Thursday, October 22, 2009

Green Industry Building

"By implementing Recovery Through Retrofit's recommendations, the Federal Government will lay the groundwork for a self-sustaining home energy efficiency retrofit industry."

Middle Class Task Force and Council and Environmental Quality, Recovery Through Retrofit, October 2009.

This report provides a sensible list of steps for overcoming barriers related to consumer access to information, access to financing and access to skilled workers. Simple, straightforward, good ideas. Together with the $80 billion in ARRA investments for energy and energy efficiency,it seems like we really have a shot at jumpstarting a large-scale energy retrofit industry.

What I didn't see was any mention of national climate change legislation or local and state policy frameworks for reducing carbon emissions, promoting local energy production or setting goals for energy efficiency. Maybe the point is that we can make some amount of progress without them -- or small steps can encourage these big steps. My observations of local and state weatherization people is that they are mired in the details -- and not looking big picture. Maybe they will emerge from ARRA reporting, etc. but building an industry from the ground up will require some vision and leadership.

Incentives help. A policy nudge makes it serious.

1 comment:

homework said...

the other thing i wanted to see in there was local ordinances to ensure high labor/employment standards on publicly owned energy efficient retrofit projects (i.e. project labor/local hiring agreements). i agree with your observation about the local agencies doing weatherization (based on what im seeing here in MA). one issue is that there is a huge focus on scaling up production to serve as many low inc households as possible and less thought about how these jobs could serve the interests of some of the agencies' low icnome clients in the long run.