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October 27, 2009

Weatherizing for the 21st Century

By: Alda Chan, Trade, Labor and Worker's Rights Apprentice

Last week, the Obama Administration released “Recovery through Retrofit,” a report showing that existing energy efficiency techniques and technologies can reduce a home's energy use by up to 40 percent, cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 160 million metric tons a year and save Americans as much as $21 billion in annual energy bills. The report outlines steps five agencies - DOE, CEQ, HUD, EPA, DOL - will take to retrofit our nation's vastly inefficient residential and commercial buildings to create jobs, deliver energy savings to households and curb global warming pollution. 

The report release comes at a critical time; winter is right around the corner and this Friday, October 30th, is National Weatherization Day, an opportunity to celebrate the economic and environmental benefits of the retrofit industry. On this date, the Sierra Club's Clean Energy Solutions Campaign, Cool Cities Program and communities across the country will work to urge local, state and federal government to act now to address global warming. Sierra Club, labor and community partners are releasing reports, organizing house parties and community canvasses, and hosting home weatherization tours in the following cities: Austin, TX; Charlotte, NC; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Kansas City, KS; Las Vegas/Las Cruces, NM; Las Vegas, NV; New York, NY; Long Beach, NY and Washington, DC.

The movement to weatherize doesn’t stop there; many of these cities will be competing for a "Retrofit Ramp-Up" grant opportunity recently announced by DOE. These grants will empower communities to build upon neighborhood-scale retrofit models. In addition, Blue Green Alliance partners like the Laborers International Union of North America are training workers across the country to address the challenge of rapidly and effectively ramping up an emerging weatherization industry.

Help us spread the word about energy efficiency by writing a letter to your local newspaper. Also, check out our trick-or-treat efficiency flyer and learn more about National Weatherization Day at www.sierraclub.org/weatherize.

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