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Sounding Off:

‘Green’ wishes for the new year

January 15, 2010|By Gustavo Grad

Green jobs, green jobs, green jobs. I wish the economy would develop the new cleaner sources of energy and the efficiencies highly needed in a building environment that consumes more than one-third of the energy, and accounts for 15% of the greenhouse gases and 80% of the CO2 emissions.

I look forward for a cash for home efficiencies program model in the success of the cash for clunkers that was the engine for vehicle sales during the summer. A modernization program to improve fuel efficiency on cars, by providing credit to consumers with funds from the Recovery Act, that help shore the auto industry.

This is very much needed in the construction sector, which despite the generally favorable trends in recent months, continues to report decline in revenue and job losses. This sector of the economy, which accounts for a little more than 5% of employment, has absorbed more than 20% of job losses since the downturn began.

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The federal stimulus package provides a great opportunity for energy efficiency on buildings, with $787 billion allocated to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, create jobs, and invest in green building and energy efficiency. So why not a building program designed for energy efficiency, retrofitting homes or commercial buildings with new technologies and systems, for significant energy savings? A simple plan based on incentives for homes to promote efficiencies can make the difference.

We are not talking about homeowners starting with the installation of solar panels (PVs) on their roofs or farming wind in their backyard, but working on efficiency upgrades first and other low-key improvements to buildings that can provide a quick bang for the buck.

In tough economic times, capital costs are going to be a barrier for many homeowners in investing thousands of dollars in high technology, such as solar panels. But everyone can replace 10 incandescent bulbs around the home to produce the same result of one PV panel for much less.

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