More Evidence that the Stimulus Bill Is Working

The Bay Area and our neighbor to the north, Portland, Oregon, have had a friendly competition over which of us is the greenest state. Portland scored big points by providing proof positive that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) a.k.a. the Stimulus Bill, has created good paying, permanent jobs in the new, greener economy.

The Energy Efficiency and Community Block Grant (EECBG) program, which targets urban settings for energy efficiency building retrofit, economic stimulus, and job creation is a sister program of the Weatherization Assistance Program. Both programs are supported by the Department of Energy. Both programs are on the chopping block in the current House budget.

The City of Portland, with the help of Green For All, a national nonprofit organization that works to spread the benefits of the new green economy to every level of the economic hierarchy, was given through EECBG access to $1.1-million for a pilot program to retrofit 500 homes in the Portland area. But the money was not a grant—it is a revolving loan. Portland has leveraged the loan fund with public and private investments to generate to date close to $7-million in homeowner investment.

The results so far:

• More than 500 newly retrofitted homes that use on average 450 therms of gas and 7,700 kWh of electricity less than they did before retrofit. At about $1 per therm and $0.12 per kWh (which is what I pay to PG&E) that equals a savings of $1,374 per house per year.

• Employment for 381 construction workers making an average of about $25 per hour. The workforce is about 50% people of color and 8% women.

• Almost one-quarter of the pilot project dollars have gone to minority- or women-owned businesses.

The administrators of the program, including the City of Portland, Energy Trust of Oregon, and Conservation Services Group provide support in the form of information, marketing help, and discounted training to the company’s involved. But the companies were also asked to make a commitment to the communities they serve. The companies hire locally, establish long term relationships with their employees, and move towards having all their employees trained and certified through the Building Performance Institute (BPI) a nationally recognized, and widely respected standards and certification body.

But so far I’ve only given some statistics. There is a story that better illustrates what the Portland program is all about. I spent two summers working as a volunteer in the skid-row area of Portland, around Broadway and Third Street back in the mid-80s. I met a lot of homeless men and women, some Vietnam vets, some World War II vets, who had little hope of a better life. One nun I worked with gave her homeless clients birthday parties as well as other help, just to give then a sense of individual dignity and importance.

Alber Horsely Jr. is a 25-year old formerly homeless Portland resident who was recently trained as a weatherization technician and now has a job earning more than $15 per hour—and he has health benefits. There’s nothing like a job to give a person a sense of dignity and worth and to inspire other homeless men and women and give them some hope for a better future.

The City of Portland is working to extend the home retrofit program to all of Oregon and bring better health and comfort as well as energy savings to the residents of 6,000 homes per year. Come on California, time to catch up.

Views: 38

Tags: ARRA, energy, housing, jobs, retrofit

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.

Latest Activity

Susan E. Buchan posted a status
"Tomorrow is Earth Day - save $175 off the regular conference rate for the EEBA Excellence in Building Conference www.eeba.org"
7 minutes ago
Paul Raymer's blog post was featured

What does it take to be a certified Home Energy Professional Quality Control Inspector (HEP QCI)?

A quality control program requires knowing a lot about a lot of different subjects.  A HEP (BPI…See More
15 hours ago
Bryan Pringle replied to Bryan Pringle's discussion Dense packed cellulose in basement?
"Can you tell me more about how the plastic makes the moisture worse?   I understand that in…"
18 hours ago
Profile IconMatthew Cooke, yasmine smith, myacand heat and 2 more joined Home Energy Pros
18 hours ago
Bryan Pringle replied to Bryan Pringle's discussion Dense packed cellulose in basement?
"I like cellulose because of its air leakage reduction property and the ease of making a quality…"
18 hours ago
Bryan Pringle replied to Bryan Pringle's discussion Dense packed cellulose in basement?
"This example is the reverse of my suggestion.  I would do high end vapor barrier against…"
18 hours ago
Al Heath replied to Bryan Pringle's discussion Dense packed cellulose in basement?
"Really?  Go back and read these posts again.... "play ground for mold."  I…"
18 hours ago
Mary Desilva posted blog posts
18 hours ago

© 2015   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service