drafty houseDoug Letterman via flickrPop quiz: What saves money, saves energy, creates green jobs, fights climate change, can fix the economy, will make America great again, and is both a floor wax and a dessert topping?

Answer: It’s weatherization! And both the U.S. government and the European Union are embracing its potential.

In a report released today, Joe Biden’s Middle Class Task Force (which, hello: still a terrible name) recommends steps toward a national retrofit program, citing a potential $21 billion in annual energy savings and 40 percent cut in energy use. Specific proposals include: an Energy Star-style labeling program for existing homes; a national home energy performance measure; municipal financing that attaches retrofit costs to homeowners’ tax bills; and national standards for workforce training and certification.

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“These recommendations can pave the way for a self-sustaining retrofit market, a market that can reliably cut energy bills while also creating good green jobs and saving consumers money,” says the report. Hear that? Weatherization will save us all.

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Next step? Another task force! Yesssss. The interagency Energy Retrofit Working Group will submit an implementation plan to Biden in thirty days. At which point he will create a subcommittee to … oh hell, just go add some insulation to your attic. We’ll let you know when the good stuff comes.

Meanwhile, across the pond, a draft EU report recommends retrofitting 15 million buildings in Europe over the next decade as part of an “energy efficiency action plan” aimed at cutting energy use by 20 percent. The European Building Initiative would generate about $19.7 billion in savings and could create 300,000 jobs a year, the report estimates: “Investing in energy efficiency in buildings can play a key role in the EU’s economic recovery.”

Hear that? Go on, repeat after me: Weatherization will save us all.


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