[Ed. Note: Chris could not help sending along one last post before he enjoys some well-deserved R&R on his honeymoon. Congratulations to Chris and Melissa! Stay tuned for my guest posts the remainder of the week. – Steve]
There is a wave of funding for green building and energy efficiency projects on the way.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has set aside nearly $25 billion for projects that will impact the green building industry. The General Services Administration received $5.5 billion to create high-performing, sustainable federal buildings. The Department of Energy received $3 billion to distribute to states under the Energy Efficiency And Conservation Block Grants Program.
But where is this money? In California, which has been allocated a large amount of green building stimulus money, it has yet to hit the streets:
A preliminary report by the California Recovery Task Force early this month shows that the federal stimulus program has allocated $185.8 million to help the state’s low-income households weatherize their homes and $314.5 million for energy-efficiency and conservation programs.
But as of Sept. 30, the report said, less than $10 million has been spent, leading to the creation or retention of only 120 or so jobs. The bulk of the funding is expected to start flowing within the next three or four months.
The article also questions whether green building will remain a sustainable industry once the federal projects are completed:
"But at a forum on federal stimulus programs last week at the University of California San Diego, builders, union organizers and academics said the real task ahead is to keep the work flowing after the federal funds dry up in a couple years. The government, after all, has been far more willing to engage in energy saving measures than most consumers or businesses have been."
“What it’s going to take is a lot of education,” said Devon Hartman, a principal in the HartmanBaldwin construction and design firm in Claremont.
There is reason to question this argument. Prior to the economic turmoil that began in late 2008, there was an obvious shift in market demand for green building, both in residential and commercial. Investment of federal dollars in the green building industry will only contribute further to this market shift. As the building industry is better able to demonstrate reduced energy bills from green buildings, market demand will increase further.
Do you think private dollars will invest in green building?
Sustaining Green Tide in Building A Concern (Union-Tribune)