President Obama promised that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) would have a verdant hue, and the stimulus package indeed came wrapped in green. The money for eco-friendly programs is spread among a number of government agencies, and provide a variety of ways to use this funding to make our planet cleaner while putting more people to work in jobs with long-term viability.
So who stands to benefit? According to the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), the bill proves $6 billion for improving our water, $4.5 billion to green up government buildings, $8.4 B for transit, $6 B for biofuels, $9.2 B for intercity rail, $2.5 B for energy efficiency and renewable energy R&D, $2 B for advanced battery tech, $1.5 B for transportation (including mass transit), and more. All this largess has me fantasizing about zipping from my home in Columbus to Chicago on a high-speed rail, passing by crystal clear lakes, windmill farms with the occasional electric car zipping silently by. That's a future I can embrace.
According the NRDC, in 2006 alone green energy and efficiency tech generated 8.5 million new jobs and almost a trillion dollars in revenue. These jobs range from the laborers replacing windows and insulating attics to electricians wiring wind turbines, from salespeople hawking energy star appliances to the person making water monitoring equipment, from bus drivers to can recyclers.
But where, specifically, are those green jobs that the President promised? Although the federal agencies are still in the deliberation stage over what to fund, one company, Serious Materials, is already hiring thanks to the ARRA. Serious Materials is the leading supplier of energy efficient and sustainable building materials such as its replacement for conventional drywall, EcoRock. SM expects its sales to skyrocket thanks to provisions in the ARRA funding eco-renovation and rewarding energy-efficient building practices. Serious Materials was recently named a top green company by Time/CNN.
In 2008, the Pittsburgh plant of Kensington Windows, a subsidiary of Jancor Corp,, abruptly closed its doors, throwing 200 people out of work with only a day's notice. However, Serious Materials, needing to ramp up production to meet the anticipated new business from the stimulus bill, stepped in and bought the plant. It has rehired the plant's employees, and plans to add another 100 workers as demand increases. The ribbon was cut on March 16th by Governor Edward Rendell.
So if you're looking to talk to someone that actually will have a green job because of the bill, there are a couple of hundred window makers in Pittsburgh that would be glad to make your acquaintance.\
Highlights: March 16, 2009 Serious Materials Vandergrift Green Ribbon Cutting Ceremony from Serious Materials on Vimeo.