Yesterday, the Center for American Progress released a report by Dr. Robert Pollin and the University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute economists titled “Green Recovery: A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy”. The report demonstrates how a new Green Recovery program that spends $100 billion over two years would create 2 million new jobs, with a significant proportion in the struggling construction and manufacturing sectors. It is clear from this research that greening of our economy is not only possible, but it will create more jobs (and better jobs) than our current economic trajectory.
One of the central approaches to this rapid green investment in communities is a large-scale building retrofit program – one of the easiest, readily available and cost-effective approaches to reducing energy consumption. But what is exciting about this report is that it shows the details of how such a program could not only reduce residential energy use, but would also spur rapid economic development.
The program detailed in the report suggests that these retrofits can be done entirely with existing technologies, such as high-performance windows, efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, geothermal heating and cooling systems, efficient lighting and day-lighting, building-integrated photovoltaic-powered energy, and the installation of efficient appliances. Existing federal programs, such as the DOE’s Weatherization program and LIHEAP (addressed in an FAS paper), could serve as vehicles for this swift investment.
In addition to these existing programs, the report calls for the U.S. government should set in place other programs requiring retrofits for all public buildings, as well as programs of strong financial incentives of loan guarantees and tax credits to promote privately owned residential retrofits.
FAS is plesased to see residential building retrofits as one of the major pieces of the Center for American Progress’s argument. Read the full report here.