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Transition Team Weighing Blockbuster Housing and Stimulus Proposal

By David Sassoon

Dec 12, 2008

Because investing in energy efficiency in buildings is the most effective way to create jobs and revive the economy, Architecture 2030 recommends an investment of $171.72 billion ($85.86 billion each year for two years) in a plan that integrates a housing mortgage buy-down and an accelerated-depreciation program for commercial buildings with energy efficiency in buildings, specifically with the widely adopted energy reduction plan called the 2030 Challenge.

This investment will create 3.75 million direct jobs in the Building Sector, as well as 4.34 million indirect and induced jobs and over 350,000 jobs from consumer spending. Of special note, tying the mortgage buy-down and accelerated depreciation to achieving specific energy reductions immediately creates the opportunity for a $1.6 trillion renovation market that does not currently exist.

The immediacy and magnitude of this opportunity can turn the tide for the construction industry, as well as the nation. The plan, called the 2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan (‘Plan’), would save consumers $142.33 billion to $200.88 billion in energy costs and mortgage payments over a five-year period, significantly reducing the risk of mortgage failure while increasing disposable income.

Because the 2030 Challenge calls for buildings to be renovated or designed to reduce their fossil-fuel, GHG-emitting energy consumption, the Plan will also reduce CO2 emissions by 481.13 MMT and energy consumption by 6.17 QBtu over the same five-year period.

Mazria explained further advantages. It touches every homeowner coast-to-coast, and it touches every industry. Sure, rebuilding our roads and bridges is important, but those projects are highly localized. They require big investments, create few jobs, don't significantly lower emissions (except for mass transit and congestion alleviation projects), and mostly benefit just a handful of big industries: asphalt, concrete, steel and paint.

But the building sector, now practically dormant with a million people out of work already, can be uplifted almost immediately by the Plan. Every community and every industry would be touched. Mazria enumerates: glass, rubber and fabric, windows, wood, nails, you name it, and you don't have to pick winners and losers. The homeowners can decide if they want to retrofit insulation inside their walls or go with insulating curtains instead.

Okay. But what about verification, and trained and skilled workers and.....

"I'll answer you, I'll answer you. Everybody in Washington asked the same questions, and the answers are critical to the plan."

Mazria has budgeted $2 billion in the Plan for a training program for building inspectors -- to get enough of them in place. It takes about five days to train an inspector in energy efficiency. State energy offices would handle the training, Mazria says, and by the way, that also creates jobs. You also need energy auditors who will assess homes and make plans. Many utilities are already doing this, and there will be incentives for expansion. Professional architects and engineers can an also be quickly trained to perform audits, run simulations and insure construction compliance. Many already can.

"Everything is off-the-shelf, it's not that difficult," Mazria said. "More efficient boilers, furnaces and hot water heaters, efficient windows and doors, shading devices, more efficient appliances, tightening up duct-work. Any plumber can install solar thermal panels if he has a drawing from the manufacturer, same with photovoltaics. Sure, there's some training involved through the community colleges, state and city energy departments and trade associations, but it's not an insurmountable problem. It’s really just another opportunity for jobs and business growth."

Mazria has been working tirelessly for years on transforming the building sector. The last time I saw him a few weeks ago, he seemed tired, and that was before his Washington whirlwind tour.

"Yes, I need to take care of myself better. I still play ball when I can."

He's 68 and admits he's slowed down since 1962 -- the year he got drafted by the Knicks. He went to training camp and got offered a "cut contract", which he didn't take, and eventually became an architect instead. Good thing.

Its true that US real estate

Its true that US real estate market has a major role as well as the US economy plays the important in the world's economy. Just because of one country whole world is suffering don't you think its a big loop hole.

This all sounds to good to

This all sounds to good to be true!

If this is likely to save us thousands of pounds you can bet that there will be some increase present to counter the savings.

US realestate market is

US realestate market is major in worlds housing markets...... they play big role in, hope it wll recover soon

Lake District

The Small House Society is a voice for the Small House Movement.It's not a movement about people claiming to be 'tinier than thou' but rather people making their own choices toward simpler and smaller living however they feel best fits their life.the small-house movement includes people who are making a conscious choice to live in a smaller home rather than choosing a larger one. It includes people who could afford McMansions but live in only a 3,000 squre-foot home all the way down to single people living in a tiny one-room home.  

Quick House Sale

The fear of a repossesion of home is always on the minds of a person who is purchasing a home through a home loan for a term of around 30 years.Due to the uncertainty factor,over such a long term period of time,a person is skeptical about the mortgage arrears.There is no harm in applying for a sell and rent back scheme as you can keep your home and live in at as a tenant instead of losing your home forever to the mortgagers.Quite often the mortgage arrears occur without any fault of yours as you were perhaps unable to work it out or you became a victim of situations.Failure in the repayment of mortgage amount can turn out to be devastating but fortunately with the sell and rent back scheme available you still have a chance to regain the posession of your home in future.

Federal tax cuts for middle and lower-income

Federal tax cuts for heart and lower-income folks that are part of the $787 billion stimulus plan will go into effect today.

The tax cuts provide $400 to individuals making less as opposed to $75,000 and $800 to married couples making less as opposed to $150,000 per year. The tax credits, that will show up in workers paychecks, serves to be phased out for those above the thresholds. Couples creating $200,000 and those of us causing $100,000 will not take out any breaks.

debt-oriented "solution"

I'm a homeowner, but I had the foresight to pay off my mortgage. So I get to subsidize other people's home improvements with my taxes, but I'm not eligible for any benefit. I'm under-whelmed.

Love Thy Neighbor

There are all kinds of tax credits and subsidies available for energy efficiency improvements for people in your shoes. Most homeowners can't afford them -- the up front investment is too high. The plan would help your neighbors hang onto their homes, get jobs, pay taxes, and reduce both energy use and global warming emissions.

What's in it for you? Nothing I guess if you see your self-interest ending at your property line. Quite a bit if you care for your neighbor, your community, your country, the earth.

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