Obama wants to reduce your energy bill

Lighting a gas stove


Steve Chiotakis: We live in a world of high-tech energy fixes, so when I mention home weatherization, you're probably like, wow, what's the big deal? Well, retrofitting your home to save energy costs has caught the attention of President-elect Barack Obama. From the Marketplace Sustainability desk, here's Sam Eaton reports.

Sam Eaton: Obama's promise to weatherize a million low-income homes would increase current federal funding sevenfold.

But Brian Keane with Smart Power, a nonprofit marketing group, says when it comes to improving energy efficiency, money isn't the main issue.

Brian Keane: Number one, it's a messaging challenge, because people don't yet understand the opportunity involved with conservation and efficiency.

That opportunity being money saved. Through simple fixes like sealing drafty windows and attics, many homeowners could cut their energy bills by as much as 30 percent. Keane says in today's economy, few investments match that kind of return. It's just a matter of breaking down the numbers.

Keane: We have to start talking in the terms and the language that the American people can understand and when we do, then the lightbulb will go off, no pun intended.

And it's not just homeowners who benefit. A weatherization ramp-up would also create green collar jobs -- an estimated 78,000 of them if Obama comes through.

In Los Angeles, I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.
Log in to post3 Comments

Despite the hesitations many business leaders had about what Obama might do once taking office, I think he's taken the right steps and made some great cabinet choices that leave myself and many others in great confidence of his direction. Especially, when looking towards supporting the green energy industry and creating green-collar jobs, Obama is definitely on the right track.

Kevin G. Davis
Managing Director | Emerald Endeavors
The latest in Green Energy & Clean Technology News,
Visit: http://www.EmeraldEndeavors.com

The President-elect's proposal does involve a dramatic increase in the Department of Energy program that invests in making low-income housing more energy efficient; however, that program has anything BUT a 'simple fix' approach. Property owners are hearing a lot of marketing claims that small investments in do-it-yourself measures ca cut your overall energy bills 30% or how changing to compact flourescent light bulbs will "save the world". They sound too good to be true for a reason.

While all these changes are necessary to begin cutting energy use and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the federal Weatherization program has been tested and has proven that it takes special tools, a very selective approach to the measures selected and substantial investment to realize savings of over 30% of heating fuels and over 20% of all energy sources used. Readers can see how it's done at the website http://www.waptac.org/sp.asp?id=9088. It is also true that, up to a point, savings are proportionately greater if more is invested in the durable capital improvements, like new efficient heating systems and insulating the side walls with densepack cellulose.
The Obama administration has committed to taking this relatively small government program (serving about 140,000 of the 38 million eligible homes yearly) that has worked well for decades and scaling it up to make a real difference.
As the piece suggests, thousands of workers will need training in the specialized skill. Interested persons should look at the training videos at the DOE -supported site: http://www.waptac.org/sp.asp?id=9078 , and then contact their local Weatherization provider about becoming part of this 'green-collar' workforce. (Your new President and your community Action Agency want YOU - but the job will be demanding -not "simple").

With Generous Support From...