This blogpost was co-authored by Marcus Strong, energy policy intern for SACE in the summer of 2010.
Often in politics, we don’t immediately see the effects of actions, whether it’s a decision maker’s vote on a piece of legislation, a court overturning a case, or a constituent writing to Congress urging a stand on a particular issue. So, when someone asks about the result of such efforts in the short term, whether we are a politician, an advocate or an ordinary citizen, we usually don’t have a concrete answer to provide.
However, an event yesterday at the home of Georgia resident Linda Felix was able to provide a clear example of how a policy action can generate real results. Surrounded by news cameras, contractors, SACE staff members and Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson, Felix extolled the virtues of her newly-weatherized home, courtesy of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Through the Recovery Act, which was supported by Congressman Johnson in 2009, Felix received more than $8,000 worth of energy retrofits for her home. She noted that her utility bills are already lower and that the indoor air quality has improved for her 12-year old grandson. In addition to having her home weatherized, Felix received new energy-efficient appliances and repairs to a furnace that had been leaking carbon monoxide. These positive benefits were then multiplied in terms of the jobs created to in order to retrofit and improve this older, less-efficient home.
Felix’s home is one of 80 in that Georgia county alone that have been weatherized and updated to maximize energy efficiency through Recovery Act funds. New legislation like the HOME STAR Energy Retrofit Act (H.R. 5019) has the potential to the same for many more Americans, if approved by the Senate and enacted into law.
Linda Felix’s home is just one example of how policies such as the already-enacted ARRA could be combined with still-pending measures like HOME STAR or the American Clean Energy Security Act (H.R. 2454) to realize compounded energy benefits throughout Georgia and our region.
These and other compounded benefits will save consumers money on energy costs, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil and, most importantly, continue putting people to work. Because of the success at Felix’s home, her neighbor called and qualified for retrofits as well. If more policies like these are supported and then enacted, then perhaps you and your neighbors will realize energy efficiency successes too.