I don’t know if it is Obama or Al Gore but the US government is starting to understand the need for sustainability. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed into law by President Obama in February to stimulate the sagging US economy. By injecting $690 billion to improve infrastructure the authors hoped to create millions of jobs pulling the US out of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Interspersed within this $690 billion is $60 billion for green projects of which $45 billion is going specifically towards energy related programs. Within this $45 billion most will go directly towards the green building industry with some additional monies going towards large scale renewable energy production.
Weatherization Assistance Program
The Obama Administration in March announced $5 billion in funding to weatherize low income homes, but today little of that money has been spent. The logjam of Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) money that should be going to upgrade windows and insulation has been blamed on the Departments of Energy and Labor because of confusing rules over wage rules.
According to the DOE half of the money has been sent to the states. But many states have not distributed funds to the cities and local community organizations for fear of running afoul of the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act. The rule was instituted to ensure fair wages on public works projects.
Federal weatherization programs have existed for 30 years, but this is the first time that Davis-Bacon rules were applied. Lacking a precedent of what are fair rates for weatherization laborers, many states have been waiting for the Department of Labor to set guidelines. The DOL is to issue rules for 15 states today, with the remaining state guidelines to be out by the end of August.