The day before the 40th Earth Day, VP Joe Biden kicked off a series of White House actions and announcements with an excellent initiative:
selection of 25 communities for up to $452 million in Recovery Act funding to “ramp-up” energy efficiency building retrofits. Under the Department of Energy’s Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative, communities, governments, private sector companies and non-profit organizations will work together on pioneering and innovative programs for concentrated and broad-based retrofits of neighborhoods and towns – and eventually entire states. These partnerships will support large-scale retrofits and make energy efficiency accessible to hundreds of thousands of homeowners and businesses. The models created through this program are expected to save households and businesses about a $100 million annually in utility bills, while leveraging private sector resources, to create what funding recipients estimate at about 30,000 jobs across the country during the next three years.
This is, truly, a terrific announcement: the movement of real funding into paths for ramping up energy efficiency building retrofitting capacities and actions.
Sadly, however, it is only a fraction of already stated demand and a miniscule fraction of what we should be doing.