Green Business Bureau Blog
PART 2: How to Use Recovery Funds for Green Building
The Recovery Act fund which is included in the recently concluded law aims to assist states and localities in the provision of public services. The law was created in response to the overall effects of the economic recession at United States. With the passage of the bill, the ball now lies on the hands of the decision makers in different states and localities. For ordinary citizens, the billions of dollar funds seem just a figure. But for every cent spent on projects and programs, projected results are expected to come out. The stakeholders have yet to determine whether the Recovery Act fund will achieve success and improvements or result to waste as projected by opposing parties.
Below is a continuation of GBB’s recommended green strategies for the usage of Recovery Act funds.
1. Provide Green Education and Training
“(AEE) will predict a serious shortage of green energy skills due to a lack of training and an aging base of energy professionals. The AEE, which says all its members work in the energy efficiency or renewable energy sector, predicts one in four of its members will retire over the next 10 years. 70 per cent (of respondents) said that there needs to be a national and state training programme for green jobs to address the potential shortfall.”
The Recovery Act fund should be able to address the growing need for skilled green professionals. Green projects are only as good as its implementers. In order for green initiatives to succeed, states and localities need to create and subsidize education and training programs. These programs should target disadvantaged youth and other eligible vulnerable sector in the communities.
2. Utilize State Revolving Loan Funds
River Network reports that about $6 billion dollars for clean water and drinking water projects are included in the economic stimulus package. It also states that “the money will be distributed by the states through the State Revolving Funds. Twenty percent of the fund is intended solely for green innovative projects. One best practice of sustainable revolving loan fund utilization for green project is the Green Campus Loan Fund initiated by Harvard University. Maximum loan amount is $500,000 payable within 5 years based on estimated annual savings with a minimum of 9% IRR.
States and localities need to emulate best practices on revolving loan funds. Sustainability is one of the major components of the economic stimulus fund. Revolving loan fund can ensure that green project funds will not deplete and there will still be many others who can benefit from it years afterwards.
3. Initiate and Implement Holistic Measures
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) is designed for short term implementation. Despite seemingly huge funding of the ARRA $787 billion overall stimulus package, there will come a time that it will eventually be used up. If the economic recession continues, there is no guarantee that the US government will still be able to create new resources to supplement available funds. States and localities need to initiate and implement projects that will create long term impact to the community. Green methods and practices need to be incorporated in every project that will be undertaken. Sustainability should form part of each and every aspect of the economic Recovery Act actual implementations.