How Can I Support a Green Economy?

>> Thursday, October 29, 2009

In this sermon of the Green Jobs Gospel, we'll look at what you can do to help build up the green economy.

At the beginning of this year, Obama passed the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to boost our struggling economy. $41 billion of that act are allocated to clean energy and energy efficiency projects. Below, I've described some of the ways that money has been allocated and what you can do to make sure the money is used to make our economy clean, green, and fair for everyone.

:: Weatherization Assistance Program

Goal: To reduce the energy bills of low-income families through energy efficiency or renewable energy. Examples of ways the funds can be used include:

  • Adding insulation
  • Tune-ups, repairs, or replacement of A/C or furnace.
  • Installation of fans
  • Weatherstripping and caulking around doors and windows
Allocated Funds: $5 billion distributed through states

Eligibility: Dwellings occupied by families with income below 200% of the federal poverty level. (The federal poverty level for a family of four is $22,050; 200% of that is $44,100.) Both renters and homeowners are eligible for this program.

What can I do?

  • Find out if you're eligible for this program and apply for assistance through your state.
  • Spread the word to others who might be eligible.
More information:

:: State Energy Program (SEP)

Goal: To promote energy conservation and reduced dependence on foreign oil. Examples of ways the funds can be used include:
  • Energy efficiency projects, including energy audits of buildings
  • Renewable energy projects
  • Transportation energy efficiency
  • Education and training for building designers and contractors
Allocated Funds: $3.1 billion

Eligibility: States, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Depending on the state's plans for the money, there may be subgranting to businesses, public and private organizations, and local governments.

What can I do?

  • Find out how your state plans to use its portion of the money and advocate for the projects you feel are important.
  • Find out if your business or organization is eligible for a subgrant.
More information:

:: Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG)

Goal: To improve energy efficiency and reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions

Allocated Funds: $2.8 billion ($1.6 billion has already been distributed)

Eligibility: U.S. states, territories, local governments, and Indian tribes

What can I do?
  • Find out if your state or local government has applied for a grant. If so, advocate for the projects you feel are important. If not, ask why not.
More information:

:: Competitive Grants for Green Jobs Training

Goal: To prepare workers for careers in energy efficiency and renewable energy. The funds can be used in training for jobs such as:
  • Construction of energy efficient buildings
  • Renewable energy
  • Energy efficient vehicles
  • Biofuels
  • Deconstruction and materials reuse
  • Energy audits
  • Manufacturing of sustainable materials
Allocated Funds: $500 million divided between five separate grant programs:
  • State Labor Market Information Improvement
  • Energy Training Partnerships
  • Pathways Out of Poverty
  • State Energy Sector Partnerships and Training
  • Green Capacity Building
Eligibility: Varies from program to program but includes non-profits, government agencies, and labor organizations

What can I do?
  • Find out if you are a part of an organization that is eligible for any of these grants.
More information:

What else can I do?
  • Support The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act which supports improvements in the green jobs sector and also provides provisions for job training.
  • Elect officials that support a green economy.
  • Write or call your officials to let them know you support a green economy.
  • Be informed about the ways your state and local governments are using the federal money.
  • Get involved with local organizations that advocate for green improvements in your community, such as public transportation, energy efficient construction, and renewable energy.
  • Support national organizations that push for green jobs and climate legislation, such as Green for All and 1Sky.


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