Recovery Through Retrofit

Uploaded by whitehouse on 09.11.2010

Ms. Sutley: Thank you. Good afternoon.
I'm Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on
Environmental Quality.
And I'm very, very pleased to welcome you to the White House
and to be joined by Vice President Biden and members
of the Cabinet for this Middle Class Task Force event that will
provide an update on our Recovery Through Retrofit efforts.
We're honored to have the vice president here to make some
exciting announcements on this initiative in just a moment.
But first I want to talk a little bit about what Recovery
Through Retrofit is all about and how we came to
be here today.
As you know, the Vice President chairs the
Middle Class Task Force.
Under his leadership, this Cabinet-level task force is
focused on ways to raise the living standards of middle-class
working families in America.
At a task force meeting some time ago,
the vice president had a great idea.
He thought it would be good to come up with some proposals to
improve home energy efficiency, to save Americans money on their
electricity bill and expand green job opportunities here at home.
He asked the Council on Environmental Quality to
lead that effort.
We know that there are energy-saving options
out there today that can cut energy use by up to 40 percent
in each American home.
And we also know that if everyone took advantage of these
retrofits, Americans could save billions of dollars each year on
their home energy bill.
On top of this, we would support the growth of an industry that
will provide long-lasting jobs for American workers.
As an added bonus, we'd also reduce air pollution.
Upgrading all of our existing homes would curb greenhouse gas
emissions by up to 160 million metric tons a year
over the next decade.
So this idea makes sense for our economy, for our environment,
and for Americans to save on their monthly energy bills.
There was only one question: Why hadn't this home energy retrofit
market already taken off?
To find the answer, we pulled together a broad group across
-- of agencies across the government and the White House.
With a lot of time and hard work by everyone involved,
we released the Recovery Through Retrofit report.
This report found three barriers to a strong nationwide market
for home energy upgrades.
First, homeowners lack access to useful home energy information.
Second, homeowners lack access to consumer-friendly financing
options for energy retrofits.
And third, the country lacks skilled workers to perform
these energy upgrades.
Over the past year an interagency group,
led by CEQ and including the Department of Energy,
the Environmental Protection Agency,
the Department of Housing and Urban Development,
the Department of Labor, the Small Business Administration
and others, have been working on ways to overcome these barriers.
Today we see the fruits of this collaboration in the form of
action that will have real benefits for American families.
So without further delay, I'd like to introduce the man who
started all of this and a tireless advocate for
America's middle class.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Vice President of the United States,
Joe Biden.
Vice President Biden: Nancy, you said it better than -- (inaudible)
Hey, folks! How are you? Good to see you.
How are you? Nice to be with you all. Thank you.
Please, please sit down.
Folks, thank you all very much.
I really -- suffice it to say, Nancy's just explained it and
I should just sit down.
But, you know, folks, I know this audience is comprised of
people who understand what we're talking about to begin with,
but my message -- our message is hopefully going to be broadcast
more broadly to the American people,
because this is a good news -- good news and not very costly
solution -- a beginning of a solution to a problem everyone
-- every American knows.
We consume too much energy at a price that's making it difficult
for us to afford it, putting ourselves in the pocket of
people who run countries that aren't particularly crazy about
us and causing us to have to spend literally hundreds of
billions of dollars in order to protect access to and avenues to
and from all that oil from around the world.
And so when the president and I got into the White House,
we knew bringing back this economy wasn't going to be easy.
We knew the hole was deep, and everyone else did as well.
But -- but we also knew that it presented an opportunity -- an
opportunity not just to meet our obligation to help people climb
out of that hole and to put us back on track,
but an opportunity to deal with some of the systemic problems
we've had that we've been unwilling to or unable to or
refused to acknowledge or respond to.
And energy was one of those that has not just neglected in the
last administration, but for the past 30 years we've taken
no significant steps toward dealing with what we all know
is a problem.
There's not a one of you out there that think that we can
lead the world in the 21st century with the same economic
-- with -- excuse me, with the same energy policy we've had
the last 30 years.
This is a small part but an important part of dealing
with a much larger problem.
That economic disaster actually allowed us to begin to put in
place policies that would spark entire new industries,
that would define a stronger and more robust 21st century.
Again, to make a generic statement,
I don't think anybody thinks we can lead the 21st century
by being built on the ruins of the 20th-century economic
model that we had.
Where are the new jobs going to come from?
Where are the new initiatives going to come from?
What is it that's going to put us in the position to remain the
world's leading economic power as we were in the 20th century
and the 21st century?
Again, this is a small piece but important.
We also knew that it was an opportunity to what we've been
trying to do for a decade now: transform the way we use energy
and the type of energy that powers our lives,
and in the process, reduce our dependence on fuel and fossil
fuels while saving consumers money and -- in their
electricity and also creating jobs.
And that's why, through the recovery act,
we made a new energy initiative a focal point of that act.
Again, the recovery act was prompted by the economic
disaster we inherited, but it also, again,
presented an opportunity.
And in that recovery act, we devoted significant resources
to this problem, whether it was investing in wind and solar or
geothermal energy so we could reach our goal of doubling
renewables by the year 2012.
And by the way, just -- if we do just that,
we'll have gone from 26 gigawatts to roughly 56.5 (gigawatts).
Everybody says -- people at home listening say, what's that mean?
Well, it means 16.7 million homes would be able to have
all their energy needs met with just that additional
renewable energy.
This is a big deal.
And so whether it was adding 8 million new smart meters to the
-- 18 million new smart meters to the 8 million
that are currently in use by 2013 or whether it was going
from producing 2 percent of the world's advanced batteries
technologies and batteries to 20 percent by 2012,
we decided we had to invest in industries that are going to
power the new economy, one based on technological innovation,
rather than financial -- rather than financial speculation.
With all these efforts to move us in the direction of a nation
independent from foreign oil, though,
we knew that one of the quickest jolts,
one of the best and most immediate ways we could see
outcomes that were desirable, would come from making our
buildings, our homes, more efficient.
It is the low-hanging fruit out there.
It doesn't require many significant technological
breakthroughs to have gigantic impact on our
consumption patterns.
We call -- we call this retrofitting.
You all know it, but you know, when you go out there with
ordinary people who are struggling to keep their
job or trying to get a job, you start talking about retrofitting,
you might as well start talking about Lord only knows what.
And so it's important we translate in simple terms to
people what Nancy talked about as to how we get people in the
position to be able to retrofit -- that is,
make their homes more efficient, energy-efficient.
And that means replacing windows and doors.
It means adding insulation.
It means putting in new modern energy-saving air conditioning
units, heating units, hot wear heaters,
things as simple and straightforward as sealing
up the cracks and openings where heat leaks out.
People, I -- you know, how many of you have kids who you've
watched them do the thing you that them doing,
walk over toward that outlet in the wall, and figuring:
Oh, my God, are they going to put their finger in it?
And you walk over and find out -- guess what -- there's air
blowing in or heat blowing out.
Well, you know, people know this,
but they don't know how to go about dealing with it,
either getting the money, getting the audit,
getting the financing to do it.
And through the recovery act thus far,
we've made hundreds of thousands of homes more efficient,
and we've helped dozens of cities who are out there
coming up with plans to make entire neighborhoods
more energy-efficient.
We were able to focus on -- through the recovery act,
we were able to focus on public housing units in America and
making sure -- and we did a great job in that.
But now we have to expand this to let the other hundred million
homeowners in this country -- you don't live in public housing
units -- who account for 22 percent of all the energy we
consume in this country, and every one of you knows somebody
who knows that they need to do something about the energy
efficiency of their home.
You don't have to have a Ph.D. to know when you are spending
a lot more money heating your home than you need to be.
You know whether you need new windows.
You don't know exactly what windows you need.
You know that you should have insulation in the basement on
those walls or on the flooring between the second and third
floor, or in the attic, et cetera.
Sixty percent of the homes, of these hundred million homes,
60 percent are more than 30 years old,
more than 30 years old.
Back when homes were being built 30 years ago,
even then they were a heck of a lot less efficient than
they are today.
But the problem is, these homes, these hundred million homes,
don't qualify under the program that was out there up to now,
to go out to -- to go ahead and retrofit those public housing
and low income housing units or people living in -- whether
it's subsidized or not, not low income housing.
So more than 60 million older homes are outside the subsidized
program of low income families, and we only are able to retrofit
150,000 homes a year, up to now.
Look, folks, there's a lot more we can do to save energy,
to free us from oil and to create jobs if we can figure
out how to tap into other hundred thousand homes.
And so, folks -- I mean -- excuse me
-- hundred million homes.
So to encourage people to do what they want to do in
the first place and to make it happen,
to help those hundred thousand homeowners looking for help,
we're announcing three new initiatives that could -- could
-- create tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in
savings in energy bills.
First, the Department of Energy -- and you're going to hear a
little more about this from the secretary -- is going to
be announcing a new program called Home Energy Score.
And here's how it basically works for a typical family.
You'll be hearing from a trained contractor and/or
utility company.
They'll be contacting you because you are a customer,
and they're going to offer to come out and go through your
house -- takes about an hour or less -- check out your windows,
doors, your appliances, your heating units.
And they're going to be able to tell you, by this energy audit,
how much energy you're wasting or, put another way,
how much energy you could save.
And they're going to tell how it compares to other homes in your
neighborhood, and you're also going to get a customized list
of recommended improvements with information on how much your
energy bill would be reduced by each one and the estimate of how
much it would cost to make these improvements.
For example, you might learn that you could save 300 bucks
a year by investing $1,500 a year to seal up the leaks
that go out through your attic and adding insulation to your
basement walls.
You'll know for sure; an expert will tell you what
impact it would have.
You might learn that you need a new furnace and that -- you know
you need a new furnace.
You're going to get one, but if you spend $400 more than you
planned on spending to buy an efficiency-model furnace,
you can save $150 a year, which means you recoup the loss,
that extra cost within four years,
and you'll be saving from that point on.
All of it is clearly laid out for you by these audits,
pretty simple stuff.
And this assessment would cost less than half a typical
assessment now, which is about $400, and in some places,
in some states, will cost nothing because the Energy
Department has provided new software tools that
the Department of Energy helped develop,
allowing contractors to gather this information in less time
and more cheaply and more accurately.
So the cost would probably be cut in half to begin with,
and you're going to find in a number of states,
you're not going to have to pay anything for this audit.
They're encouraging these audits and they're going to essentially
underwrite them, and the utility companies cooperating.
And so, folks -- and once this is done,
you will be able to know -- have the solace knowing,
relative to the rest of your neighborhood,
how much energy you're using or saving,
and you're going to be able to advertise that it's going
to increase the net value of your home.
If you're selling your home or when you come to sell your home,
in a difficult market or in a -- in a bull market,
you are going to get more from your home because you're going
to be able to demonstrate and literally have a seal pointing
out that you -- this is an energy-efficient home.
So Secretary Chu is going to tell you more about how the Home
Energy Score programs work.
A lot of people say: Look, I know what I need -- and you know
people who say this to you, your neighbors and friends -- I know
what I need.
I've known for a long time.
I know if I better insulate the basement or the attic,
or if I replace these windows with thermal pane windows,
et cetera, et cetera, I know I can save a lot,
but I just can't afford it.
I just can't afford it.
And here's where we come in.
That's why the the Department of Housing and Urban Development,
through a new program called Power Saver,
is working with banks to offer low-interest loans
for home energy upgrades.
Secretary Donovan's going to talk about that in a minute,
the so-called Power Saver program.
But once you had an expert audit telling you what you needed,
you can -- you can get a low-interest loan with the
program the secretary's going to talk to you about,
to help you pay for what you know will benefit you short-term
and long-term and make sure you have the best-qualified team to
come in and check it out.
That becomes the document you need to be able to qualify for
these low-interest loans.
So we set a standard to make sure that you can also pick from
companies who do this job well.
As was pointed out by Nancy, this has not been a major
industry in America, retrofitting, to now.
So we had to set out -- and Hilda will talk about this,
the secretary -- we wanted to make sure that as this industry
begins to burgeon, hiring more people,
saving us these costs and energy costs,
that we have qualified people out there who are able to do it.
We believe that retrofitting homes has the potential to save
us billions of dollars, and we believe that these projects that
we are announcing today will go a long way toward growing
an industry and in the process creating good jobs for a very
good public purpose.
But beyond this, we're also pushing hard to create a new
energy-efficiency rebate program called Homestar.
We've been pushing this for a while,
and we need to push the Congress to be able to get this done.
Under this program, homeowners could be eligible for rebates
up to $1,500 for very simple energy upgrades,
like replacing inefficient old water heaters and modern -- with
modern efficient water heaters that consumers would be able to
save a great deal of energy and cost by installing;
or putting new thermal pane windows in instead of your
old drafty ones.
But -- by the way, part of this program,
if in fact you had an audit, you would -- and you went out and
did everything that audit called for, part of this program,
which is almost off to the side, says that you could qualify for
up to $3,000 in a rebate.
Think of a rebate buying a car.
You're going to go out there, and the audit says that you're
going to -- it's going to coast you 9,000 bucks to do
everything you need to do.
If you can demonstrate that you have done all that needed to be
done to make it the most energy-efficient you could
make it by -- through this audit, you get a $3,000 rebate.
So you're not out there borrowing 9,000 (dollars)
to get it done; you're borrowing 6,000 (dollars)
to get it done.
And because of the work that Shaun has done,
you're going to be able to borrow it from banks at a
reasonable interest and at -- over a period of time that
makes a lot of sense for you to make the investment.
Look, we all know that energy efficiency is just one piece
of the puzzle.
We have to continue to invest in clean energy.
So we're also calling on Congress to extend a program
that has been really successful.
It's a -- it's the 1603 program -- which is like talking
"Senate-ese" with all the public out there.
It's real clear.
If a company goes out and builds and operates a wind, a solar,
or other clean-energy project, it gets a 30-percent grant
up-front to make that investment -- a 30-percent grant up-front,
30 percent of the cost of the program.
If a program -- this program was created by the recovery act,
and has been hugely successful, leading to nearly 4,000 new
clean-energy projects over the past two years here in
the United States.
Let me just give you one example; I could give you many.
But in Livingston, Illinois, a wind project was financed
by this program and built which generates 300 megawatts,
and there are 86,000 homes in that community that now are not
using natural gas, oil, or fossil fuels.
But that program would not have been built but for this program.
There's thousands others like it,
beginning to make a difference in people's lives,
but also in total consumption in the United States.
Folks, the president and I and our team have one goal,
and that's for us, the United States,
to lead the world in renewable energy in the 21st century.
Ernst and Young, as all of you -- Ernst and Young,
as all of you know, is one of the largest accounting firms in
the United States; recently put out a report pointing out that
in part because of the expiration of this program --
this program I just described, where you get 30 percent
up-front in order to build these facilities -- because of the
expiration of that program, which expires at the end of
2010, we have fallen behind China as the most attractive and
active country in the world in renewable-energy investments.
Now, I want the Chinese to succeed;
I think it's a net benefit if all countries grow.
But we can't let that happen.
America has to be number one in the world.
That's why it's so important for the Congress to extend
this provision, among other things, this 1603,
which provides this 30-percent grant for companies making these investments.
Why would we not want it done here in the United States?
There's one other important provision of the recovery
act program which was very controversial when we first
put it in.
There were a lot of skeptics about whether or not enough
people would qualify for it or seek it.
It is a tax provision called 48C tax credit.
It's a 30-percent tax credit off the bottom line to encourage not
just investing in the generation and use of clean energy,
but actually manufacturing the components here in the United
States of America.
We have to build new industries that build things here in the
United States of America.
And so if you build a wind turbine or solar panels or
advanced batteries, and manufacture them right here
in the United States, you get a 30-percent tax credit.
Now, what I'm about to say is going to sound partisanly
political; it's not.
I can understand an argument about tax credits for investment
abroad, but it baffles me why we wouldn't want to offer tax
credits for people to manufacture things here
in the United States of America.
Let me give you one example here.
In Circleville, Ohio, the DuPont Plant got $50 million through
this program to build solar panels.
This proposal was so attractive, and so many companies wanted to
build and manufacture these components in the United States,
that we had considerably more applications than we could
possible accept under the tax code,
for people who were asking for this assistance.
So we've asked the Congress to triple the amount of money
available under the tax program, from roughly 250 billion (dollars)
to $750 billion, if people build here.
How bad can it be, if people want to get a tax credit that
costs $750 billion, if they're building new plants and
facilities, hiring people at decent wages here in the United
States to build those components that are the thing we're going
to rely on to provide a considerable part of our
energy needs throughout the 21st century?
Look, folks, investing in this stuff is the only way to build
an economy capable of not just competing in the 21st century,
but actually leading as we have in the past.
And making our homes more energy efficient -- a major
part of this -- is a no-brainer.
It saves consumers money on their electricity.
It reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
It creates jobs.
It's all part of efforts to fundamentally reimagine
the American economy by fundamentally changing our
approach to energy consumption.
Look, we know we can't build an economy that looks like the one
that collapsed.
We have to build a new, more robust,
greener economy if we expect to lead the world in this century,
as we did in the last.
And I expect that.
I expect that.
And it's time for us to meet the expectations which I have and I
think almost everybody in the neighborhood I grew up in has.
I expect that.
I don't wish for it; I expect it,
that that's the position the United States must attain.
And energy-efficient upgrades are one important way we can get there.
So I want to thank you all, and I want to thank my colleagues
behind me for being so patient.
This is what we call in my neighborhood a "busman's
holiday," having to listen to one another talk about
all of this.
And -- but you're going to hear now from the people who have
developed these programs and know them inside and out.
I don't want to oversell this, but this is a significant start.
We should imagine -- imagine a country where we have 100
million energy-efficient homes.
There is no reason on God's green Earth we
can't do that -- none.
So these are the folks who are going to do it.
Thank you all for listening.
Mr. Secretary, are you next? Secretary Chu.
Secretary Chu: Okay, thank you.
Just to reiterate what the vice president said,
there were a number of things that we've been doing in order
to make the United States more efficient.
But I have to confess one thing to you.
Long before I was worried about energy dependency,
long before I was worried about environmental consequences of
what we're doing, I was an energy efficiency nut for
a simple reason: I'm fundamentally cheap --
-- and don't like wasting money.
And so the goal today is equally simple and the message very
simple: We're going to make it easier for families to
save money by saving energy.
And so the initiatives announced today are designed to break down
the barriers that make it difficult for families to
seize the opportunity.
What are the barriers?
There are financial barriers, and you'll hear from Secretary
Donovan about that.
There are a trained labor force, and you'll hear from Secretary
Solis about that.
But a big barrier is the inertia and the lack of information on
what to do to save money.
And so we now know that we have things consumers can check on
the labels of cars and appliances to see how
efficient they are.
But if we -- but when it comes to our homes,
which is the biggest asset we own,
many times we don't know what to do,
what's the most efficient things that we should do,
the most cost-effective things we should do in order to save money.
So to help families save money by saving energy,
the Department of Energy has developed what we call a new
Home Energy Score program that's going to provide straightforward
and reliable information about your home's energy usage,
and recommendations, specific recommendations for you,
on how to make improvements.
So here's how it works.
A trained and qualified contractor comes to your home
to evaluate the structure, the heating, the cooling systems,
the insulation levels, and a whole lot more.
The contractor enters that information into a home energy
scoring tool to generate your home's score on a simple
10-point scale, where 10 is the highest level.
Then along with your home's score,
you'll receive a list of recommended energy improvements
and an estimate of how each one could save you money.
So it's a very simple process that gives you the information
you need to upgrade your homes and start saving money.
And as a hypothetical example, we have here a poster for a
home built in the 1960s.
It's a single-story home in Pittsburgh that has a
conditioned basement and has already had
some energy upgrades.
And the current score of the home is six.
It makes recommendations.
For example -- and most of the recommendations are very simple,
low-cost recommendations like improving the insulation,
sealing the air spaces, things of that nature, the air cracks.
And with these simple, relatively low-cost
improvements, you can get your score up to eight.
And it tells you specifically what those are,
what are the added insulation, and how much you're expected
to save -- in this case, $520.
In terms of the investments, the payback,
and it tells you if you invest in this,
this is the expected payback period; if you invest in that,
that's the expected payback period.
And it varies between two and six years.
So anything beyond that, you're going to be saving a lot of
money, and Secretary Donovan will show you how to save --
tell you about how to save money immediately at the get-go.
So that's the idea.
We're partnering with -- first of all,
the Home Energy Program is voluntary,
and it's going to be launched in 10 communities.
And we're partnering with local governments,
nonprofit organizations and utilities to test
and evaluate the program.
Representatives from six of our partners are here today,
and I want to thank them for working with us on
this important program.
And we hope to expand the Home Energy Score Program
nationally next year.
In addition, the Department of Energy is working with agencies
here on additional steps to spur self-sustaining industry
for home energy upgrades.
And so you will hear from Secretaries Donovan and
Solis about those.
But the bottom line and all that we're here to tell you about is
that saving money by saving energy is really the right
thing to do, not only for yourselves but our economy,
our energy security.
And of course, you know, "what's in it for me?"
"What's in it for me" is you're bringing these savings right
back to you, your pocketbook, and you can spend it on a lot
of other things.
So these are very much win-win-win situations.
And so with that, I'll turn it over to Secretary Donovan,
who can tell you how to get the money so that you're not
out-of-pocket and, on a month-to-month basis,
you begin saving energy.
Secretary Donovan: Thank you, Steve.
Let me first just start by recognizing Vice President Biden
and his remarkable leadership in bringing this idea together,
getting us started down this path a year ago,
and also thank all of you for the remarkable partnership that
you've provided.
It's enormously exciting to be here today because this is
really about building on the work that you all have done
through the recovery act, through all of the work that
we've done together to take that to a whole new scale -- to be
able to reach the scale, as the vice president talked about,
that we need to truly transform all of our homes in this country
and to be able to create jobs in the 21st century.
Steve talked about the barriers we have to information.
But the barrier to financing home improvements
is substantial as well.
Think about the fact that Americans spend $200 billion
every year on their utility bills, their home-energy bills,
and yet there is no really good option for financing
those improvements.
What options there are are typically unaffordable.
They include home equity lines, unsecured personal loans and
credit cards.
And that's why countless communities,
so many of you in this room today,
have taken really remarkable steps to drive demand and to
build local retrofit programs around the country.
But given the scope of the challenge,
it's clear that an additional option is needed,
one that's available through mainstream lenders that
homeowners across the country can access to make energy
improvements of their choice.
To solve that challenge, we have turned to the Federal Housing
Administration, or FHA.
FHA, throughout its history, has pioneered new lending products,
including the 30-year mortgage, which today has become the
standard across the country.
Under the leadership of Commissioner Stevens and
with the remarkable help of Vicki Bott,
who runs the single-family part of FHA -- and she's with us
today; I want to recognize you, Vicki,
for your incredible work on this.
They have worked hard to create the FHA PowerSaver,
which I am pleased to be able to announce to you today.
Beginning as a two-year pilot, PowerSaver will allow homeowners
to borrow an average of $12,500 over a period as
long as 20 years to make energy efficiency and renewable energy
improvements to their homes.
I want to talk to you just about three particular features of
PowerSaver that are so important and that we believe have the
potential to create a true market for home
energy improvements.
First, it is designed to be a true mainstream mortgage
product, affordable and available to all
American homeowners.
This means that private lenders across the country will be able
to offer it.
That includes national and local banks, credit unions,
community lenders.
All of them will be able to participate.
And to encourage their participation,
FHA will guarantee up to 90 percent of the loan with a
streamlined insurance claims process.
PowerSaver lenders will be eligible for incentive grants
-- incentive grants, as well, through FHA that could even
enhance the benefits to borrowers beyond the market
rate for the loan.
And that will include lower interest rates,
covering costs of fees, and other things that you might
typically see on a mortgage product.
Beginning today, we're seeking a limited number of lenders to
participate in this first pilot of the program.
We've posted instructions on HUD's website explaining how
lenders can apply, and we will announce participating
lenders at the very beginning of next year.
I would add that because liquidity is so crucial
to ensuring homeowners can access these loans,
we've designed PowerSaver to be viable in the secondary market.
And our financing arm in the secondary market, Ginnie Mae,
will be an important partner with us on those efforts.
And I want to recognize Ted Tozer, who runs Ginnie Mae,
who's here with us today for his great work on the
product as well.
Secondly, PowerSaver provides real protections
for the taxpayer, requiring responsible underwriting
criteria and guidelines.
Not only will PowerSaver loans be available to borrowers with
solid credit and manageable overall debt;
we're going to make sure that we don't repeat the mistakes that
led us into this economic crisis with unaffordable
or even predatory mortgage products.
We will make sure that these are safe loans.
Lenders will be required to have real skin in the game as well,
giving them an incentive to make quality loans
with sound underwriting.
And to ensure that homeowners make the most informed decisions
possible, we're also going to strongly encourage homeowners to
get an energy audit, including the new Home Energy Score that
Secretary Chu just described, so that they are aware of the most
impactful, cost-effective improvements that can be
made to their homes.
Lastly, PowerSaver will take advantage of the data we gather
on its performance.
With better data that proves that these investments pay for
themselves in the long run, we believe PowerSaver can unlock a
much broader scale of transformation,
one that is driven not just by our investments from the
recovery act, not just by federal insurance programs,
but ultimately through private capital that we
have demonstrated to these improvements can actually
pay for themselves.
That will mean true transformation of the
energy market going forward.
We intend to prove they pay for themselves by tracking energy
saved, bills reduced and home value created.
Information on PowerSaver is available on the HUD website,
and we hope that all of you and communities across the country
will take full advantage of it to educate and inform lenders
and consumers alike of the benefits that
PowerSaver will provide.
So this is an enormously exciting moment,
one that would not have been possible not just
with my team at HUD that includes Stockton Williams,
that I've mentioned, but also with colleagues
across the administration.
I particularly want to thank Secretary Chu and Cathy Zoi,
who is here, who have been remarkable partners,
and the rest of the DOE team; as well as Brian Deese and Pascal
Noel at NAC; Brian Levine in the vice president's office;
and Nikki Buffa and the team at CEQ.
Over the past 21 months, community after community
has told us they need a flexible tool that helps to finance home
energy improvements.
With PowerSaver, that is exactly what we're providing,
making good on our commitment to reducing our dependence on
foreign oil, helping families save on energy costs,
and creating jobs for the clean-energy economy of
the 21st century.
That is what this effort is about.
And I want to now introduce somebody who knows something
about creating green jobs and who's been a remarkable champion
for middle-class families, my colleague at the Department of
Labor, Secretary Hilda Solis.
Secretary Solis: Wow. Thanks so much, Secretary Donovan.
And I also want to do a shout-out to Vice President
Joe Biden for inviting me here today this afternoon.
It's an exciting announcement that we're making.
It feels good to be standing here knowing that we delivered
on a promise that we made a year ago.
And I want to say a special thank you also to Secretary Chu,
Donovan, and also to Administrator Jackson,
who couldn't join us today.
This recovery through retrofit project is another example of
what we can achieve working together on a common goal.
And I am proud that my agency, the Department of Labor,
was a part of this effort.
This year alone, as you know, more than 1.1 million jobs
in the private sector have been created,
yet there are still nearly five job seekers for every
one job opening.
This administration knows that clean-energy jobs are
an important part of economic recovery and
security for workers.
That is why the Department of Labor made significant
investments in training programs for workers,
so they can succeed in the clean and renewable energy economy.
And we know that many of these jobs will be in the area of
residential energy efficiency.
Retrofitting American homes to make them more energy efficient
increases job opportunities and lowers, obviously,
utility bills -- a win-win for all American families
and for our country.
These jobs can and should be good jobs with livable wages,
safe workplaces full of opportunity for a secure
future and a promising career.
Retrofit jobs should be for everyone,
especially for underserved populations.
To help us grow and expand the economy,
we're tapping into the contributions and creativity
of women, people with disabilities, veterans,
individuals with limited English proficiency,
and individuals who are low-income.
But for retrofit jobs to be good jobs,
we must ensure that workers are properly trained for the job and
adequately protected on that job.
Over this past year, we have worked to raise the training and
certification bar so that home retrofit workers will be more
qualified to do the work, to get the job done right,
and be protected while doing their job.
So today I'm pleased to announce two new tools for training and
certification providers operating in the home
retrofit market, the Retrofit Workforce Guidelines and the
Healthy Home Protocols.
I'd like to thank Secretary Chu and Administrator Jackson for
their leadership on helping us develop these tools.
And I'm also proud of the work that the Department of Labor's
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA,
did to ensure that worker health and safety concerns are also
included in these tools.
These tools were the product of collaboration between our
agencies and job training providers, labor organizations,
employers, building scientists, safety experts and, of course,
community groups.
These tools are being released today for public comment.
And I hope that all of you will participate in this
collaboration by sharing your ideas,
your input on how to improve these materials,
or to make them even more useful in your work.
In the end, workers are the ones who make homes more
energy-efficient and healthier for our families and children.
We believe the tools we have announced today will benefit
workers, ensuring marketable skills, safe workplaces,
and career paths for these hardworking Americans.
And I have to tell you, it has been a dream for some of us to
think out loud about the creation of green jobs.
And I'm often asked that as secretary of Labor:
"Secretary, what is a green job?
How does one get involved in them?
And what does it lead to?
Is it really a career?"
Well, I can tell you in all honesty,
in what I've seen in the past 18 months that I've been in office,
I've seen a true transformation of our workforce.
And I expect to see much more.
I hope all of you will join us in that partnership.
Thank you so much.
It's an honor to be here.
Ms. Sutley: Thank you so much, Secretary Solis,
Secretary Donovan and Secretary Chu.
And thank you to all of you for joining us here today.
I hope you're excited -- as excited as we are about the
announcements that we've made today.
And we're very proud of the work that we're doing to
support America's middle class and American jobs.
We're committed to achieving real cost savings and
environmental benefits for families throughout the
country through these measures and other efforts.
Recovery through retrofit is another demonstration of how
a healthy economy and a healthy environment go hand in hand.
And I want to thank all of the agencies who've been involved in
this 18-month-long effort for the dedication and energy and
hard work they've put into creating these measures,
and we'll continue to work together to help build a strong,
nationwide energy upgrade market for Americans and
American workers.
So thank you all for your support,
and we look forward to continuing to work with
all of you towards a healthy and prosperous future for the
United States of America.
Thank you very much for coming today.