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Need for "Recovery through Retrofit"
Making American homes and buildings more energy efficient presents an unprecedented opportunity for communities throughout the country. The Recovery Through Retrofit Report builds on investments made in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) to expand the home energy efficiency and retrofit market. Home retrofits can potentially help people earn money, as home retrofit workers, while also helping them save money, by lowering their utility bills. By encouraging nationwide weatherization of homes, workers of all skill levels will be trained, engaged, and will participate in ramping up a national home retrofit market.
There are almost 130 million homes in this country. Combined, they generate more than 20 percent of our nation's carbon dioxide emissions, making them a significant contributor to global climate change. Existing techniques and technologies in energy efficiency retrofitting can reduce home energy use by up to 40 percent per home and lower associated greenhouse gas emissions by up to 160 million metric tons annually by the year 2020. Furthermore, home energy efficiency retrofits have the potential to reduce home energy bills by $21 billion annually, paying for themselves over time.
By implementing Recovery Through Retrofit’s recommendations, the Federal Government will lay the groundwork for a self-sustaining home energy efficiency retrofit industry. This Report provides a roadmap of how the Federal Government can use existing authorities and funds to unlock private capital and mobilize our communities.
Barriers to Retrofit
Despite the economic and environmental benefits of improving home energy efficiency, a series of barriers have prevented a self-sustaining retrofit market from forming, including:
1. Access to Information: Consumers do not have access to straightforward and reliable information on home energy retrofits that they need to make informed decisions.
2. Access to Financing: Homeowners face high upfront costs and many are concerned that they will be prevented from recouping the value of their investment if they choose to sell their home. The upfront costs of home retrofit projects are often beyond the average homeowner’s budget.
3. Access to Skilled Workers: There are currently not enough skilled workers and green entrepreneurs to expand weatherization and efficiency retrofit programs on a national scale.
"Recovery through Retrofit" Recommendations
The Recovery Act provides a unique opportunity to address these barriers. The Recovery Act allocates about $80 billion to projects related to energy and the environment, and much of this money is targeted toward improving the energy efficiency in buildings, both Federal and non-Federal. Under the Recovery Act, state and local governments have an unprecedented opportunity to expand investments in energy retrofits and develop community-based programs on a large scale. These investments will put our country on a path to real reductions in greenhouse gases, and contribute to the economic recovery our country needs. The recommendations and actions in this Report have been carefully designed by eleven Departments and Agencies and six White House Offices to ensure that the energy efficiency market will thrive long after the Recovery Act money is fully spent.
By coordinating Recovery Act funds, Federal Departments and Agencies and resources; through building strong partnerships with states and local communities; and by targeting government policy changes, a foundation for self-sustaining energy efficiency retrofit market will be built. Through implementation of the Recovery Through Retrofit recommendations, the Federal Government will leverage private capital, streamline the retrofitting process, and reduce energy costs for homeowners.
For new information, visit whitehouse.gov