

 

 
  g. Balancing the requirements to meet production targets and to ensure the work is done correctly
 
  April 1, 2009- March 31, 2010
  April 1, 2010- March 31, 2011
  Remaining challenges as of April 1, 2011
  h. Meeting certification and training requirements
 
 

 

 

  i. Meeting production targets
 
 

 

 

  j. Other (Please explain below)
 
 

 

 

 
  If you selected "other" in question 20, please explain:
 
  21. If you have any comments about any of the topics covered in this survey or would like to elaborate on any of your responses, please use the space below.

 
  IMPORTANT: Please continue to the next screen to submit your final responses to GAO.
 

Submit Your Final Responses to GAO

  22. Are you ready to submit your final completed survey to GAO?
(This is equivalent to mailing a completed paper survey to us. It tells us that your answers are official and final.)

 
  You may view and print your completed survey by clicking on the Summary link in the menu to the left..




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