Leaders of labor, manufacturing and consumer and energy advocacy organizations today launched “Rebuilding America,” a diverse coalition with a shared commitment to wholesale investment in the energy efficient retrofit of 50 million buildings by 2020. More than 50 of the most prominent businesses, manufacturers, labor unions and trade associations have endorsed the goals of the Rebuilding America proposal. They were joined by congressional leaders who embraced the coalition’s goal while detailing the benefits that retrofit projects provide for job creation and economic growth.
“The upfront costs of these improvements will usually be more than offset by years of lower utility bills,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America. “Intelligently retrofitting homes to make them more energy efficient will, over time, save homeowners tens of billions of dollars.”
Rebuilding America, a joint initiative of the Energy Future Coalition and the Center for American Progress Action Fund, unveiled a series of recommendations to help develop a robust industry to retrofit U.S. homes and businesses. The group stressed that while Congress has included important provisions on building retrofits in pending legislation, much more should be done to capture the scale of the opportunity, such as:
- Establish a stand-alone, national Energy Efficiency Resource Standard of 10% by 2020.
- Direct at least one-third of utility allowances for energy efficiency while increasing the state allowance allocation for renewables and efficiency to 10% through 2030, dedicating 25% to retrofits.
- Support innovative financing tools for energy efficiency including the Clean Energy Development Administration (CEDA) and its backing for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Bonds.
- Establish provisions for accelerated depreciation and investment tax credits for advanced HVAC, smart meters, and other energy-efficient technologies and advanced appliances.
- Link federal financial support for retrofits to standards for job quality, skills training, reporting, and transparency to ensure consumer confidence and verifiable energy savings.
Mark Ayers, president of the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department, said “The effort to re-build America and reduce our nation’s carbon footprint is a critically important initiative, both in an environmental and economic sense. The true test, however, will be whether Congress accedes to a ‘high-road’ approach that will provide quality careers through accredited skilled craft training programs.”
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