Thursday, November 12, 2009

Recovery Through Retrofit report - 30-day comment period

“Spending Federal Green on Green,” a session at GREENBUILD, mentioned that the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) just launched an online forum to receive public ideas and comments on the Recovery Through Retrofit report which was released on October 19 (see Talbot’s blog of 10/26). The report identifies three barriers that have prevented a national market for home retrofits from taking off. First, consumers don’t have access to reliable information about retrofits. Second, the upfront costs of home retrofits can be high but consumers don’t have access to financing. Finally, there aren’t enough skilled workers to serve a robust national retrofit market.

The report is the result of an interagency process and lays the groundwork of a self-sustaining home energy efficiency retrofit industry. Public comments on the report can be submitted on the CEQ website by Dec. 4.

Also at this session one of the panelists, a high-level spokesperson from the Office of Management and Budget was put on the spot with a question regarding the confusion over the “Buy American” requirement for products supplied to green projects funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Apparently, even if component parts for a U.S. manufactured product are made overseas it puts the entire project at risk. Unfortunately, there is not a clear answer coming from the federal government on this and the speaker actually suggested interpreting it yourself. We’ll keep you posted when we hear more about this.

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