Green Buildings: Win-Win-Win-Win

Bill Scher

By retrofitting our nation’s buildings to make them energy efficient, we can improve the environment, save consumers money, create good-paying union jobs, and reduce poverty.

That’s the word from the panelists at today’s “High Performance Buildings & Job Creation” session.

Don Gilligan of the National Association of Energy Services Companies told the crowd that a $7 billion annual investment would save consumers $22 billion in energy costs by 2017, while also creating 400,000 jobs annually.

Steve Cowell of the non-profit consultant Conservation Services Group explained that the new jobs would not come and go after buildings get retrofitted, but good-paying high-skill permanent jobs would be created to operate and manage energy efficient buildings.

And that’s a good fit for unions.

And Elsa Barboza of the grassroots Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education, and of the Los Angeles Apollo Alliance, talked of how green buildings can strengthen unions and tackle poverty on a mass scale.

Her team is striving to secure $100 million in public funds to retrofit 100 municipal buildings and create 2,000 union jobs.

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