I was happy to return to my hometown, New York City, on Thursday and Friday with a focus on energy efficiency. This gave me an opportunity to appreciate New York City in a different way as energy efficiency efforts are underway throughout the five boroughs -- both in policy and in practice. In the morning, I met with Mayor Bloomberg to discuss New York’s ambitious plan to retrofit buildings to save energy. This is one example of the work mayors are doing throughout the country to reduce their city's carbon footprint, improve air quality and put people back to work through energy efficiency upgrades.
Later, I visited my home borough of Queens, where I toured the Mason Tenders Training Center to see workers being trained in energy efficiency upgrading and weatherization. The work they are learning to do -- caulking windows and doors, adding insulation, investigating HVAC systems, replacing energy inefficient light bulbs -- is the type of work that will lower home owners’ energy bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create good, green jobs.
Afterwards, I traveled to the West 135th St. Apartments in Harlem to visit the first Section 8 multi-family housing property to receive Recovery Act funding through the Green Retrofit Program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Jonathan Rose Companies, a New York-based property owner and developer is receiving a $3.6 million loan to retrofit this 198-unit, 10 building historic property. This loan will fund a comprehensive energy retrofit project that, when completed, will enhance quality of life for the residents, reduce energy costs, cut water consumption, improve indoor air quality, and create quality local jobs.
We see home energy upgrades and retrofits as a part of the President’s vision for a clean energy economy. That is why I am leading the Administration’s work on Recovery Through Retrofit, which builds on the foundation laid in the Recovery Act to expand green job opportunities and boost energy savings by making homes more energy efficient. In the U.S., 130 million homes are responsible for more than 20 percent of our carbon emissions. Energy efficiency retrofits present the opportunity to increase energy efficiency, while also creating new businesses and good green jobs.
Nancy Sutley is the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality