The United States can build a low-carbon economy by retrofitting existing homes and businesses for energy efficiency, which would reduce waste and pollution, jumpstart an economic recovery, create good jobs and deliver energy cost savings, while reducing global warming, according to a new report. The report is calling on Congress and the Obama administration to ensure that investments will be made in weatherization and energy efficiency as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The $500-billion plan with public and private investment would retrofit 40 percent of the nation’s buildings within the next ten years, create about 625,000 full-time jobs, generate $32 billion to $64 billion in annual consumer energy cost savings, and reduce global warming pollution by 20 to 40 percent for 50 million homes and small businesses, according to a proposal released by the Center for American Progress and the Energy Future Coalition.
Rapidly improving the efficiency of existing buildings is essential to meeting clean energy and climate legislation recently passed by the House of Representatives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050, according to the report.
The report also identifies five key areas where focused national policy leadership is required immediately to launch a nationwide energy efficiency retrofit industry. These include technical assistance and capacity building, retrofit financing and cost recovery mechanisms, retrofit performance standards and quality assurance, smart codes and regulations and workforce development programs and job quality standards.
The plan to retrofit buildings, which consume 70 percent of all U.S. electricity and emit 40 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gases, will be discussed at an energy conference in Las Vegas, which is co-sponsored by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and the Center for American Progress, reports Bloomberg.