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Montana

Renowned for its natural beauty and diverse ecological resources, about 60% of the state is considered Great Plains Prairie and the other 40% is rolling foothills and mountains. Grizzly bears, bison, wolves, elk, moose, mountain lions, and wolves still roam the wilds between Yellowstone National Park in the South and Glacier National Park in the far North. It is a large, rural state with few people and lots of open space. We just surpassed one million inhabitants in 2015.

The Montana Weatherization Assistance Program

The Montana WAP program began in Montana in 1980 and is headquartered in Helena at the Department of Health and Human Services in the Human and Community Services Division in the Intergovernmental Human Services Bureau (IHSB). Key personnel from the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs, the local utility company Northwestern Energy, the Human Resource Development Council, and the Montana Public Service Commission also serve as key advisors and organizers of the program.

The Weatherization network for the State of Montana consists of 11 offices and one training center. The offices are located at local Human Resource Development (HRDC) offices in major municipalities. Weatherization offices are found in: Glendive, Havre, Bozeman, Lewistown, Billings, Missoula, Butte, Kalispell, Great Falls, Helena, and the local Housing Authority for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Pablo, Montana. In total, including full time, part time, and administrative staff, the Montana Weatherization Program employs an estimated 120 people statewide with at least that many contractors. Many of our most dedicated personnel have been serving the program since 1986—that is 30 years of service and commitment! Like so many other states, our leaders are reaching retirement and Montana is looking to fill these positions with new and qualified workers to continue this critical work for the next 30 years!

The majority of the offices in Montana utilize full time crews, but there are several contractor-based offices as well. A few offices have full time furnace techs on staff, although, the majority of the state offices outsource furnace, plumbing, and electrical work to qualified local contractors.

Montana Weatherization Training Center

Since 1991, the Montana Weatherization Training Center (MTWTC) has supported the Montana Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) with training and technical assistance for installers, crew leaders, energy auditors, inspectors, furnace technicians, and program leaders. The Montana Weatherization Training Center began as a regional hub for DOE training covering 14 states. Currently, our operation area is more localized encompassing North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.

The Facility

The Montana Weatherization Training Center has been an Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) Accredited training facility since May of 2014. In February of 2015, the training center was approved as a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Certified Testing Center. There is a comprehensive pressure house and model home onsite as well as a state of the art furnace lab. The center also provides comprehensive health and safety training such as: First Aid/CPR/AED training, OSHA 10 and 30, EPA Lead courses (Renovator/RRP, Dust Sampling, Inspector, and Risk Assessor), and fit testing/respiratory care. Our facility is a little over 7,000 square feet and has a large meeting room, conference room, classroom, and training lab. The center hosts the Montana Weatherization Round Table and Technical Committee meetings and has hosted large reunions for groups such as the Weatherization Plus Health Conference.

The Future

In 2014, Benjamin Cichowski (Host of the www.WXTVonline.org series) took the helm as the Director of the Montana Weatherization Training Center. During his tenure the center has activated the BPI Test Center, expanded our training offerings considerably, become IREC accredited, and reinforced relationships with local contractors and our local municipality. The center looks forward to providing more local contractor training in the areas of blower doors, duct blasters, and infrared training as energy conservation code enforcement and building science is becoming more prevalent in Montana.

The Montana Weatherization Training Center would also like to thank John Davies and the entire staff of the Building Performance Center in Bellingham, Washington for training, ongoing support, and proctor mentorship during the opening of the Montana BPI Test Center.

If you want any further information on Montana’s program lease contact Jeffrey Moore at JeffreyMoore@Montana.edu, visit www.weatherization.org or call 406-586-0070.


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Energy OutWest

Energy OutWest (EOW) is an independent organization devoted to the advancement of knowledge and practice in the field of weatherization. EOW is a very active peer exchange organization directed by a board with representatives from fourteen states... View More

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